Buyers swarmed builder lots in May to propel the biggest gain in sales of new homes in 22 years, while consumer confidence this month was the strongest since 2008, showing how an improving U.S. job market is giving the economy a much-needed lift.
Government spending cuts set to take effect this week will be felt at the local level as everyone from defense contractors in Virginia to waitresses in New Mexico take a hit. The overall impact on the U.S. economy may be more muted.
The Federal Reserve said it will keep reducing the pace of bond purchases as the economy shakes off the winter doldrums, putting the central bank on a course to end the unprecedented stimulus program by the close of 2014.
Americans’ drive to rebuild savings and pay down debt may mean the gains from the current mini boom in mortgage refinancing will accrue over years rather than have a more immediate effect on the U.S. economy.