Economy Briefs: Rate on 30-year home loan notches up to 3.41 percent

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MORTGAGE

Average U.S. mortgage rates rose slightly this week and continued to hover near record lows, a trend that has helped boost home sales and refinancing.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage edged up to 3.41 percent, from 3.37 last week.

Three weeks ago, the rate touched 3.36 percent. That was the lowest level on mortgage rate records dating to 1971.

The average rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage, often used for refinancing, rose to 2.72 percent. That was up from last week’s record low of 2.66 percent.

LABOR

Weekly filings for jobless aid suggest modest hiring levels

Weekly applications for U.S. unemployment aid fell last week to a seasonally adjusted 369,000, a level consistent with modest hiring.

The Labor Department said Thursday that unemployment benefit applications dropped by 23,000, from a revised 392,000 the previous week.

The four-week average, a less-volatile measure, rose to 368,000.

The figures appear to have stabilized after being distorted in the previous two weeks by seasonal adjustment problems.

COMMERCE

Durable-goods orders show weak business investment

American companies remained cautious in September and held back on orders for long-lasting manufactured goods that signal investment plans.

Weak business investment has contributed to slower economic growth.

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