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Tag Archives: Mark Lieberman

Single Family Starts, Permits Gain in August

Led by the strongest gain for single-family construction this, year, the pace of housing starts edged up 0.9 percent in August, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development reported Wednesday. Total housing permits though declined 4.8 percent despite a surge in filings for single-family homes.

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September Builder Confidence Falters

The Housing Market Index (HMI), a measure of builder confidence, stalled at 58 in September, unchanged from August’s downwardly revised reading, the National Association of Home Builders reported Tuesday. The August confidence reading had originally been 59. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected the index to remain at that level. But a dip in one of the three index components--the outlook for new home sales six months out--pulled the reading down slightly.

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Commentary: Happy (?) Anniversary

In a speech to the nation, the president described a spirit of cooperation between Democrats and Republicans and between Congress and his administration. He invited leaders of both parties to the White House to discuss an upcoming vote which he acknowledged would be a tough decision for many members of Congress. And he closed with: ""America is a nation that tackles problems head on, where leaders come together to meet great tests."" The words were not those of President Obama but of President Bush.

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Retail Sales Disappoint With 0.2% August Gain

Americans spent more on cars, furniture, health and beauty aids and at restaurants but were otherwise frugal in August as retail sales went up a disappointing 0.2 percent from July, the Census Bureau reported Friday. Economists had expected sales to increase 0.5 percent.

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First-Time Jobless Claims Fall to 7 1/2-Year Low

First-time claims for unemployment insurance for the week ending September 7 plunged 31,000 to 292,000, the lowest level since March 2006, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Economists expected the number of claims to edge up to 330,000 from the 323,000 originally reported for the week ending August 31. The number of filings for that week was unchanged.

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Commentary: Truth… and Consequences

While August's employment situation report was less than robust (with a staggering reduction in July's revised payrolls), it wasn't the first set of data to suggest trouble on the horizon for the housing recovery. The Case-Shiller home price index for June--the most recent--showed continuing, albeit slower, house price gains, pushing affordable homeownership still further from low paid workers. That is, until the numbers change again.

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Unemployment Rate Dips to 7.3% in August

The nation's economy added 169,000 jobs in August as the unemployment rate fell to 7.3 percent, the lowest level since December 2008, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. Economists had forecast payrolls would grow by 180,000 and the unemployment rate would remain at July's 7.4 percent. Payroll growth for July, originally reported at 162,000 was revised down 58,000 to 104,000. June payroll growth was also revised downward from 188,000 to 172,000.

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Slow Wage Growth Holds Back Income in July

Consumers kept their cash--and credit cards--in their wallets in July as personal spending rose just 0.1 percent, while income increased 0.2 percent, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported Friday. Economists had expected income to grow 0.2 percent but thought spending would increase 0.3 percent.

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Unexpected Strength in Revised Q2 GDP

Shrugging off cutbacks in government spending, the nation’s economy grew in the second quarter at a faster pace than originally reported, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said Thursday. Second quarter growth was calculated at a seasonally adjusted annual 2.5 percent rate, a sharp increase from the 1.7 percent initially reported for gross domestic product (GDP), the broadest measure of the nation's economy, a month ago. The stronger growth suggests a recovery on track, though the growth rate is shy of the 3 percent trend rate, a threshold generally considered necessary to expand payrolls.

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First-Time Jobless Claims Higher Than Expected

First-time claims for unemployment insurance for the week ending August 24 dipped 6,000 to 331,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Economists expected the number of claims to fall to 330,000 from the 336,000 originally reported for the week ended August 17. The number of filings for that week was bumped up to 337,000.

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