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Tag Archives: Consumer Spending

Financial Troubles Increase for Households in June

According to Consumer Reports Index, Americans are facing significantly more financial troubles than in June. One index, the Trouble Tracker, climbed more than five points to 39.2 in July, ""an increase that was entirely fueled by an epic 23.3-point jump among those households earning $100,000 or more,"" the organization said. The tracker measures the proportion of consumers that have faced difficulties and the number of negative events they have encountered. Negative events include a missed mortgage payment and home foreclosure.

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Commentary: Unintended Consequences

Legislators heard--or perhaps misheard--customers when they grumbled about ATM fees and clamped down even though there is a logical argument for them. Now, a new fee opportunity for major banks comes in the form of pay cards--debit cards loaded with your take-home pay each time you get paid. Workers must pay a fee to access their own wages and may be charged a fee for not using the card. The pay cards slither under, over, or around the definitions resulting from Dodd Frank for fees banks are permitted to charge for credit and debit cards or even for store cards.

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Payrolls Up 195k, Unemployment Rate Flat in June

Adding new pressures for the Federal Reserve, the nation's economy added 195,000 jobs in June, leaving the unemployment rate unchanged at 7.6.percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. While the unemployment rate was unchanged, the broader employment-population ratio improved to 58.7 percent. The Fed has been looking to improvements in the labor market for a sign it should begin to reduce its program of stimulative monetary policy.

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First-Time Jobless Claims Continue Downward Trend

First-time claims for unemployment insurance fell for the fourth time in the last five weeks, dropping 5,000 to 343,000 for week ending June 29, the Labor Department reported Wednesday. Economists expected 345,000 claims. Claims filings for the week ending June 22 were revised up to 348,000 from the originally reported 346,000.

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Commentary: Drumbeats of a Coming Slowdown

The reaction to Thursday's report on personal income and spending for May was generally positive. Personal income rose 0.5 percent from April--five times what was expected--and personal consumption expenditures (or PCE) were up 0.3 percent, matching economist forecasts.

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Calendar Boosts May Incomes; Spending Increases

With a boost from the calendar, personal income rose 0.5 percent in May faster than economists had forecast while personal consumption went up 0.3 percent, as expected, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported Thursday. Data for April was revised to show income grew $18.3 billion instead of the originally reported $5.6 billion decline. Data on spending for April was unchanged. Data for April was revised to show income grew $18.

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Case-Shiller Indices Post Record Monthly Gains

Home prices posted their strongest monthly gain on record in April, increasing more than 2.5 percent, according to the Case-Shiller Home Price Indices released Tuesday. The monthly 20-city index rose 2.5 percent in April, while the companion 10-city index increased 2.6 percent. Year-over-year, the 20-city index was up 12.1 percent, and the 10-city index was up 11.6 percent, each being the strongest yearly gain since March 2006.

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Upbeat FOMC Votes No Change in Stimulus

With a somewhat upbeat assessment of the economy, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) said Wednesday it would continue its policy of near-zero interest rates and its $85-billion-per-month bond-buying program. In the statement issued at the conclusion of its two-day meeting, the committee said it ""sees the downside risks to the outlook for the economy and the labor market as having diminished since the fall,"" a more optimistic assessment than May 1 when the Committee said it ""continues to see downside risks to the economic outlook.""

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Autos Boost May Retail Sales

Driven by stronger auto sales but held back by falling gasoline sales, total retail sales increased 0.6 percent in May, the Census Bureau reported Thursday. Economists had expected sales to increase 0.5 percent. In April, retail sales rose 0.1 percent.

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Financial Problems Drop Sharply for Households

Americans are experiencing significantly fewer financial troubles than they were a month ago, according to the latest index from Consumer Reports. The Consumer Reports Trouble Tracker Index, which measures the proportion of consumers that have faced financial difficulties and the number of events they've encountered, fell sharply from 41.7 in the last report to 34.0--the lowest level since the measure was created.

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