Mortgage rates are up significantly the past few days, spurred in large part by Friday's employment report showing the U.S. economy added 236,000 in February.

As of today, the average rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages is at 3.75 percent according to loan data reported to MortgageLoan.com, up from 3.62 percent on Monday, March 4. The average on 15-year fixed-rate loans is up to 3.03 percent, compared to 2.88 percent one week ago.

Rates had been climbing higher all last week, according to most reports, but spiked following Friday's jobs report, with 30-year rates rising by a eighth of a percent in just a few hours. Rates have been relatively quiet so far today.

The Labor Department reported that the unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent in February, the lowest since December 2008 and down from 7.9 percent the month before.

Rates have generally been rising since the first of the year, on the strength of positive economic trends in housing and elsewhere. It's likely that further strengthening of the economy could continue to send rates higher, as increased demand for credit sends up the cost of borrowing in general.

Published on May 25, 2008