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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Although Fed Chair Janet Yellen admits that policy makers are baffled by persistently low inflation, they are undeterred by the failure to meet the 2 percent target they have set as the indicator that higher interest rates are in order, and still on track to boost interest rates once more this year.

Predictions that the Fed would increase interest rates at its June meeting were virtually unanimous, and the Federal Open Market Committee, the Fed’s policy-making arm, didn’t surprise or disappoint. 

To a summer that has been sizzling in many parts of the country, the Department of Labor’s July employment report delivered some additional heat.

Since the Federal Reserve boosted interest rates in March, additional rate moves this year have been pretty much a foregone conclusion. That the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the Fed’s policy-making arm, will increase rates at its mid-June meeting remains the consensus view, but the conclusion is somewhat less foregone than it has been.