“U.S. Economy Picks Up Steam” was a headline in this past weekend’s Wall Street Journal. The article continued to state that the U.S. economy grew at its fastest pace in 18 months for the fourth quarter as companies re-stocked their shelves. U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), which is the value of all goods and services and a barometer of the nation’s economic health, grew at an annual rate of 2.8% in the final quarter of the year, the Commerce Department reported this past Friday. The DOW ended at 12660.46 down for the first time in 2012. However, on Wednesday, the DOW closed at its highest level since May 2010, after Fed Chief Ben Bernanke said he expects interest rates to remain low through 2014 in a new attempt for more transparency by the Fed. A rebound in business spending on machinery and equipment lifted orders for long-lasting manufactured goods by 3% in December as well. With that in mind, some economists are forecasting moderate growth throughout this year. Growth is growth and nobody said the economy would grow by leaps and bounds. I’m just glad the trend is not in the other negative direction.
Local Real Estate, Mortgage Industry and Other Economic News
Did you know that there was a task force appointed by the Texas Railroad Commissioner David Porter? In any case, they met publicly and privately to discuss water quantity and usage related to oil and gas production in the Eagle Ford Shale. The task force has concluded that South Texas’ Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer contains enough water resources to support oil and gas drilling activities, including hydraulic fracturing, in the Eagle Ford Shale and also meets other projected uses. This is good news environmentally and especially for its job creation.
Speaking of jobs, since December 2010, 2900 jobs were added to the San Antonio-New Braunfels MSA for an annual growth rate of 0.3 percent. Unemployment dropped to 6.8% in December, down from 7 percent reported for November. “2011 gave us more people in the labor force as individuals from all over the country migrated here; for more jobs, especially in non-traditional areas like oil and gas,” said Patrick W. Newman, executive director of Workforce Solutions Alamo. For more information on available workforce programs and services, visit their website at workforcesolutionsalamo.org.
Finally, the average rate for the 30 year fixed mortgage index rose slightly to 3.98%. Still at very low levels, mortgage rates and local home prices seem to have leveled off, at least for the time being. What was once considered a low rate just a few years ago isn’t the same currently. There has been an increase in phone traffic for refinance quotes, but the better news is that there has been an increase in home showings according to some San Antonio and Texas Hill Country realtors. I’m looking for better spring and summer activity as well.
This article is for informational use only. Do not use it as financial advice. For questions/comments, contact Tony Stevenson at 800-460-6990 or email email@example.com