Economic data dominated headlines last week as the Fed kept the key interest rate unchanged in the 0 to quarter percent range. This rate affects mortgage, auto, and student loan rates.
New home sales jumped 17 percent in December while home prices in major metro areas fell 1.6 percent in November. Atlanta, Detroit, and Seattle reached new lows. Earning season continues with reports from Exxon Mobile, BP, and UPS. Investors also await data on manufacturing, personal income, and unemployment.
In December, the unemployment rate fell 9.4 percent, a level not seen since May 2009. As 113000 private sector jobs were created, African American unemployment dipped slightly 15.8 percent. Black teen unemployment declined 44.2 percent but remains the highest of any group.
We’ll get a read on the economy with the January manufacturing report from the institute for supply management. In December, manufacturing activity grew for the 17th consecutive month with a reading of 58.5. A reading above 50 signals expansion.
The December personal income report is also due. In November, consumers saw their incomes increase by .3 percent due to improvements in their stock portfolio. Spending also rose by .4 percent as Americans shopped ahead of the holidays.