Inflation Threatens and Evictions Loom

Two major issues dominated the news in late July: Inflation – whether it is, is not a problem or is likely to be one; and the prospect that millions of renters would be evicted from their homes as a federal moratorium barring evictions for nonpayment of rent expired. 

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A robust January employment report confirmed the economy’s strength, while triggering a bond sell-off that sent mortgage rates higher in early February. 

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.

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.