Intertwined Forces Driving Housing Market Crazy

The housing market is crazy!  More than one industry professional has reached that conclusion, watching trends that seem inconsistent, if not contradictory. 

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Analysts reached for superlatives – “blowout” and “blockbuster” among them ─ to describe November’s surprisingly strong employment report.  Employers added 266,000 workers to their payrolls, blowing well past the 187,000 economists had predicted.  October’s anemic 128,000 gain was revised upward slightly, to 156,000, and the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.5 percent.  Average hourly earnings increased by 7 cents – a 3.1 percent year-over-year gain.

The recession concerns that have been humming quietly in the background grew louder this month as the hiring pace slowed and some key economic indicators slid.  Employers added 136,000 jobs in September and the unemployment rate (3.5 percent) hit a 50-year low.

Recession fears, which had been inching higher, receded somewhat in October, as employment growth, low interest rates, and signs of life in the housing market offset concerns about a decline in manufacturing activity, anemic business activity, and slower worldwide economic growth.

“Disappointing.”  That’s a description that hasn’t applied to the U.S. employment growth in a long time.  But the Department of Labor’s August employment report fell well short of predictions, adding to concerns that the economy may be slowing and firming expectations that the Federal Reserve (Fed) will continue slashing rates in order to forestall what some see as a growing risk of recession.