Mortgage rates chopped around at their recent high levels on generally positive economic data released during the week. According to the Fed’s Beige Book report, the economy gained strength as hiring improved, manufacturing expanded and retailers anticipated a stronger holiday shopping season. The positive outlook was reported by 10 of 12 bank regions, including San Francisco. Consumer Confidence rose in November to the highest level in five months and the Chicago ISM business barometer climbed to the highest level since February 2005. The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index increased 0.6% in September from one year ago. Pending Home Sales unexpectedly jumped by a record 10% in October. Three of four US regions saw an increase, including gains of 27% in the Midwest, 20% in the Northeast and 7.1% in the South. Purchases fell 0.4% in the West. The big disappointment for the week was with November Non-farm Payrolls, up only 39,000 and much lower than forecasts which called for an increase of 140,000. Private Payrolls were the weakest since January and the Unemployment Rate jumped from 9.6% to 9.8%. Currently, the 30 Year Fixed is 4.250% (4.392% APR) and the 15 Year Fixed is 3.500% (3.748% APR). This week is relatively light with respect to economic news. Jobless Claims highlight the week on Friday and several foreign central banks are meeting, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK.