Business Report: Federal Reserve raises outlook for U.S. economy, jobs

One potential trouble spot is rising inflation

The Federal Reserve Wednesday delivered its latest report card on the nation’s economy. The bottom line? The Fed believes the economy will pick up steam. Officials now expect the U.S. economy will grow by 7%; that’s above previous expectations of 6.5% and would represent a sharp rebound from where we were a year ago. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell expects the job market will pick up and the unemployment rate will drop to 4.5%. While the economy continues its recovery, the Fed will keep interest rates low for this year and next. One potential trouble spot: Inflation is rising, and the Fed sees costs continuing to rise in the immediate future.

A bill designed to train the next generation of workers for manufacturing jobs in New Jersey has cleared a Senate committee. The legislation would set up a manufacturing career pathway, to be offered at vo-tech schools and community colleges. Currently, thousands of jobs are available at manufacturing companies, which are struggling to fill those positions. The bill, which has bipartisan support, cleared the Senate higher education committee this week.

Mortgage rates have fallen somewhat, but that’s not helping everyone looking to buy a home. As home prices continue to rise, the issue of affordability has become a growing concern for many first-time buyers, and a big issue for minority households. One major bank — JP Morgan Chase — says it has launched a new program to improve housing affordability and provide more opportunities to Black and Latinx households. It plans to work with organizations like the Urban Institute, and certain nonprofits, and has pledged $400 million to the effort.

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