Freddie Mac has released its U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook for January showing that despite the fiscal uncertainties facing the country, consumer confidence has remained fairly resilient in recovering from its Great Recession lows, buoyed by improving labor and housing market news. Business owners and managers are more optimistic about the nation’s business outlook than consumers seem to be.
Highlights of the Outlook include:
- December registered 155,000 job gains and November’s payrolls were revised up 24,000, bringing the employment increase for 2012 to 1.86 million, the best since 2006.
- Assuming the uncertainty of the fiscal policy debates during the first quarter fails to derail the economic expansion, the U.S. will likely see about two million new jobs created in 2013, gradually nudging the unemployment rate lower.
- Over the first 11 months of 2012, home sales were up 9 percent from the same period of the prior year; similar gains are projected for 2013.
- With the unemployment rate in December holding at an elevated 7.8 percent, it’s likely to ensure a continuation of an accommodative policy stance by the Federal Reserve through the coming year. Therefore, relatively low interest rates will continue to be a feature of mortgage lending and the broader capital markets in 2013.