The Federal Reserve's most recent economic stimulus plan is likely to have more impact on the local housing market than on hiring, officials said.
Last week, the Fed announced a large bond-buying initiative designed to boost the economy by spurring home buying and improving the stock market with lower interest rates.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said the stimulus will also yield more jobs.
"This is a Main Street policy because what we are about here is trying to get jobs going," he said last week. "If people feel that their financial situation is better ... they are more willing to go out and spend, and that's going to provide the demand that firms need to be willing to hire and to invest."
Even though Darrell Auterson is a self-proclaimed "eternal optimist," the CEO of the York County Economic Development Corp. said he has his doubts about the effectiveness of the central bank's move last week.
"Given the track record, I'm not sure how any of us can feel confident," he said.
The Fed's recent action so close to the presidential election sends a signal there's deep concern about the slowing of the economy, Auterson said.
"Hopefully this will boost the confidence level in some areas, but, in the end, I'm not sure how dramatic of an impact it will be," he said.
Another view: It will take more than a Fed stimulus to get local manufacturers hiring again, according to Mike Smeltzer, executive director of the
Manufacturers' Association of South Central Pennsylvania.
"Manufacturers have a confidence problem," he said. "There are too many unknowns about what will happen in government."
To fix that problem, public policies need to change, Smeltzer said.
Local manufacturers need to see a state and federal energy plan, an investment in infrastructure improvements and tax reform, among other conditions, he said.
"Otherwise, companies aren't going to invest or buy new equipment unless they have to. They're not going to hire unless they have to," Smeltzer said.
Housing: While the Fed's actions may have done little to inspire local manufacturers, the stimulus will likely be a boon to York County's housing market, according to John LeCates, president of the Realtors' Association of York & Adams Counties.
"If the Federal Reserve can help keep interest rates where they're at, we'll be very happy," he said.
This week, the mortgage rate for a 30-year loan fell to a record-low 3.49 percent from 3.55 percent last week. And the rate for a 15-year loan--which is a popular refinancing option--dropped to 2.77 percent from 2.85 percent a week ago.
Nationwide, home sales are up 8 percent, and home prices have increased 10 percent, LeCates said.
While York County home values haven't yet surged, home sales have definitely increased, he said.
RAYAC reported earlier this month that local home sales have increased 8 percent, compared to last year's statistics.
"I, and our other agents, have definitely been busier. The increase in people buying homes is definitely there," LeCates said.
-- Candy Woodall can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.