Friday’s strong headline jobs report had some weak spots, but if employers add jobs again like this in December it’s likely the pressure on the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates will be strong.
The U.S. economy added 321,000 jobs in November, the highest jump since January 2012. In November, job growth was widespread, led by gains in professional and business services, retail trade, health care, and manufacturing.
That’s exactly where some of the weakness is – the areas of strongest job gains were in largely low-wage professionals. Professional services including bookkeepers and administrative assistants, retail jobs, leisure and hospitality (read: wait staffs and bartenders), manufacturing, and temporary help.
Still, it will put the Fed in a barrel and amp up pressure to raise rates.
“The pickup in earnings seen today, if sustained, will further propel income expectations and support household formation, which has so far been anemic. However, while more upbeat jobs reports are a clear positive for housing demand, they will likely move the first fed funds rate hike closer to mid-2015 rather than the end of the year,” said Doug Duncan, chief economist for Fannie Mae. “Overall, recent economic data support our view that the housing recovery will broaden next year, though cross currents from expected monetary policy normalization will weigh on the sector.”
Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at Realtor.com, has predicted rates will rise to 5% by the end of 2015, and the Fed may get an early start.
“Mortgage rates will increase in the middle of 2015, as the Federal Reserve increases its target rate by at least 50 basis points before the end of the year. Thirty year fixed rate mortgages will reach five percent by the end of 2015,” Smoke said in his formal forecast Thursday. “While at still at historic lows, rate increases will affect housing affordability for first-timers trying to break into the housing market and will be another factor pushing them to less expensive locales.”