Market Update: Rate Volatility Still Low Despite Strong Jobs Reports, Showing Promising Signs for 2024

Blog posted On January 09, 2024

Though last week didn’t bring overwhelmingly positive results from economic reports, it did give rates a chance to prove their steadfast resistance to higher-trending volatility. Several employment reports were released last week. This is important because employment data has had a strong impact on the Fed, the bond market, and rates over the past year. Generally, a stronger jobs market equals a stronger economic outlook and higher rates. Over the past 12 months, when jobs reports came in above expectations, rates would rise. So, when last week’s jobs data outperformed, many were concerned that it would rock the boat of the recent downward rate trends.

Jobs data came in hotter than expected, but rates stayed cool

  • ADP nonfarm employment change from December was at 164,000 – exceeding expectations by roughly 50,000 jobs (bad for rates)
  • Nonfarm payrolls from December’s employment situation reports were at 216,000 – exceeding expectations by 46,000 (bad for rates)
  • The average workweek and the participation rate from the same collection of reports came in below expectations (good for rates, helped balance out the bad)
  • The employment component on the ISM Index fell to the lowest levels since the beginning of the COVID pandemic (good for rates, helped balance out the bad)

Overall, rates were only slightly higher at the end of the week – which is huge progress from six months ago. In the past, rates would have surged if the employment reports came in hotter than expected.

Hope for the future

Even after a week filled with potential volatility, rates held their own. This is a good sign that they will likely continue moving away from last year’s levels as 2024 progresses. Of course, it will continue to depend on the economy and data, but many experts are predicting a much better year for housing.

As rates continue to hold their trend below last year’s levels, more sellers are expected to list their homes and more buyers are expected to hop in the market. To avoid competition and stay one step ahead of the game, most experts recommend getting preapproved BEFORE the spring rush. It’s easy and pretty quick, so let us know if you want to get prepared!


Sources: Bloomberg, Mortgage News Daily