ISM Manufacturing Index Hits High in March; Unemployment Remains at 9.7%
April 5, 2010 - Last week saw mortgage rates move slightly upward as some more signs of economic recovery appeared. Growing for the eighth straight month, the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) Manufacturing Index rose to 59.6 in March. Driven upward by new orders and production, the ISM hit its highest point since July 2004.
The unemployment rate continues to remain stubbornly high at 9.7% though payrolls saw their largest gain with employers adding 162,000 jobs in March.
Last week also marked the end of the Fed's program of buying mortgage-backed securities. Mortgage rates didn't see any immediate impact only rising modestly, though it will take a few months to determine whether or not the timing was accurate. Without the Fed's support, rates will be now influenced by economic factors likely drifting higher if the economy improves.