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Some Mortgage Deals Are In Limbo As Government Shutdown Drags On
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Fed Set to Release December Meeting Minutes
And. With what's news from the Wall Street Journal. I'm Anne Marie for totally in New York. This week brings the minutes from the Federal Reserve final meeting of twenty eighteen but is going to be a great gauge on. How Federal Reserve officials were thinking about the kind of confluence of positive and negative signals that we're seeing from both the US and the global economy Wall Street Journal reporter, Sharon, none has the details. But I hear some other stories we're following more. First-time homebuyers are getting loan assistance from their parents more than a quarter of borrowers who used loans insured by the Federal Housing administration received down payment assistance from a relative in the twelve months through September. According to the F H as annual report that's an increase from about twenty two percent in twenty eleven challenges. For new home buyers include rising, home prices and higher mortgage rates. Apple struggles in China follow troublesome period for Samsung, the world's largest smartphone market five years ago. Samsung was the number one seller there now it has less than one percent of the market share after struggling against competition from Chinese rivals who sold similar products at lower prices. The company was also hurt by a recall in two thousand sixteen which hurt the brand apple cut its revenue forecast last week in part due to slowing I phone sales in China. General Motors self driving car unit crews and door dasher teaming up on Thomas food deliveries the two plan to start their program in March competitors, including alphabets Waymo unit or making similar moves and many restaurant and grocery companies are also ramping up delivery services for their customers. Starbucks, for example, is planning to expand a livery of its products with Uber eats. The latest data shows package delivery firms were able to keep ahead of demand during the peak shipping season by adding jobs earlier in twenty eighteen firms ended a twenty month expansion in December cutting fifty two hundred jobs growth in e commerce deliveries pushed companies to boost hiring earlier in the year messenger and Quarrier operators had edited seventy two thousand one hundred jobs over the previous twelve months, according to ship matrix United Parcel Service and FedEx were also both able to improve on time deliveries this holiday season still to come. We'll rundown this week's economic calendar. This week brings more economic data from December, including the minutes from the Federal Reserve final policy meeting of twenty eighteen joining us now from Washington to preview the week ahead is Wall Street Journal reporter, Sharon, none. Let's start with a look back to last week the final jobs report of twenty eighteen which came out on Friday was a strong report. Now the question is can we keep the momentum going in twenty nineteen? Yeah. That's what everyone is wondering. This was a very very surprising report. I mean, it was just so much stronger than a lot of communists had expected. We saw strong jobs gains and December and wage growth posted their biggest full year gain in this current business cycle so workers are finally seeing a little bit more in their paychecks at a faster rate than they had been there really weren't any weak spots in the report that that I noticed or the communists that I talked to had noticed really in the weakness that will worry about going forward slowing global growth in market volatility. Another big. Data point out this week are the minutes from the Federal Reserve's December meeting. That's where the fed said, we can expect fewer rate hikes this year. We also heard from fed chair Jerome Powell on Friday. He said the fed will be patient with rate hikes. What other information might we gather from the minutes out on Wednesday? Yeah. Absolutely. Just to kinda focused briefly back on what chairman Powell said Friday. I mean, he said that he thinks the economy is on track to sustain good momentum this year, but that the fed is willing to adjust policy quickly and flexibly if it needs to on the fed wasn't really on fixed path, it really I think the the minutes that will see are going to provide a window into how Federal Reserve officials are thinking about the kind of confluence of positive and negative signals that were receiving from both the US economy and the global economy and Powell also said on Friday that he wouldn't resign. If the president asked him to and Powell has been pressed now several times on criticism from the president over the pace of the. Federal Reserve rate hikes. Yes. So Federal Reserve independence as something. That's very key to anyone who watches the economy or has has investments or has an interest in and the economy's growth, and I think that chairman Powell's comet really kind of reassures a lot of analysts market watchers that that there is a separation there, and that he will work to maintain that separation between the presidency and the Federal Reserve, okay? Let's get to a few of the other reports out this week. We have the ISM non-manufacturing index on Monday. What will you be looking for their? Yes. So this is a great gauge of the services industry, we call it non-manufacturing. But really that just means services and the services sector industry really represents the bulk of our economic output what we measure when we're measuring economic growth. And so we saw that manufacturing industries growth pulled back pre starkly in December. So investors will be looking to this report for signs of the pace of economic growth in this coming year and on Tuesday, we have the job openings and labor. Turnover survey that's also for the month of December. What information can that survey give us on top of last week's jobs report yet? So I think it's just going to kind of be another sign of the tight labor market. I mean, we added so many jobs in December. And it really just does go to show you that employers are continuing to hire. And that the labor market is continuing to tighten and we're seeing wages respond as a result. So I think we're just going to have further proof that it's going to get harder for players to hire new talent. And finally, let's skip ahead to Friday and the consumer price index a good gauge of inflationary pressures, Sharon, which we look for in this report. The I think going to be very fascinating report we've seen price growth kind of pullback in recent months, or at least tick down a little bit, certainly not flaring, like a lot of communists, would expect with the kind of solid wage growth that we're seeing but that being said we did see some some pretty outsized wage growth in this past drops report. So this will this'll be a good. Gauge of whether inflation is going to flare in response to to better wage growth in the coming months. That's Wall Street Journal reporter, Sharon, none. Joining us with a preview of the economic data out this week, Sharon, thanks so much. Thank you. And that's what's news. I'm Anne Marie for totally in New York for the Wall Street Journal.
