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Tag Archives: Consumer Spending

Housing Holds Back Retail Sales

A drop in housing-related retailers slowed retail sales last month. Total retail sales increased 0.2 percent in July, down from June's 0.6 percent increase, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday. Economists had expected sales to increase 0.3 percent. The weaker-than-expected retail sales report decreases the likelihood the Federal Reserve will begin to taper its bond buying monetary stimulus program.

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Commentary: Disappointing Jobs Report? Says Who?

""Beauty,"" Lew Wallace, the author of ""Ben Hur,"" once wrote, ""is altogether in the eye of the beholder."" So, it seems, is ""disappointment""-- at least when it comes to describing or characterizing the employment report for July, which showed 162,000 new payroll jobs and a drop in the unemployment to 7.4 percent. The disappointment came not from the unemployment rate--the lowest since September 2008--but from the creation of ""only"" 162,000 jobs. To be sure, the people who are ""disappointed"" are those forecasters who predicted more jobs would be created.

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Spending Up Faster Than Income in June

Personal spending in June grew 0.5 percent, its fastest pace February while personal income rose 0.3 percent ,the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported Friday. Economists had expected income and spending each to grow 0.4 percent. By the numbers, income grew $45.4 billion, while spending was up $59.4 billion, the largest month-over-month increase since February when spending rose $75.7 billion.

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Payrolls Up 162K in July; Unemployment Rate Down to 7.4 %

The nation's economy added 162,000 jobs in July as the unemployment rate fell to 7.4.percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. Economists had forecast payrolls would grow by 175,000 and that the unemployment rate would dip to 7.5 percent. Average weekly hours fell to 34.4, compared with forecasts of 34.5, and average hourly earnings fell two cents. Despite the increase in jobs, the report could have a major negative impact on the broader economy, as it showed more people with jobs but working fewer hours and for less money.

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FOMC Issues Mortgage Rate Warning

The FOMC voted Wednesday to continue its policy of near-zero interest rates and its $85-billion-per-month bond-buying program. In a subtle change of language designed to assuage nervous stock investors, the FOMC statement said the committee ""reaffirmed its view that a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy will remain appropriate for a considerable time after the asset purchase program ends and the economic recovery strengthens.""

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Q2 GDP Grows 1.7%, Exceeds Expectations

The nation’s economy grew at a 1.7 percent annual rate in the second quarter, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported Wednesday. Growth exceeded economist forecasts but remained slower than the growth rate needed to add jobs. In the first quarter, GDP grew 1.1 percent and in the second quarter last year, the economy grew at a 1.2 percent annualized rate.

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Commentary: Magical Mystery Tour

President Obama embarked this week on a series of speeches designed to highlight the nation’s continued economic stress. The immediate response and from both ends of the political spectrum was to decry his efforts as same-old, same-old. And, it is true the President has made this pitch before, emphasizing that the significant progress has made is not enough.

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Beige Book Again Sees Modest to Moderate Growth

Citing improvements in manufacturing, tourism, commercial and residential real estate and in the financial sector, the Federal Reserve Wednesday said the nation's economy ""continued to increase at a modest to moderate pace"" from late May through early July. The assessment in the periodic Beige Book was tempered by ""mixed"" conditions in the agricultural sector and the absence of improvement in labor markets. ""Hiring,"" the Beige Book said, ""held steady or increased at a measured pace.""

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Autos, Gas Prices Boost June Retail Sales

Driven by stronger auto sales and rising gasoline prices, total retail sales increased 0.4 percent in June, down from May’s increase, the Census Bureau reported Monday. Economists had expected sales to increase 0.8 percent. May retail sales were revised to show an increase of percent, up from the originally reported 0.5 percent. The report suggested continuing struggles for the consumer sector, which represents 70 percent of the economy.

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First-Time Jobless Claims Jump to Two-Month High

First-time claims for unemployment insurance jumped a surprising 16,000 to 360,000 for week ending July 6, the highest level since mid-May, the Labor Department Thursday. Economists expected the number of claims to drop to 337,000 from the 343,000 originally reported for the week ended June 29. The number of filings for that week was revised up to 344,000.

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