The Labor Department today released its weekly first time unemployment claims as it does each Thursday and the numbers were somewhat surprising. The Labor Department tracks both the number of Americans that are employed each month as well as following how many head to themortgage rates still low unemployment office and file for unemployment benefits for the very first time.

Unemployment and payroll numbers are both a key indicator the Fed reviews when considering when and if to raise or lower rates, affecting real estate investors, home buyers and renters as well.

According to the report released today 297,000 workers filed for unemployment, that’s much less than the approximate 320,000 claims expected. This represents a low not seen in seven years. The four week moving average which provides a less volatile weekly claim number also fell by 2,000 to 323,250. This could very well be evidence that the job market is thawing, literally, from the winter cold and fewer people are filing for unemployment insurance.

When the report was first released, long term mortgage rates took a hit, rising up by approximately .125 percent yet by the end of the trading day mortgage bonds lost all of their gains. In short, a lot happened during the business day today but after the dust had settled there really was no change. Economists are predicting that job gains will average just around 200,000 each month. In April there were 288,000 non-farm payrolls produced.

Real estate investors and home buyers in general should think about taking advantage of interest rates that are available today and if there are any potential investments on the horizon it may be to an investor’s advantage to finance the acquisitions now as rates continue to look favorable. There was a slight tick in inflation for April and the Fed also keeps a keen eye on that statistic as well. If we see another 2.00 percent annualized inflation rate, or higher, next month, then mortgage rates will start their long journey up.