The Federal Reserve yesterday launched their biggest broadside yet against inflation, raising benchmark interest rates three-quarters of a percentage point in a move that equates to the most aggressive hike since 1994. Ending weeks of speculation, the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee took the level of its benchmark funds rate to a range of 1.5%-1.75%, the highest since just before the pandemic began in March 2020. Fed Officials also significantly cut their outlook for 2022 economic growth, now anticipating just a 1.7% gain in GDP, down from 2.8% from March.
Confidence among U.S. single-family homebuilders dropped to a two-year low in June as high inflation and rising mortgage rates reduced affordability for entry-level and first-time buyers. The National Association of Home Builders Market index fell two points to 67 this month, the lowest reading since June 2020. It was the sixth straight monthly decline in the index.
There are more Oregonians in the labor force now than any time in the past decade, underscoring the job market’s extraordinary recovery from the pandemic recession. Labor force participation hit 63.5% in May, according to data out from the Oregon Employment Department. Oregon added 6,200 jobs in May, and the unemployment rate dropped by a tenth of a point to 3.6%.