WSJ What's News
Aired Last week 5:31
Some Mortgage Deals Are In Limbo As Government Shutdown Drags On
It's day. Twenty one of the partial federal government shutdown and it's causing big financial concerns for hundreds of thousands of people who aren't getting paychecks today. Here's one example, some furloughed workers can't refinance their mortgages or by homes because lenders can't verify their income right now and his NPR's. Yuki Noguchi reports even those who aren't federal employees are getting stuck in limbo. Libby, Anderson's divorce finalized this week she'd hoped her ex-husband would finally move out of their damone home where they've been living separate lives under one roof. It was going to be you know, as soon as today. I mean, we were really going to take care of it today the day after it was final, and then he would be out. But no her ex is a furloughed air traffic controller the shutdown means he can't split his assets with her including his government retirement account. She needs those funds to refinance the house under her name. Also, he can't qualify for his own mortgage because he hasn't been paid for three weeks. The. Government stalemate also means they haven't explained the pending change to their young son in a four year olds had you can't say, you know, mom and dad are going to be living in different places. And then you say well when where and we don't have those answers yet as the shutdown drags on more people will find themselves facing similar roadblocks refinance applications are booming as mortgage rates felt nearly half a percentage point in recent weeks, but furloughed workers can't lock those rates in anyone looking to buy or refinance may have a harder time getting through to federal agencies to verify income taxes or get some loan information from the Federal Housing administration, which remains closed rural home loans guaranteed through the department of agriculture are on hold to Margie hockberg is president of the residential mortgage center. She says her Rockville, Maryland business will likely see a ripple effect. This is going to be a house of cards because if I can't close. By your house. Then guess what? You can't buy the house that you are buying even though you don't work for the federal government to deals nearly fell through this week. But Hoff Berg persuaded the lenders to waive certain paperwork. She says banks strict requirements of borrowers create many potential snags. I hope would be that the lender start becoming a little bit more flexible because it's not in their best interest to not do loans either. There's some precedent for these problems during the two thousand thirteen shut down two percent of home loans. Never closed according to the national association of realtors. But that one lasted only sixteen days, the headache really is related to delays Lawrence Yun is the group's chief economist he says seventeen percent of home loans closed late due to backlogs most deals get done. But Yoon says he worries more about possible impact on homebuyer psychology, along with the shutdown it causes greater uncertainty about the economic direc-. Action which means that even the private sector employees may be less willing to purchase home over time. Greg Bush agrees what furloughed employees are going to go out and buy a house right now when there's no definitive date of a compromise. But is vice president of first savings mortgage a big player in the Washington DC area. He notes the impact on contractors who make up the largest segment of the federal workforce. There's a lot of contractors here that aren't getting paid people who own those companies they're not going to buy the able to refinance. And they're going to start laying people off those people, I think will be most affected for Libby Anderson. The new divorce say the shutdown cannot end soon enough while her break up with her ex has been amicable sharing space is taxing it. Just feels like you're at the finish line and the finish line keeps getting moved. But you're exhausted. There's not much you can do about it. You can't move the finish line. Closer because it's totally out of our control. The latest expected to move out was April first. But now Anderson worries the shutdown could outlast that obviously I I wouldn't kick him out into the street, but we really both need to move on and have some physical distance from each other until then they will continue to retreat to separate corners of their house. You know, Gucci NPR news Washington, and we're following a developing story this morning. Authorities say they have located thirteen year old Jamie Kloss, she's been missing since October when police discovered her parents dead in their home in Barron, Wisconsin, investigators got thousands of tips that were massive search parties to try to follow up on those tips last night. The Barron county sheriff's department announced that Klaus has been found alive about an hour north of baron CBS affiliate W C C O spoke with clauses aunt suit, Nyberg Allard last night. Harry's earlier today. Print and print that were chewing. They come to not be true. I just ship myself. Totally don't sit that today was going to be the day. Then to find two hours later that she was phone. I I cannot believe this. The sheriff's department says shortly after class was located a suspect was taken into custody that apartment didn't provide any further information, but plans to hold a press conference later this morning, we'll continue to monitor this story and renew any developments.
