2. Housing is finally recovering. Home values are up 7% nationally through the first nine months of 2012, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller index. Meanwhile, home-building is gaining traction, which means more jobs for construction workers, contractors and builders. Some 29,000 new construction jobs have been added since May. There's 'a significant thawing in labor conditions in the construction market,' notes Andrew Wilkinson, economist at Miller Tabak & Co. It's not just construction crews. Retailers who cater to Americans furnishing, repairing and improving their homes also will need to hire.[qh]
3. When Dickens wrote about the French Revolution in A Tale of Two Cities, he did it with nearly a century of hindsight. Here, at the end of December, I don’t enjoy that luxury. As such, some of the trends I’ve written here are likely to remain in force for the foreseeable future, while others may have already begun to fade. As one of this period’s “noisiest authorities,” I insist only on your receiving this review with just one caveat in mind: Past performance does not guarantee future results.