Times Square Celebrates Higher Optimism 2013 Data Shows

Times Square Attendees Shiver but Happy to  Greet 2014

At Times Square, the celebration will be with higher optimism, according to 2013 data from Conference Board’s research on consumer attitudes.  More than one million people are preparing to welcome 2014 in the bustling, famed Times Square.  Over a billion people will watch this celebration greeting 2014, and  Countdown Entertainment President Jeffrey Straus said the event is set to be more spectacular than ever.

Gus Faucher, senior economist at PNC Financial Services confirmed the rise in consumer attitudes:

“Things still look pretty solid at the end of 2013. We had better GDP growth even though interest rates have gone up with the Fed,” and  “2014 will be a better year with less fiscal drag.”

What is the exact data to prove that Times Square party-goers will represent better consumer attitudes?  The Conference Board research showed attitudes currently at  78.1, about where it was before the Congress arguments over financial decisions made history shutting down the government in October.

The index by the Conference Board showed how attitudes had improved toward what is happening in the world today since April 2008.  People’s attitudes towards employment in the coming months is part of the improved statistical report.

Tuesday, the Times Square festive gatherers will ring in 2014 with flags while freezing in temperatures in the mid 20s when midnight strikes, and will shiver in the icy conditions throughout the day.

Even though the New Year’s Eve party at Times Square is a festive occasion, the iron-clad security around the event casts a sober light.  People can start coming by 3:00 p.m., but they will have no choice other than to remain barricaded by bullet-proof police pens, and Times Square will operate like an airport’s security check; any type of bag must be checked, and alcohol is forbidden. Not only are weather conditions frozen, but no bathrooms are in sight, and if party-goers leave their spot for even a moment, it can’t be theirs any longer if someone takes it over.

Times Square party lovers will still celebrate with higher optimism, according to 2013 data, mainly because of rising attitudes towards the U.S. economy.  The country has managed to push aside obstacles such as the government shut down in the fall, rising taxes and mortgage costs.

Exact composite index of the home prices has been reported by S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index.  It surveyed 20 different housing clusters and the resulting increases revealed a 13.6 % increase from October of last year, which is the strongest increase since Feb. 2006.

But it’s important to note that raised mortgage rates have slightly staggered sales of homes.  National Association of Realtors recently reported how sales of formerly owned homes decreased 1.2% to 4.9 million homes sold annually.

What the Times Square crowd and all other Americans will frown at will be the slightly higher borrowing costs to buy a home.

Time Square party attendees and all U.S. citizens should know that the Federal Reserve is winding down the assets that it buys every month, a deliberate approach over 15 months that has helped stifle growth of long-term interest rates.  The Federal Reserve has been lending money out at a historically low rate, and they cannot keep doing that forever.  So the rate had to start coming back at some point, which means borrowing money is no longer as good of a bargain as it has been for the last two years.  If it stays too low over a period of time, than inflation will start to take over.  The Federal Reserve is trying to balance money with inflation, and it’s a fine balancing act.

There is still a growing demand for housing everywhere, and projections show that residential construction will continue to rise at it recovers from multiple-decade declines.  This projection parallels the continuing recovery of manufacturing throughout the nation, especially in the last six months.

While the attendees celebrate the New Year 2014 in the frigid temperatures at Times Square, the rest of us are glad to watch the famed celebration from afar, enjoying the news of higher optimism from data gathered in 2013.

by Danelle Cheney



CBS New York

Money CNN

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