Home >> Author Archives: Mark Lieberman (page 18)

Author Archives: Mark Lieberman

Mark Lieberman is the former Senior Economist at Fox Business Network. He is now Managing Director and Senior Economist at Economics Analytics Research. He can be heard each Friday on The Morning Briefing on POTUS on Sirius-XM Radio 124.

November Existing-Home Sales Jump to 3-Year High

Existing-home sales rose 5.9 percent in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.04 million, the highest level since November 2009, the National Association of Realtors reported Thursday. Economists had expected the sales pace to improve to 4.9 million. The increase in sales in November was the fourth in the last six months, following a similar pattern from 2011. According to the NAR's data, November existing-home sales--closed transactions--were up 14.5 percent from one year earlier.

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First-Time Jobless Claims Up Again After Sharp Drop

First-time claims for unemployment insurance increased 17,000 to 361,000 for the week ending December 15, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Economists expected claims to increase to 359,000. The previous week's report was revised upward to 344,000 from the originally reported 343,000.

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Housing Starts Decline in November Even as Builder Confidence Rises

Despite a continuing surge in builder confidence, housing starts dropped 3.0 percent in November to 861,000, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) reported jointly Wednesday. Single-family starts dropped 4.1 percent in November, accounting for most of the drop in total starts. Activity was unaffected by superstorm Sandy, which hit the Northeast at the end of October, as most of the drop in single-family starts came in the West and Midwest.

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Builder Confidence Sees Another Boost in December

Builder confidence continued to improve in December as the Housing Market Index (HMI) rose two points to 47--its highest level since April 2006--the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported Tuesday. It was the eighth straight monthly increase in the index and matched economist expectations. Two of the three components of the index improved--the measures of current sales and buyer traffic--while the gauge of sales six months out slipped one point from the revised November reading of 52 (down from the original 53).

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FOMC Ties Fed Funds to Unemployment Rate

Fed

Despite recent improvements in the unemployment rate and housing, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted Wednesday to continue its program of purchasing $40 million a month of mortgage backed securities and to maintain the target Fed Funds rate at 0 to 0.25 percent. The FOMC vote was 11-1 with only Richmond Fed President Jeffery M. Lacker dissenting.

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Jobless Rate Drops to 4-Year Low

Unemployment

Superstorm Sandy blew a hole not in the nation├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós labor market, but in economists├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ó crystal balls as the economy added 146,000 jobs and the unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent--the lowest level since December 2008--the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

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First-Time Jobless Claims Drop to Pre-Sandy Levels

Continuing to show the recovery from Superstorm Sandy, first-time claims for unemployment insurance fell 25,000 to 370,000 for the week ended December 1, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Economists expected 380,000 initial claims filings. The previous week├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós report was revised upward to 395,000 from the originally reported 393,000.

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Sandy Rains on October Income, Spending

Consumer spending fell $20.2 billion in October as personal income remained relatively flat, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reported Friday. The report was weaker than the 0.3 percent growth in income and 0.1 percent growth in spending economists had expected. While the report reflects a weak beginning to the fourth quarter, the disappointing growth largely comes from work interruptions brought by superstorm Sandy, which impacted 24 states, by BEA's estimation.

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October Pending Home Sales Reach 5-Year High

The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) rose 5.2 percent to 104.8 in October, its highest level since March 2007, the National Association of Realtors reported Thursday. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, explained the jump by suggesting buyers are responding to favorable market conditions, noting "[w]e've had very good housing affordability conditions for quite some time, but we're seeing more impact now from steady job creation, and rising consumer confidence about home buying now that home prices have clearly turned positive."

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GDP Growth for Q3 Revised to 2.7%

Real GDP growth for the third quarter was revised up significantly, reaching a 2.7 percent annualized growth, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reported Thursday. Economists had forecast a 2.8 percent growth rate from the first estimate of 2.0 percent reported last month. Residential fixed investment accounted for $12.2 billion in the third quarter, according to the revised report, virtually unchanged from the $12.3 billion in the advance report of the third-quarter GDP increase and up from the $7.2 contribution in the second quarter.

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