Businesses and Consumers Apathetic Toward Fiscal Drag Housing Upturn Intact, Provides Tailwind to Economy

Washington, D.C.—The strong jobs report and the rebound in consumer confidence in February suggested that businesses and consumers set aside their worries about fiscal drag ahead of the looming sequestration deadline, according to Fannie Mae’s Economic & Strategic Research Group. Activity in both the stock and housing markets also picked up recently and continues to act as a tailwind for the economy. Furthermore, the pace of manufacturing and service activity has expanded at a healthy pace and should contribute to growth this quarter. Although income and consumer spending took a hit at the start of the year and may slow again due primarily to tax increases, overall economic growth is expected to pick up in the second half of the year, coming in at 2.1 percent in 2013.

Housing indicators showed mixed performance in early 2013, but the market is continuing its upward trajectory. Home prices have increased significantly and are expected to firm further, helping to boost household net worth and providing support to consumers amid ongoing fiscal tightening.