Last week in this space, we discussed the mindset adopted by Federal Reserve Board as they gathered to meet in Washington.
Like a Formula One race car driver who wants to step on the pedal, the Fed would prefer to kick rates up, but heavy economic traffic calls for a steady speed.
That’s why the Fed opted to – unsurprisingly – keep rates right where they are right now. Perhaps Fed officials knew what was coming down the pike on Friday - an October unemployment number that cracked the 10% barrier (at 10.2%). Until economists see that jobless rate come down, or at least stabilize, they know that the Great American Consumer will remain on the sidelines, thus thwarting economic growth and forcing economic policymakers to keep rates low.
When will the employment picture brighten? Anyone who promises to accurately answer that question should be in the crystal ball business, because nobody really knows for sure. Best guess? Not anytime soon – especially with news out of the formerly stable bio-pharm industry that Pfizer will lay off 1,600 employees. That’s not a confidence builder on Wall Street and it’s certainly not a confidence builder on Main Street.
So where does all this leave certificate of deposit rates this week? According to the BankingMyWay Weekly CD Rate tracker, we see a down-the-line decline in rates. Three-month CD rates are down to 0.4% from 0.45%, while six-month rates are off to 0.67% from 0.69%.
One-year CD rates are down to 1.02% from 1.04% and two-year rates slid to 1.47% from 1.49%. Up the ladder, four-year rates edged downward to 2% from 2.01%.
With the Fed sitting tightly on rates, it’s still very much a waiting game for CD investors. Until the jobs number improves, don’t expect much help from Washington economic policy makers.
But you can get help. To find the best deals, log on to BankingMyWay. You’ll find some of the best CD rates out on the marketplace, and some psychological relief from the chronically weak bank investment deposit market.