“There were 651,000 more Americans who responded that they had a job in December from the prior month. But a separate company’s payroll data showed a gain of only 199,000 net new jobs. The difference is likely due to more Americans wanting to be self-employed. REALTOR® membership, for example, is at a record high. Compared to the peak employment prior to the pandemic, however, there are 3 million fewer Americans working.
‘Help Wanted’ signs seem to be everywhere as there are 10.6 million job openings. That is much higher than the figures for unemployed Americans in search of a job at 6.3 million. The wage rate is showing an accelerating trend, with a 6% annualized gain in the fourth quarter of last year, up from 5% in the third quarter, and up from 2% to 3% before the onset of the pandemic. Higher wages could feed into higher consumer price inflation, which in turn will lead to higher mortgage rates as lenders need to compensate for the loss in value of the purchasing power of money. The 10-year Treasury yield jumped to 1.8% on the news of this fresh jobs report. It had been bouncing around at 0.5% to 1.5% for most of the pandemic period. In short, the super-low mortgage rates of the pandemic era are over.”