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Aired Last month 17:45
How Ben Carson is rolling back fair-housing enforcement
The post reports podcast is sponsored by price at T. Rowe price. We examined opportunities firsthand to help uncover the full story for our clients investments put our strategic investing approach to work for you. From the newsroom of the Washington Post. Either is the mayor versa. Lang with the Washington Post dossey or pick your brain on. Janet johnson. This is post reports. I'm Martine powers. It's Monday, December twenty four. Today. Civil rights investigations are down at HUD, airplane bathrooms are shrinking an apple products are getting even more expensive. One of the biggest powers within the federal department of housing and urban development, better known as hood is something with a pretty wonky name secretary initiated complaints is basically it's like the secretary initiated power that the HUD secretary actually has to initiate any sort of investigation into potential violations of civil rights, Tracy. Jan covers the intersection of race and economy for the post, and she's been reporting on these investigations into widespread systemic discrimination in housing, George W Bush's second HUD secretary watched in average of five of these per year Obama's launch ten but so far over the first two years of the Trump administration. Ben Carson has only filed one secretary initiated complaint during his two years as HUD secretary. And what does that tell you that there are far fewer of these types of? Of secretary initiated kind of investigations under Ben Carson than under previous administration. Right. Critics would say that you're not taking civil rights enforcement seriously. This is one of many ways that HUD, hedge changed under Trump, and these changes run very counter to what the agency itself was created to do so hut, basically is responsible for enforcing the nineteen sixty eight fair housing act. The law makes it illegal to discriminate against different groups of people. Most well known is probably redlining African American families were prohibited from living in certain parts of a city because mortgage bankers wouldn't lend to them realtors. Wouldn't sell to them when Eamon show them the homes, and so the lobbied illegal to do that they also protect people with disabilities. Women national origin cases, so hud's job is to enforce the law making it illegal to discriminate against people when it comes to housing instead of big investigations into systemic discrimination hut has been focusing on individual complaints filed by individual people. But Tracy says there is a. Problem with that approach these people being discriminated against don't necessarily know it, and why wouldn't Ben Carson were the the current leaders within, HUD and within the civil rights division. Why don't they want to be more proactive about this kinds of systemic cases of housing discrimination? But Carson would save that he does care about housing discrimination, and that we should not tolerate illegal discrimination. I think a lot of it is a philosophical issue as well. So you have some Republicans who feel like they don't want the government to overstep the bounds and go looking for something that may or may not exist, especially if resources are finite. Well, you say looking for something that they're not sure whether or not that exists, but we know that housing discrimination exists on really large scales in cities across this country. That's true. But that's also a main reason why the fair housing act. That's fifty years old now is not really being enforced that strictly by HUD. It's never really been enforced strictly. It wasn't until during the Obama administration. That they passed a rule. It's kind of a mouthful affirmatively furthering fairhousing. That rule basically forced cities and local jurisdictions to examine the data look at where segregation exists and come up with a plan to fix it. I mean cities could just self certifies a, yeah, I'm doing this. They don't even have to turn anything into HUD until the Obama rule came, and then they had to start submitting this stuff. And then, you know, some people thought it was too burdensome, including the secretary. So this was a rule that was passed under the Obama administration that basically said if the federal government is going to give you money give you as a city or you as a state money to build housing. You have to show us that this housing is going to be used to better integrate communities. Right. He's going to serve underserved population. Right. Not just that housing. But if you're getting any sort of money from the federal government community blocked rands for other reasons, you need to look at your whole entire city. Ideally, your whole metropolitan area. So you'd be. Doing this jointly with neighboring cities. What other ways has the business of hood changed in the last couple of years? So in addition to rolling back this Obama era rule and not using the secretary's power as forcefully as aggressively