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Jobs numbers, stimulus negotiations, mortgage rates: What today's news means for your money

Reports on unemployment claims and new jobs, stimulus negotiations, and record-low mortgage rates: Here's news that can impact your finances.

Criene | Twenty20

Jobs numbers and stimulus talks are making news today. Here's what's going on and how it could affect your money.

A good sign for the economy: Jobless claims were lower than expected

Thursday morning, the market cheered weekly jobless claims that were much lower than expected: 1.186 million, versus Wall Street projections of 1.4 million. That's the lowest figure since the pandemic started, but it was the 20th week in a row that claims were over 1 million.

Investors are waiting on bigger employment news: Friday, they'll hear about the July jobs report, which indicates whether and how quickly the economy is bouncing back. Its results can move markets, especially if the numbers don't line up with expectations. Right now, economists anticipate it will show that hiring slowed last month. The economy may even have lost jobs as coronavirus case counts went up, leading employers to start new rounds of layoffs or furloughs.

VIDEO2:5202:52
5 companies hiring thousands of new jobs during the pandemic

Video by Jason Armesto

Congress still working towards a new stimulus bill 

Congress is struggling to strike a deal on another coronavirus relief package before it goes on recess August 10. On Wednesday, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said the sides "continue to be trillions of dollars apart."

There's a lot at stake for your finances: Both sides agree that a second stimulus check for individuals is key. That could mean another payout of up to $1,200 per adult and up to $500 per dependent. But the parties continue to debate what to do about the $600-a-week enhanced unemployment insurance, which expired at the end of July.

Congressional leaders planned to meet Thursday evening.

"Exactly when that deal comes together I can't tell you, but I think it will at some point in the near future," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told CNBC's "Squawk on the Street."

Exactly when that deal comes together I can't tell you, but I think it will at some point in the near future.
Mitch McConnell
Senate Majority Leader

Mortgages are at record lows, but remember to read the fine print

Mortgage rates just set another new record low. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages declined to 3.14% from 3.20% last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

If you're shopping around for a mortgage or to refinance, don't just focus on the interest rate. What you really want to know is the APR, which is the annual cost of a loan to a borrower, including fees, says Mark La Spisa, a certified financial planner and president of Vermillion Financial Advisors in South Barrington, Illinois.

"When they load in all the expenses, what's the number?" La Spisa says. "Somebody might get a 3% rate, but they might get buried on the other side with $5,000 in closing costs."

Asking about the APR can help you better compare offers and ensure you're getting the best deal.

Although the daily news can have an impact on your wallet, remember to take a long-term outlook when it comes to decisions on spending, saving, and investing.

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