Don’t be fooled by the Unemployment Rate dropping to 6.7%; 347,000 more
workers are NOT officially “unemployed” today merely
because they have exited the workforce “permanently”. This is a
result of retirement or experiencing expiring unemployment
benefits without returning to work. Only 74,000 new jobs were created last month according to the Bureau of Labor. This is less than half of the number expected to materialize, and the lowest reading in 36 months. Remember that we need roughly 175,000 new jobs created every month to keep up with our rising population. The Labor Force Participation Rate, (LFPR) or the proportion of working-age Americans who have a job or are looking for one, fell to 62.8%–the lowest since the late 70’s. So if you have a job, be grateful. If you don’t, well, you’re not alone.
The gap between short and long-term interest rates continues to expand. Fifteen year rates are down around 3.25%, while 30 year rates for FHA are at 3.875% and conforming conventional loans are at 4.5% today (APR will be higher, depending on the loan and down payment amounts–as closing costs and the presence of mortgage insurance affect each loan differently.)