Mortgage Rates, Unemployment Benefits, Easter

March 24, 2016

Thursday – March 24

Mortgage rates continued to hover just above all-time lows this week, as reported by government sponsored agency Freddie Mac. The average fixed rate 30-year mortgage edged lower to 3.71% form 3.73% with an average point of 0.5. Last year this time the rate was 3.69%. The recent decision by the Federal Reserve to maintain the current level of the Fed Funds Rate helped to keep mortgage rates steady.

Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits rose this week, but still remain below the 300,000 mark for the longest stretch not seen the the early 1970s. Weekly Initial Jobless Claims rose 6,000 in the latest week to 265,000, near inline with estimates. The labor market continues to strengthen easing fears of a U.S. is heading into a recession. A Labor Department analyst said there were no special factors influencing last week’s claims data and no states had been estimated.

On the softer side, with Easter this weekend, here are a few facts to chew on. The average American will spend $146 on fashion, food, candy and other Easter stuff like baskets, with total spending expected to hit $16.8 billion. The number of eggs purchased in March, 2.6 billion. There are nearly 90 million chocolate bunnies produced each year. Americans will buy more than 700 million marshmallow peeps, making peeps the most popular non-chocolate Easter candy. The percentage of parents who steal from their children’s Easter baskets, 81%. When taking a bite into a chocolate bunny, 76% of Americans prefer to bite off the ears first, 5% eat the feet first and 4% eat the tail first.