Last week’s scheduled economic reporting included readings on inflation and a preliminary report on consumer sentiment. Weekly reports on mortgage rates and jobless claims were also released.
Inflationary Growth Exceeds Expectations, Creates Consumer Challenges
October’s inflation rate rose to its highest year-over-year pace in 31 years last week with a reading of 6.20 percent growth as compared to September’s year-over-year growth rate of 5.40 percent. Inflation rose by 0.90 percent month-to-month in October as compared to September’s reading of 0.40 percent growth. Consumers paid more for essential goods including food, fuel, and transportation. October’s inflationary growth rate surpassed the Federal Reserve’s inflationary goal of 2.00 percent year-over-year.
Pandemic-related conditions continued to delay supply chains and further limited goods and services available to consumers. Auto prices were higher due to lower production and falling inventories. Slim supplies and high demand caused rising prices in many economic sectors. Rising prices currently outstrip income growth, which renders current inflationary conditions unsustainable for many consumers.
Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and fuel sectors, rose by 0.60 percent in October and exceeded predictions of an 0.40 percent increase based on September’s reading of 0.20 percent month-to-month core inflation.
The Federal Reserve recently described ongoing high inflation as “transitory,” but it appears to be going nowhere anytime soon.
Mortgage Rates Fall; Jobless Claims Mixed
Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates last week as the rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell by 11 basis points to 2.98 percent. Rates for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 2.27 percent and were eight basis points lower. Rates for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 2.53 percent and one basis point lower. Discount points averaged 0.70 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, 0.60 percent for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.
Last week’s new jobless claims fell to 267,000 initial claims filed as compared to the previous week’s reading of 271,000 first-time claims filed. Continuing jobless claims rose to 2.16 million claims filed as compared to the reading of 2.10 million ongoing claims filed in the prior week.
The University of Michigan released its preliminary reading for November’s Consumer Sentiment Index and reported a November index reading of 66.8, which was lower than the expected reading of 72.0 and October’s index reading of 71.7. Consumer concerns over growing inflation and higher costs caused consumer sentiment about current economic conditions to dip.
This week’s scheduled economic reporting includes readings from the National Association of Home Builders’ Housing Market Index, along with readings on housing starts and building permits issued. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and jobless claims will also be released.