Daily News 3/31/2015

March 31, 2015

Tuesday – March 31

Home price gains across the nation remained steady in January, despite the unusually cold and wet weather that gripped many parts of the country. The Case Shiller 20-city Index rose by 4.6% from January 2014 to January 2015, and up from the 4.4% recorded in December year-over-year. There was a downside in the report … “home prices are rising faster than wages, which puts pressure on home buyers and heightening the risk that any uptick in interest rates could be a major setback,” said David M. Blitzer, Managing Director for the index.

Consumer Confidence surged in March, due to Americans feeling more positive regarding the U.S. economy in the next six months. The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index rose to 101.3, the second highest level since August 2007. The report showed that those anticipating more jobs in the months ahead increased from 13.8% to 15.5%. Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board, said “Consumer confidence improved in March after retreating in February. This month’s increase was driven by an improved short-term outlook for both employment and income prospects; consumers were less upbeat about business conditions.”

The National Association for Business Economics reported on Monday that the U.S. economy should produce some solid numbers this year due to healthier consumer spending, housing investment and government spending growth. The survey revealed that Gross Domestic Product, a key measure of economic growth, should come in at 3.1% for all of 2015, up from the 2.4% recorded in 2014. The report went on to show that job growth in 2015 should average 250,000 per month and roughly 216,000 next year, while the Unemployment Rate should decline to 5% by the second half of 2016. There was on caveat in the survey–wage growth is seen rising by 2.5% this year, a bit lower than the 2.6% gain in the previous numbers.