as previous, HUD secretaries. Ben Carson is also revisiting another Obama era rule, and that rule basically holds you know, lenders and landlords liable for having policies to end up discriminating against people, even if that's not on face value, the intent of that policy, for example, if you require criminal background checks that usually ends up discriminating against men of color and the rules called disparate impact. That rule has also been suspended, it's being revisited. So they are going around, you know, figuring out how the current rule alliance with the supreme court ruling fairhousing folks are very worried that this. Is the first step towards revoking the rule? When you were talking to people who work at HUD. What do they have to say about what it was like to see how the priorities of their department have shifted over the past few years. Okay. So first of all, you should know that no one who works, HUD. We'll speak record because of the environment. They're working under right now. And you know, I talked to people at high levels and lower level folks and people who would normally would on the ground who would notice these types of systemic discriminatory issues and bring it up. They're telling me that we might see certain things like we don't feel like bring it up in this administration would really yield much except for perhaps religious discrimination or gender because hut is making a priority of sexual harassment in housing or disability issues familial status. But if it's a race issue or national origin issue. They just don't feel like that's going to rise to the secretary's. Attention. In the bathroom one. Merican airlines flight from Reagan national to Los Angeles day, there's pretty long line outside of. So you're not imagining it bathrooms airplanes are getting smaller and smaller so small in fact that the posts Laurie ARA Tani says you couldn't even open up a whole people inside of one. She would know because she tried. About the newspapers. There is about the news. So my real question here is did you take this flight specifically to use the small bathroom or did? You just happen to be a flight with one of these miserably small things on it. No, we pick this plane this flight specifically because we wanted to check out these bathrooms we'd heard about them. But we wanted to see for ourselves. And we wanted to talk to people who were using them. So exactly how small are we talking about here. So I know twenty four inches can be sort of hard to envision you can think of two subway foot long sub z-, but you're thinking well that seems small but what were they before? So our intrepid graphics folks dug through the archives and found out that it's about twelve inches smaller. So they used to be about thirty six inches wide. So now, they're twenty four inches wide. Oh my God. We tell me more about what it looked like on the inside of this bathroom. So it it looks like any airplane lavatory. The one thing that struck me was the bunch of mirrors in it. Mirrors Harris, I guess that helps you feel like media to have a little more space, but you go in and you think oh, and then you look at the sink, and you realize. Trion take click measurement at the people told me only one hand in here that to be the case unless you very I mean, you're what like five six five seven like pretty smelt person. And if you don't like Lori tiny, if you don't if you're disabled, if you are a larger person if you walk with a cane, I don't know how you're gonna use this bathroom, and if you have or say, you're traveling with a small child, you might have trouble fitting the diaper bag. But at least you don't have to put the baby on the toilet seat. Right. You can pull the table. But if you have a toddler, you know, I talked to folks who said you have to leave the door open because they can't fit in there with their kid with their you know, three year old four year old. So why are airlines doing this? It's about the bottom line. It's about making more money. It's about being able to get more people on that airplane. So the company that makes these bathrooms these. News space bathrooms. Their advertisement is that you can have enough room for six more seats. And is it really make that big of a difference in airlines bottom line it does. So one analyst said one seat can be worth about four hundred thousand dollars are the course of a year what just putting in one evening in one seat because you figure how many you calculate that out by how many times a day that plane flies, right? Passenger pays however, much, you know, most most airlines, I think Americans reconfigured. So I think they can get twelve additional seats on their shoes. So it is money, and you think will cost you knew that seem so small, but, you know, begged fees thirty bucks that adds up over the course of a year. What do Irwin say when they see all of these complaints about the fact that things are already tightened the bathroom in that. It's getting even smaller. Well, this is interesting airlines say they haven't had. Complaints. What