Monday, February 13, 2012

2012....promising start!

2012 is off to a promising start. Mortgage rates continue to drop and have remained under 4% for nearly two months. Home sales are strengthening and pending home sales, a measure to gauge future sales, are at their highest levels since March 2010.

Job growth has been increasing for most of 2011, with unemployment dropping to 8.4%. As more people are getting jobs, consumer confidence has also been increasing. However, underemployment continues to be a problem for a stronger recovery. The underemployment rate is 18.1%, and there are still a significant number of people working part time, who would like to have full-time work.

Even with substantial national improvements, this continues to be a "one neighborhood at a time" recovery. Payroll jobs were up in 25 states, but down in 24, demonstrating the delicate state of the U.S. economy. Global factors such as the European debt crisis are also complicating a more robust recovery. Strong guidance is needed from local and global leaders to continue this growth, as well as allow for business to maintain momentum toward building and expanding upon the opportunities that exist.

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Association of Realtors