(…) Younger workers were the worse-hit during the recession. The unemployment rate peaked in 2009 at 10.6 percent for people aged 25 to 34 years and 9 percent for ages 35 to 44.
In November, the unemployment rate for people 25 to 34 years old was 6.1 percent, the lowest since 2008. For the 35 to 44 age group, it was 4.3 percent, matching the September level that was the lowest since 2008. (…)
Household formation, a key measure of real estate demand, will rise to 1.1 million in 2015, the highest in three years, according to a forecast by IHS Global Insight Inc. First-time buyers accounted for about 29 percent of home purchases last year, according to data through November from the National Association of Realtors.
“If the first-time buyers aren’t in the market, the sellers can’t move up and buy their next houses,” said Bill Banfield, vice president of Quicken Loans Inc. in Detroit, the third-largest U.S. lender. “The real estate market needs an increase in entry-level demand” for it to be fully functioning, he said.
While the labor force finally has pushed past its prerecession peak, readings on office-space usage have barely budged. The vacancy rate stood at 16.7% in the fourth quarter, down only a hair from the 16.9% registered a year earlier and compared with the postrecession peak of 17.6% reached in 2010, according to data from real-estate research firm Reis Inc.
The reasons for the slow recovery in the office market are numerous, real-estate professionals say. Companies’ desire to cut costs has made many reluctant to take additional space until absolutely necessary. Shifting workstyles, meanwhile, are allowing companies to shed spacious private offices for densely packed cubicles and pack more employees into less space. (…)
Overall, employers took on 11 million square feet in the fourth quarter, the most in a three-month period since 2007, according to Reis. But the quarterly data can be volatile, so it is difficult to pinpoint long-term shifts on the basis of one report. In more robust periods, employers routinely added more than 20 million square feet a quarter. (…)
Euro Tumbles To 9-Year Low The euro was struck by a fresh dose of nerves over Greek politics, a backdrop of steadily building expectations that the ECB will soon beef up its stimulus program, and a robust dollar.
(…) The latest jitters stem from a report in Saturday’s edition of German news magazine Der Spiegel, which suggested the German government is ready to let Greece drop out of the euro if needed. (…)
The inflation rate in Germany, the region’s largest economy, fell to 0.1 percent in December from 0.5 percent in November, the Federal Statistics office in Wiesbaden said today. That’s the lowest since October 2009 and below the median forecast of 0.2 percent in a Bloomberg survey of economists. Prices rose 0.1 percent from the previous month.
Spain records sharpest fall in unemployment since adopting the euro Joblessness fell by over a quarter of a million in 2014, a record in the struggling eurozone economy
There was a fall of more than 253,000 in registered unemployment from December 2013 to December 2014, an annual decrease of 5.39pc and the biggest since the country joined the eurozone, according to government figures.
Monthly jobless claims also fell by 64,405 for the last month of the year, representing the second largest December decrease on record
Meanwhile, the number of people registering as in work rose by 417,000 in 2014 compared, the first annual increase since 2007.
Total employment in the country currently stands at 16.8 million.
However, unemployment continues to be stubbornly high, and at 23.7pc is still the second worst in the single currency area after Greece.
(…) A purchasing managers index for Taiwan, compiled by HSBC and research firm Markit and released Monday, fell in December to 50.0 from 51.4 in November. (A reading of under 50 signals contraction.) (…)
Other PMI data released in recent days showed that China, Indonesia, and South Korea struggled through the end of 2014. India and Vietnam remained regional bright spots, but also face long-term hurdles. (…)
Indonesia’s factory activity fell to another record low in December, as a measure of new export orders was at its lowest level in three-and-a-half years. On Friday, HSBC’s reading dropped to 47.6 in from 48.0 in November.(…)
HSBC’s PMI for South Korea stayed in contraction mode in December at 49.9 compared with 49.0 a month earlier. (…)
India and Vietnam, meanwhile, both reported improvements in manufacturing activity. The HSBC PMI rose to 54.5 in December from 53.3 in November, its highest level in two years, amid hopes Prime Minister Narendra Modi will take steps to boost manufacturing.
Factory activity in Vietnam similarly provides a “sharp contrast” to decelerating momentum elsewhere, said Trinh Nguyen, an economist at HSBC in Hong Kong. Demand for Vietnamese goods pushed the index to 52.7 in December from 52.1 a month earlier, as factories benefit from competitive wages and lower oil prices.
Wall Street Strategists Forecast More Stock Gains Wall Street has a message for U.S. stock investors: Don’t fear the Federal Reserve in 2015.
(…) Stock strategists are a perennially bullish bunch: Since 2000, the average forecast has called for higher share prices each year. Analysts didn’t foresee the dot-com bust of the early 2000s or the financial crisis. But last year, many undershot the index, leaving them scrambling to raise their targets.
This year, even the least bullish analysts think the Fed’s rate increase isn’t likely to deal a lasting blow to stocks. Everyone polled by Birinyi expects U.S. stocks to end the year higher. (…)