Investors lately have been having a difficult time reading the markets. Economic news released one day can counter the wisdom of the day before. And the mixed messages don’t seem to stop. Last Friday, the Federal Reserve reported that industrial output rose faster than at any time in 3.5 years andeconomic reports mixed rates will rise soon the final quarter closed out in a positive note.

According to the numbers, manufacturing increased by 0.3 percent which followed a respectable 1.0 percent rise from the month before. With more workers, one should think that more jobs are being created.

Yet the December unemployment report didn’t reflect that notion. While the unemployment rate indeed fell by 0.3 percent, a paltry 77,000 new jobs were created while nearly 350,000 left the workforce entirely. Hardly a bastion of job creation pointing to increased productivity by workers in lieu of hiring more employees.

One number that did stand out from the report is the production for the entire fourth quarter, rising 6.8 percent over the previous quarter. That’s a lot and portends to a solid fourth quarter GDP number and if so, the Fed will be looking for some reassurance when the January unemployment figures and non-farm payroll jobs are counted. If the number of new jobs rises anywhere near the approximate 200,000 levels seen in October and November, then it’s possible that the Fed will end their tapering sooner rather than waiting for the methodical ending in December of 2014. The current monthly Fed purchase of mortgage bonds and Treasuries is $75 billion per month and is expected to be reduced once again at the next round of FOMC meetings scheduled for next week, to $65 billion.

If fourth quarter GDP is anywhere near 3.5 percent or better and the January jobs numbers indicate a December anomaly, real estate investors can expect interest rates to rise closer to the 5.00 percent mark. We’ll all know soon enough.