Housing Shakes Off Pandemic’s Drag but Employment Report Sends Warning Signals

If home sales alone were an indicator of economic health, you might conclude that the economy has rebounded smartly from the pandemic-induced recession and is on a path for steady growth.

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“Patience” was the byword for the Federal Reserve, driving a unanimous decision by the policy-making Federal Open Market Committee to stand pat on interest rates for now, and producing a decidedly less hawkish tone in the statement released after the committee’s January meeting.  

‘Tis the season for economic forecasts  and we’ve rounded up several for you to round out our summary of the December economic reports. Beginning with where we are now.

An increasingly  jittery public, anxious for some good news, got a solid dose of it in the December employment report:  Employers added 312,000 workers to their payrolls for the month, blowing well past the 182,000 jobs analysts were predicting, and extending the steak of consecutive monthly job gains to 98 months - -the longest on record. 

After several months of declining home sales, analysts have begun using the f-word ─ falling ─ to describe the housing market’s trajectory. “The housing market is stumbling through its longest slump in four years, as the divergence between a booming U.S. economy and weakening home sales that many had dismissed as temporary now looks poised to continue,” the Wall Street Journal reported.