they say they I asked a couple of times they said, no where we're not aware of complaints because the WI fi on these planes is fabulous. You know? The overhead bins are fabulous. And I think what they're counting on is that they'll put all these other amenities on the plane, so that, you know, I know the bathrooms release small, but my wife, I was super fast or, but but still I mean, this is just part of a larger trend of airlines taking things away from passengers. I mean, the bathroom's, but there's also seat sizes. Right. Yes. They're seat size. Well, this is the thing. So if you're the airlines what you gird line is this is about choice. So okay. You don't have a choice about these tiny bathrooms because they're just tiny bathrooms, but you could fly first class, and you could get a big about them. And I knew maybe the they may be shrinking the leg room or the pitch. But if you want a more spacious suite, well, then you can pay for it. So we talked to different passengers. There was a lovely retiree name, Shirley. So soon. Who remembered the days when she used to fly with their family, and it was very serious and fun, and it was a real treat when I was younger. I remembered you actually had China, and you all kill silver utensils and the bathrooms were big put your makeup on not any. I mean, you could probably still put your makeup on. You just have to stand on the toilet at the same time this doing. So the FA the Federal Aviation Administration is in charge of regulating airlines and putting in standards to make sure that things are safe on aircrafts. Are they looking at this issue of these small bathrooms at all? I don't know that this has reached their radar screen. I don't know that it's Congress's made some movement on seat size. The FAA has been charged with looking at seat size and potentially setting a minimum seat size. You know, the concern there. As can you evacuate is the space of tight is gonna make it difficult for people to get in and out. But by and large the FAA has really loved it to the airline. So I think unless you have an incident if someone gets stuck if there's a safety issue, then maybe they'll act and now that we're flying these narrow body across cross country smaller aircraft smaller longer. Yeah. My flight was from DC to LA, which is five hours. You know? And so when they hand you that free Canada. It's not so appealing anymore. Well, it's not going to be free anymore. That's true. There you go. Thank you so much. Now, one more thing the price tag on an iphone this year might make you a little less inclined to make it a Christmas gift. There was a huge leap last year. When apple came out with the iphone ten which was the first time that an iphone and hit a thousand dollars Tekala mnissed Jeffrey Fowler says iphones have gotten more and more expensive since they were first introduced eleven years ago this year, they topped it even more with the iphone ten s max if you were to max out the max, I phone it would cost more than fourteen hundred dollars. It's basically the price of a computer apples prices are tied to the most powerful trick in the business. This thing that Jeffery calls the happy trap. People love using apple stuff. But with each new product the apple services and apps you use make it harder to shift your digital life to any other company. It would be pretty annoying for example to get your friends and family to switch from. I message to some other messaging service, right? Apple in particular is really good at keeping people just happy enough with a set of of related services and capable that. Really can't exactly replicate it anywhere else. So you stay put even when apple offered a cheaper model of the iphone people would still buy the more expensive version. It's like we've been trained by Steve Jobs and years of apple marketing to think that you need to future proof you need to max out and get the top of the line product iphone five c people thought the C stood for cheap. But the strategy might not be able to last much longer consumers may not be buying the cheapest iphone, but the. Aren't hankering to upgrade to the latest version that costs the company nearly one hundred ninety billion dollars this year apples in a bit of a sunk right now, it's stock has gone way down this fall, people are not upgrading. They're not buying a new iphone nearly as often there's a lot of uncertainty out there about whether the loyalty that apple has generated is going to continue to be as profitable for it. As it goes forward. Jeffrey Fowler is a technology columnist for the post. That's it for post reports. If you're in the holiday spirit, we'd love for you to rate us on your favorite podcast app. Or tweet us using the hash tag post reports. I'm martine. We'll be back tomorrow with a special edition holiday stories from the Washington. The post reports podcast is sponsored by T. Rowe price it T. Rowe price. We examined opportunities firsthand to help uncover the full story for our clients investments put our strategic investing approach to work for you.