In June, the U.S. economy showed mixed signals, with some indicators pointing to resilience while others suggested caution. The unemployment rate stood at 4%, a slight increase from previous months but still historically low. Despite this uptick, employers added a robust 272K jobs in May, demonstrating continued strength in the labor market.

According to the US Conference Board’s latest press release, inflation concerns persisted with average 12-month inflation expectations remaining above 5%. Consumers continued to express concerns about elevated prices, especially food and groceries. However, there were some positive signs, as nearly half (48.4%) of survey participants expect the US stock market to rise over the next twelve months compared to only 23.5% expecting a decrease.

Turning to housing, in June the U.S. housing market showed signs of stabilization but continued to face affordability challenges. According to Redfin, home prices increased by +5.1% YoY, with the median selling price approaching $440K. Home sales dipped slightly by +1.2% YoY while the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate stood at 7.1% up 0.6% from the previous year. Despite a slight drop in existing home sales, inventory levels improved, with a +13.8% increase in the available homes compared to June 2023. New home construction provided some relief to tight supply, but entry level home inventory remained particularly scarce. The market continued to favor sellers, with homes spending a median of only 32 days on the market and 35% selling above list price.

The June FOMC meeting maintained a hawkish tone, keeping the federal funds rate steady while projecting fewer rate cuts for the year. The committee revised its median year-end rate expectation to 5.1% for 2024 and 4.1% for year end 2025, reflecting ongoing inflation concerns. Members emphasized the need for clear evidence of a sustainable return to the 2% inflation target before considering rate reductions. Despite these concerns, the committee noted the economy’s resilience, with GDP surpassing pre-pandemic levels and labor market showing continued strength, including gains in labor supply and productivity. The FOMC stressed its commitment to data-driven decision making and careful communication about future policy directions, underscoring the delicate balance between managing inflation and supporting economic growth.

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