Employment Report Disappoints but Probably Won’t Delay Federal Reserve’s Tapering Plan

The September employment report disappointed analysts; will it also complicate the Federal Reserve’s plan to begin withdrawing the monetary support that has cushioned the economy throughout the pandemic?

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Delivering an expected but nonetheless unwelcome defeat to the financial services sector, the House Financial Services Committee has approved legislation establishing a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA), with broad authority to enforce compliance with consumer protection laws.

Three months ago, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner summoned lenders and loan servicers to Washington to express his and the Obama Administrations intense displeasure at the slow pace at which the industry was modifying the mortgages of struggling homebuyers. Apparently, that slap heard round the world – or at least, round the financial community – had an effect.

Economists have been warning for months that the recovery, when it began, would not be smooth. Last month’s statistics confirm that prediction providing enough ups and downs to support a bipolar diagnosis.

Like an audience in search of a happy ending, economists and industry analysts are pointing to an accumulation of positive statistics as evidence that the nation’s longest and most painful downturn since the Great Depression is finally ending. But if this is in fact, the recession’s final act, it promises to be a long one. Even the optimists (still a relative term) are predicting that job losses, curbs on consumer spending, charge-offs for financial institutions and a poor climate for manufacturers and retailers will likely continue well into next year, even as the economy begins what most predict will be a slow and far from robust recovery.