First-time Unemployment falls, Home borrowing costs inch higher though still remain low

May 21, 2021

First-time unemployment claims fell to the lowest level since the shutdowns began last year. Weekly Initial Jobless Claims decreased to 444,000 for the week ended May 15, 2021, from 478,000 in the previous week. To put it into perspective, the week of April 4, 2020 claims were over 6 million as the shutdowns took hold. Continuing claims, or those receiving benefits for at least two weeks straight, were at 3.751 million from 3.640 million. With more and more states reopening their economies, many unemployed Americans should be able to go back to work.

Home borrowing costs inched higher this week and remain at historically low levels. Freddie Mac reports that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose six basis points to 3.0% with 0.6 in points and fees. A year ago at this time, the rate was 3.24%. It is up from 2.65% on January 7 of this year. Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist said, “Despite this favorable rate climate, there remains a shortage of homes for sale. The lack of housing supply has been compounded by labor disruptions and expensive building materials that are driving up the cost of new housing, making it difficult for homebuyers to find homes to purchase.”