When the Federal Reserve has their regular meetings, they do so without all the fanfare of the press and TV cameras. No, they have their meetings in private and take minutes of their meetings but wait until later to release those minutes so thewhat will the fed do economic gurus can see what they talked about.

The minutes released this past Wednesday were from the Fed meetings held on October 30. So was there anything in those minutes that will tell us when interest rates for real estate investors will rise? Or when QEII will end?

Maybe so because according to the minutes, members of the committee said they could see trimming back, or “tapering” the current QEII program at one of its next few meetings. That could possibly mean as early as January. The Fed has been printing money to buy $85 billion in mortgage backed securities and bonds to keep interest rates artificially low. And a sudden halt of that program will likely rock both the stock and bond markets, so the decision to slowly end the effort apparently is the preferred method.

 But what sort of numbers will they be looking at that may spur their taper decision in January? Some very important ones and could they’ll all come from economic reports release before the middle of December, with the report with the biggest impact just might be the one to be released Friday, December 6—the Unemployment Report.

Recall, (and who can’t) the partial government shutdown in October. There was a lot of hand-wringing about how it would damage the economy and put even more people out of work. The fact is that hardly anyone noticed, unless you were going to visit a national park somewhere. But the massive layoffs never happened and in fact the reverse occurred. More than 200,000 new jobs were created in October, leaving most economists a bit stunned.

The new Federal Reserve Chair, Janet Yellen, is known to favor unemployment as an indicator of potential rate adjustments and not inflation. Should the unemployment rate for November show another strong gain, perhaps more than 250,000, then the likelihood of these current mortgage rates hanging around for much longer is nil.

How high could rates go? Let’s keep this in a bit of perspective, rates could rise another one-half percent but still be below 5.00. Regardless, if you’re shopping rates for a new investment or even thinking about refinancing some of your rentals, the prudent move might be to lock in when you can.