With no clear end in sight to high home prices and supply-chain struggles, home-building firms are growing increasingly concerned about the state of the housing market. The National Association of Home Builders’ monthly confidence index fell five points to a reading of 75 in August. It represents the lowest level for the index in 13 months — at that time, the housing market was still reeling from the onset of the pandemic, and the home-buying craze of the past year was just beginning to take shape. Buyer traffic has fallen to its lowest reading since July 2020 as some prospective buyers are experiencing sticker shock due to higher construction costs.
Oregon added 20,000 jobs in July and the state’s jobless rate dropped from 5.6% to 5.2%, the steepest monthly decline in nearly a year. The numbers out from the Oregon Employment Department indicate that the state is continuing its rapid recovery from the pandemic, but the rampant spread of the coronavirus’ delta variant has introduced considerable uncertainty for the fall. In Oregon, July’s job gains were more than double the monthly average of 9,100 over the prior six months.
The S&P 500 has reached a milestone as the benchmark index has doubled from its pandemic closing low on March 23, 2020. That marks the fastest bull-market doubling since World War II.