ABC News’ Chief Business and Economics Correspondent Rebecca Jarvis stayed after her roundtable appearance on “This Week” to answer viewer questions submitted on Facebook.
Jarvis discussed what the possible impact will be on ordinary Americans following Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s recent announcement that the Fed may wind down its stimulus program.
“For the average person…what it means was stocks traded a little bit lower in light of the Federal Reserve Chair’s comments.”
Jarvis added, “But in the bigger picture I think what it will really mean is interest rates are starting to go up. And when you try and buy a mortgage or a home rather with a mortgage, when you need a car loan or you want to expand a business, it is getting more expensive.”
In addition to her assessment of the economy, Jarvis, the runner-up on season 4 of Donald Trump’s reality TV competition, “The Apprentice,” offered insider info on the business mogul’s signature coiffure.
“The number one question I got from it was — after “The Apprentice” was — his hair, right? Everyone wants to know the hair. Well, I can tell you that up close, it looked like it was attached to his head, like in a natural way,” Jarvis said.
Read Full Interview Below:
Redd Stahl: When are businesses going to REALLY start hiring?
That’s been the question now for five years, really. Five years ago, four years ago, unemployment was 10 percent in this country. Now it’s 7.6 percent. And while we are seeing improvements in the picture at healthcare companies, improvements in the hospitality/leisure companies and in many of the service industries, manufacturing and construction have lagged. Now, one of the areas where we are seeing some small improvements is in construction, and that’s really tied to housing because home builders are actually having to build new houses as demand for housing picks up. So we’re seeing that. But the Federal Reserve in its report this week said that next year they expect the unemployment rate to go to 6.5 percent. So that would that mean businesses would have to start hiring more heavily in the late months of this year and the early months of next.
Dre: Rebecca, when are banks going to start approving more mortgage loans…[for] average Americans?
It’s difficult still in this country to get a loan, and part of the reason for that is it was too easy before. When the housing bubble burst, one of the things behind it is that people were getting approved for loans that they shouldn’t be getting approved for. They were getting talked into or personally decided to go for houses that were just far too expensive. Well today, we see the after effects of that. We see you must have 20 percent down payment. You must have seller credit in order to get a loan. And that, I believe, is here to stay for some time because the banks have had to learn the hard way that they can’t do business like they used to.
ABC News: Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke made an announcement this week that roiled the markets, but it’s hard for some people to understand. What exactly did he say, and what is the bottom line impact for the average American?
So our economy has been running on training wheels, you might say. The Federal Reserve month after month has been pumping 85 billion dollars of its own form of stimulus — what’s known as “quantitative easing” — into the economy. This week, the Fed Chair said to the markets and to the world, the economy’s showing some signs of improvement, and he hinted that because of those signs of improvement, he could dial back on some of the stimulus starting this Fall. In layman’s terms, what it means is, we’re an economy; we’ve had training wheels on; training wheels are going to be coming off soon. Can we ride this bike on our own without that help from the Federal Reserve? For the average person, this week what it means was stocks traded a little bit lower in light of the Federal Reserve Chair’s comments. But in the bigger picture I think what it will really means is interest rates are starting to go up. And when you try and buy a mortgage or a home rather with a mortgage, when you need a car loan or you want to expand a business, it is getting more expensive. And in just one week’s time, the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage went up almost a quarter of a percent from 4 percent to 4.24 percent. The reality is that’s still a record-low rate. You’re still getting one of the best deals in history if you can get access to that loan. But for those who have thought they were going to get the rock-bottom rate on those interest rates, well it’s rising.
ABC News: And of course we had a ton of questions about you being on “The Apprentice.” Tell us a little bit about that. What was it like working with Donald Trump?
It’s funny because I’m 31 years old now, and back then I was 23 years old, so it does feel like a long, long time ago in my life. The whole experience was sort of a whirlwind, and going through that experience as someone who was — I had just come out into the workforce two years before. I had had a couple of jobs, but it was total learning experience being around all these completely different people, and of course Donald Trump. The no. one question I got from it was — after “The Apprentice” was — his hair, right? Everyone wants to know the hair. Well, I can tell you that up close, it looked like it was attached to his head, like in a natural way.
One piece of advice to young journalists?
Go for it and work harder than everybody else and in my case I studied a different topic than others did, I studied economics. So feel free to study whatever you want, but learn to write.
One thing you can’t live without?
Coffee. In this world.
Favorite Sandra Bullock movie? [A number of viewers pointed out how closely Rebecca resembles Sandra Bullock]
“Speed,” love “Speed.”
Reality TV. I’m sorry to say. That’s a little embarrassing.
Viewer questions have been edited, shortened and condensed in some cases.