Home >> Author Archives: Mark Lieberman (page 20)

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.

Unemployment Rate Inches Up Even as Jobs Numbers Increase

The nation├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós unemployment rate inched up to 7.9 percent in October, even as the economy added 171,000 jobs, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. The labor force--the sum of employed and unemployed--improved in October, causing the bump in the unemployment rate and signaling renewed confidence among those on the sidelines that jobs are available. With its mixed results, the report provides fodder for both President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney four days before Election Day.

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First-Time Unemployment Claims Tumble

Unemployment

First-time claims for unemployment insurance fell 9,000 to 363,000 for the week ended October 27, the Labor Department reported Thursday. It was the second straight weekly decline and the fourth drop in the last six weeks. The initial claims report has been unusually volatile for the last month, with wide swings in the seasonal adjustment factors used by the Labor Department to "normalize" the data. The seasonal adjustment for next week's report will be "unfavorable," bumping first-time claims higher.

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Homeownership Increases in Q3, Rate Remains Flat

The number of owner-occupied homes reached 75,076,000 in the third quarter, increasing from 74,832,000 in the second but down from 75,251,000 a year ago, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday. At the same time, the nation's homeownership rate (seasonally adjusted) remained near historic lows, hovering at 65.5 percent. The stagnant homeownership rate combined with a decline in the number of units held off the market suggests opportunities for home sales.

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Case-Shiller Price Index Reaches 2-Year High in August

U.S. home prices continued to increase in August as the Case Shiller 20-city Home Price Index rose 0.9 percent to its highest level since September 2010. The index is up 2.0 percent in the last year, showing improvement in 19 of the 20 cities surveyed. The 10-city also rose 0.9 percent in August, increasing 1.3 percent ahead of August 2011 and reaching its highest level since October 2010. The monthly gain in each index was slower than in July, when the 10-city index went up 1.5 percent and the 20-city index improved 1.6 percent.

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September Spending Growth Outpaces Income

Consumer spending rose $87.9 billion, 0.8 percent, in September twice the 0.4 percent growth in personal income, $48.1 billion, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported Monday. While the increase in income matched economist expectations, the increase in spending was higher than forecast. It was the third straight month spending grew faster than income, confirming last Friday's report showing a solid growth in Gross Domestic Product from 1.3 percent in the second quarter to 2.0 percent in the third.

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Residential Investment Growth Boosts Q3 GDP

Led by increases in personal consumption, government spending, and residential investment, the US economy grew 2.0 percent in the third quarter, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported Friday, faster than economists expected and a strong rebound from the 1.3 percent growth rate in the second quarter. While not an absolutely strong performance, the improvement over the second quarter bolsters arguments that current economic policies are working. Growth is below the longer-term 2.5 percent average, though, indicating a still-weak economy.

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Pending Home Sales Index Shows Small September Gain

The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) rose ever so slightly in September, the National Association of Realtors reported Thursday, tempering the much-heralded housing sector revival. The Index inched up to 99.5, an improvement of 0.3 percentage points over August's 99.2. Economists had expected the index to jump 2.5 percent to 101.7.

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First-Time Jobless Claims Drop Sharply

First-time claims for unemployment insurance fell 23,000 to 369,000 for the week ended October 20, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Economists expected initial claims to fall to 372,000. The initial claims report has been unusually volatile for the last month with wide swings in the seasonal adjustment factors used by the Labor Department to "normalize" the data. However, the factor used for this week's report was virtually the same as the factor used a week ago, suggesting the sharp drop in claims reflects a truer reading of the labor market.

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FOMC Maintains Policy Stance to Hold Down Rates

Fed

Pointing to slow employment growth and elevated unemployment, the Federal Open Market Committee said Wednesday the Federal Reserve will continue purchasing additional agency mortgage-backed securities at a pace of $40 billion per month. At the same time, the FOMC said it would maintain the target federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent and expected the "exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate are likely to be warranted at least through mid-2015."

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New Homes Sales Hit 30-Month High in September

New home sales jumped 5.7 percent in September to a seasonally adjusted average annualized rate of 389,000, the highest rate since April 2010, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development reported Wednesday. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected the report to show a sales pace of 385,000. The month-to-month sales improvement was the strongest since February, when sales improved 27,000, or 8.0 percent. While sales numbers improved, both the median and average sales price of a new home dropped.

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