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Today in the Market (3/23/2022)

Good Evening. Stocks dipped on Wednesday, giving up some of their gains, as investors considered the possibility that the Federal Reserve may take an even more aggressive approach to inflation control.

The S&P 500 decreased by 1.23%, while the Dow decreased by 1.29%. The Nasdaq Composite Index went down by 1.32%.

DEBT

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The Biden administration has hinted at the potential of extending the federal student loan payment freeze once more, which is good news for the 37 million Americans who have May 1 circled on their calendars with a skull.

  • The Department of Education addressed federal loan servicers, instructing them to refrain from alerting borrowers that payments will resume in May.
  • On Pod Save America, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain intimated that another extension would be possible.

If the student loan freeze were a band, this would be their sixth consecutive encore, which could make you question, “Why not make this a residency?” According to a new research from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the legislation has saved federal student loan borrowers $195 billion since it was adopted at the start of the pandemic.

Researchers at the New York Fed foresee a sharp increase in delinquencies if forbearance ends. With the midterm elections approaching, Democrats have encouraged Biden to follow through on his campaign promise to erase or extend a “minimum of $10,000” in student loan debt per individual.

However, not everyone is having a good time. Private lenders, whose earnings have been crimped by the ban, have been fighting hard for payments to resume or for the freeze to be narrowed to cover fewer borrowers.

HOUSING

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The cost of renting in Manhattan is the highest in the country. The bars are jam-packed. On the surface, New York City appears to be on the rise. However, some recent reports paint a more gloomy picture of the city. Why? Because, while New York City has become a hot residential destination, its most valuable economic asset—office workers—has yet to return to their desks.

Consider this: Manhattan’s daytime workforce of 2.6 million people used to outnumber Houston’s total population. Now, though…

  • According to the Wall Street Journal, Manhattan office availability reached a new high of 17.4% in February.
  • That means there is less demand for office space now than there was after 9/11 when people were terrified to work in towers.

Fewer commuters have negative consequences for the retailers who rely on them. In the previous three years, retail vacancy around Grand Central has quadrupled to 20%.

In January 2022, the unemployment rate in New York City was 7.6%, roughly double the national average of 4%, and among the worst for major US cities.

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