William Dudley, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, reiterated two well-known themes while speaking to the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce this week: Oil and housing remain risks to the economic recovery. While the economy has expanded somewhat since the recession ended in mid-2009, economic growth in first quarter increased at a modest annual rate of 1.8%, lower than previously expected, Dudley said, while speaking to the chamber, which covers an area in the Hudson Valley between Albany and New York City. A continued decline in housing prices combined with high oil and commodity prices are reducing the purchasing power of American families further constraining economic growth, Dudley said. “The renewed decline in home prices could dampen consumer spending and housing activity more than I expect,” he said. His views echo earlier reports that showed first-quarter growth at a slower-than-expected pace, as higher food and gas prices stoked inflationary fears. Dudley’s forecast suggests the same waiting game on these two issues is continuing across America. On a more optimistic note, Dudley noted an uptick in the growth of manufacturing jobs. “While the exact pace of a jobs market recovery is always hard to predict, we were expecting the rate of job growth to pick up over the first half, and I am hopeful that job growth will continue to strengthen in the coming months,” he said. “However, even if the economy added 300,000 jobs per month from now on, we would likely still have considerable labor market slack at the end of 2012.” Write to: Kerri Panchuk.
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