Markets & Economy

False start for accelerated economic growth will keep mortgage rates grounded, for now

More evidence that this recovery will look like no other since World War II

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Gotta love it. The 2014 consensus forecast for accelerating growth lasted nine whole days. Crashing with it: any immediate rise in mortgage rates. Oh, hopes for faster GDP growth will be back, maybe quickly. But given a black sense of humor, nothing beats the post-surprise scurrying for cover by experts and televised "Er ... um ... ahem. ..." Wizards of market economics had talked themselves into a December employment report due today jumping to 250,000 new jobs. Ah ... no. The number out today was 74,000, and 55,000 of those were shaky retail. Wages grew by 2 cents in the month, less than 1 percent annualized and half the 2013 average. Eggy faces include Fed Chair Ben Bernanke's, whose farewell speech included belief that the declining unemployment rate really does reflect job growth, and not just a contraction in the workforce. In this December report the basic unemployment rate stone-dropped from 7 percent to 6.7 percent -- but only because another 347,000 people left th...