Fed’s High Wire Inflation Fighting Effort Risks Triggering a Recessionary Fall

Imagine a high-wire act performed without a net.  That describes the Federal Reserve’s effort to curb inflation without crashing the economy.  Success will bring applause and relief; failure, a brief downturn, at best, with a prolonged recession the worst case outcome. 

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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?

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.

The sizzling housing market is cooling off ─ or maybe it isn’t.  The answer depends on the numbers you use and the analysts you believe.  The numbers support different conclusions and the analysts disagree.

Judging by news reports and opinion pieces in trade publications and mainstream media, the risk of a housing bubble probably ranks as the top  concern of many economists and real estate industry executives today. But fear of resurgent inflation is a close second.  Home prices and a housing shortage are feeding the bubble fears, as we’ve discussed before; consumer prices and an increasingly rocky labor market recovery are creating the inflation jitters.