Home builder confidence steadied in September but material and labor challenges persist. The NAHB Housing Market Index rose to 76 this month from 74 in August after a three-month decline. Within the report it showed that current sales conditions increased one point to 82, measuring traffic of prospective buyers rose two points to 61 and the charting sales expectations component in the next six months held steady at 81. NAHB Chairman Chuck Fowke said, "The September data show stability as some building material cost challenges ease, particularly for softwood lumber. “However, delivery times remain extended and the chronic construction labor shortage is expected to persist as the overall labor market recovers."
The Federal Open Market Committee meeting takes place this week on Tuesday and ends Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. ET with the release of the monetary policy statement. There is a zero percent chance of a hike to the short-term Fed Funds Rate, currently at .125%. The big question will be whether the Fed lays out a plan to begin tapering its current massive asset purchase program where it buys Treasury and Mortgage Backed Securities daily.
With the fall season upon us retailers are beginning to ramp up personnel for the holiday shopping season. Some of the big names have already been announced with more to come in the next few weeks. UPS is looking to hire 100,000 seasonal holiday employees, USPS 40,000, Kohl's 90,000 and Amazon is looking to bring in 120,000. Deloitte is forecasting total holiday sales of $1.3 trillion this season from November to January. That’s up from $1.2 trillion in 2020.