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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Year-end housing reports reflect two competing narratives. The first: Soaring prices and strong sales producing the best housing market performance in more than a decade. The second: Higher prices, rising interest rates and skimpy inventories combining with troubling signs that millennials are losing faith in the desirability of home ownership and/or the possibility of achieving it.

As President-elect Donald Trump prepared to take the oath of office January 20th, the consensus economic forecast was “uncertainty” ─ uncertainty about the policies he will pursue, about the initiatives he will be able to implement, and about the impact they will have on the economy.

New Year’s resolutions are always frustrating, so we thought we’d compile some New Year’s forecasts instead. If resolutions fall by the wayside, you blame yourself; if economic forecasts don’t bear out, you won’t blame yourself, because they aren’t your predictions, and you won’t hold the forecasters responsible, either, because you won’t remember what they said.

‘Tis the season for economic forecasts, and we’ve assembled a few for your information – or your amusement, if you enjoy measuring how far from the bulls-eye many of these projections often land. As a group, economic forecasters have traditionally done better than political pollsters, though, admittedly, that’s not a particularly high bar.