Recession vs. Recovery Revisited

So last week I discussed the ongoing debate about whether the data indicate that the economy is improving or not.  And wouldn’t you know it, it’s been an entire week and the issue is still not resolved. Today’s Jobs Report makes it all the more perplexing.  …While highly-paid PhD wielding economists expected 233,000 to be created last month, the Bureau of Labor survey reports that only 142,000 jobs were created in that time (they were only off by 40%).  Adding insult was a downward revision to June’s number by 28,000.  Yet somehow, the Unemployment ticked down to 6.1% from 6.2%.  Riddle me that.

Enter the Labor Force Participation Rate, which fell to 62.8% from 62.9% (matching a 26-year low as another 64,000 Americans dropped out of the workforce). Once again I reiterate that the Unemployment Rate is declining because folks are leaving the workforce.

The Bond charts continue to move sideways, keeping interest rates low and steady. Thirty year rates for FHA are at 3.5% and conforming conventional loans are at 4.125% today, while 15 year rates are down at 3.125%. (APR will be higher, depending on the amortization term, and the loan and down payment amounts–as closing costs and the presence of mortgage insurance affect each loan differently).