What the Jobs Report Actually Means for Borrowers
This is good news for borrowers. Mortgage rates may remain at today's extraordinary lows for some time. So there's probably no need to rush out to buy a home to beat an increase. If you worry that home prices could drop a bit more, you can probably hold off buying for a few months to see if they appear to have hit bottom.
At the same time, there's probably no reason to postpone a refinancing, as mortgage rates just can't go much lower.
Things are trickier for income-oriented investors. In the days since the jobs numbers came out, many experts have talked about how this is good news for high-quality bonds like U.S. Treasuries.
But it's important to be aware that these stories are aimed at people who speculate on changes in bond prices. Jitters about the U.S. economy, the European debt crisis and other problems around the world, cause a "flight to safety" which causes investors to buy up Treasuries. That heightened demand pushes up Treasury prices.
That's fine if price speculation is your game. But higher prices drive down bond yields, which is tough on people counting on steady income. This is probably not a good time for income-oriented, buy-and-hold investors to pile into bonds. The 10-year Treasury pays a scant 2%.
If and when the recovery does pick up, your bonds could fall in value as demand shifts to newer bonds with higher yields. You would then have an unpleasant choice between living with below-market yields for the long term, or selling your bonds at a loss.
Given these risks, ordinary bank savings are not so bad. You won't earn much, but your principal will be safe - and available to invest for bigger returns after the economic situation is clearer.