Mortgage rates improved slightly last week as the first decade of this millennium concluded with increased optimism of continued economic recovery in 2011. Jobless Claims dropped much more than expected by 34,000, with a reading of 388,000, the lowest level since mid-2008. Despite this improvement in the battered employment sector, the Consumer Confidence number unexpectedly dipped in December. Pending Home Sales were up 3.5% from the previous month, climbing in the Northeast and West but slipping in the Midwest and South, but are still 5% below one year ago. According to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, prices in October declined 0.8% year-over-year for the 20-city index, while the 10-city index rose 0.2%. Currently, the 30 Year Fixed is 4.500% (4.634% APR) and the 15 Year Fixed is 3.750% (3.963% APR). This morning we find stocks rallying to their highest levels since August 2008 and the 10-year Treasury note inching its way down to 3.34%. The economic data this week will be highlighted by the employment reports, including ADP Private Payroll numbers, Initial Jobless Claims and the Unemployment Rate.