Happy New Year! I hope this email finds you well, armed with resolutions and a sense of humor, because, well, we’re diving into 2024 with a statistical eye-roll. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) decided to celebrate the new year with a grand reveal of 216,000 jobs created in December, beating expectations. But wait for the plot twist – 71,000 downward revisions to the previous two months! What the what? BLS seems to have a New Year’s resolution: report high, revise low. Classic.

And speaking of resolutions, have you ever wondered if we’re working less collectively or if the BLS is just playing with numbers during its lunch break? The average weekly hours worked declined, leaving me scratching my bald head.

But let’s not overlook the drama from the Household Survey—683,000 job losses spilled like a reality show secret. The unemployment rate stayed at 3.7%, but rumor is that the labor force pulled a disappearing act to keep it that way.
Now, on to the Fed – Powell went all dovish, but the minutes reveal the Fed is playing it cool. Inflation is allegedly under control, but they’re eyeing a lower federal funds rate by 2024. Meanwhile, Dallas Fed President Lorie Logan is considering a plot twist – reducing Quantitative Tightening. That would be worthy of popping the Dom if I were an interest rate looking to party.

Switching gears to Arizona hyper-local info – do home values decline in recessions? Apparently not. Home values only declined once in the past 50 years during a recession. What declines during a recession, historically, is interest rates. Homes under 2,500 sf are holding firm, bouncing back from a September dip.

Meanwhile, the luxury market is flexing its muscles, up 11% year over year. Contract ratios are lining up with 2014, so if your clients are in the market, brace yourself – things are about to heat up. Whatever’s hot is getting hotter, even the outskirts. If you’re holding onto buyers in these areas, it’s time to make your move.

~thanks to Tina Tamboer for some of the data provided.

As we plunge into 2024, I remember what a good ole boy told me years ago, “it’s hard telling, not knowing!” I hope you know a little more after this read. 😊