Hope for a New Year 2014

It has been five years since the depth of the recession was upon us. For five years we have been recovering. The recovery has been painful and slow with many starts and stops. Yet, as we approach 2014 there seems to be more optimism regarding the status of the economy recovery and our future. Some of this optimism is rooted in facts and some of this optimism comes from sentiment.

First the facts. For the first time in five years, the real estate market participated and is contributing in the recovery. When homeowners feel wealthier because of rising home values, the entire economy benefits. It is no coincidence that the economy grew at stronger pace in each of the past four quarters--including a robust 4.1% growth rate in the third quarter. Employment growth has picked up and this job growth is picking up within a variety of sectors--including state and local governments -- which is a sector that was laying off tens of thousands just a few years ago.

About those feelings. For a long time we have been saying that this was a crisis of confidence. Confidence is a feeling. In general, we can see that consumer confidence is rising as the year draws to a close. There is even hope that Congress is starting to show stronger levels of bi-partisanship -- which is a good thing with the debt limit issue about to hit in the first quarter of 2014. Confidence allows people to make important decisions such as getting married and starting a family. Here is to a great New Year for all--and hoping the growth in good feelings continue for all of 2014!

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