Americans continue to hope for a real recovery

During the first three years after the 1981-82 recession, the economy grew above 3% in 11 of 12 quarters and at greater than 5% in 7 of 12. Eleven quarters into this recovery, the economy has managed 3% or better only four times and has yet to reach 4%. But America’s underlying fundamentals look increasingly strong.

But slow choppy growth is good enough. Things could always be worse- Britain and much of Europe are in recession.

The U.S. economy and labor markets aren’t as strong as hoped earlier in the year. Jobless claims are higher now than they were in January, and the economy grew at an annual rate of 2.2% in the first quarter, well below the 2.6% rate expected. Not ok.

Second mortgage purchase mortgage lending above 80% loan to value has begun to creep back into the market. Prudent Underwriting standards and deep risk analysis have convinced some private money to come back into the housing finance market of late. They’ve added an 80 / 10 / 10 product recently that has no Private Mortgage Insurance. Seems like old times.

Student loan debt is surging in the U.S. — hitting $867 billion at the end of 2011, more than credit card debt or car loans — but most borrowers aren’t paying down the balances.

U.S. consumers in late April felt better about the economy than earlier in the month, according to data released Friday. And, in good news for the Federal Reserve, inflation expectations slipped lower.

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