There was also some important economic news to note last week. The biggest news came on Friday, with the Jobs Report for October showing 171,000 new jobs created, with a healthy 184,000 private job creations being offset by modest government job losses.
Adding to the good news were some upward revisions to the prior two months’ reports, adding a net 84,000 jobs to what had been previously reported.
The unemployment rate held steady at 7.9% as expected, and the more important Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) improved by a tick. The LFPR calculation is quite simple. If you are 16 years old and not in the military, then you either have a job or you don’t. The ratio of people "participating" or working is then compared to the total population. All in all this was a positive report and, on the heel of the modest improvement in initial jobless claims, shows that the labor market is still improving.
And the other big economic story from last week: inflation as measured by the Core Personal Consumption Expenditure (the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation) remained modest last month. This is significant because inflation can have a negative effect on bonds and home loan rates (which are tied to mortgage bonds), since it reduces the value of fixed investments like bonds. Remember, though, that one of the goals of the Fed’s latest round of bond buying (known as Quantitative Easing or QE3) is actually to increase inflation. This is an important story to monitor in the weeks and months ahead.
The bottom line is that home loan rates remain near historic lows, making now a great time to consider a home purchase or refinance.