Home >> Author Archives: Mark Lieberman (page 26)

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.

Income Growth Slows as Spending Drops in May

Consumer spending fell $4.7 billion, less than 1 percent in May, reversing the 0.15 percent increase in April, the Labor Department reported Friday. Personal income meanwhile grew $25.4 billion or 0.18 percent, down from April's 0.22 percent growth. The numbers suggest GDP growth for the second quarter which ends Saturday could be slip from the first quarter's weak 1.9 percent growth rate. In dollars, income growth in May was less than the $29.4 billion in April, while spending fell from a gain of $16.2 billion in April.

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First-Quarter GDP Growth Crawls at 1.9%

The US economy grew at an annual rate of 1.9 percent in the first quarter, the Labor Department said Thursday. The BEA report was consistent with market expectations but emphasized a moribund economy. The economy had expanded at a 3.0 percent pace in the fourth quarter of 2011. In economic measurement terms, these data are ancient economic history, since the second quarter ends Saturday. The advance first quarter GDP report will be released on July 27. The data released so far for April, May, and early June suggest second-quarter 2012 economic activity may have grown even less rapidly.

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Pending-Home Sales Make Strong Debut in May: NAR

The Pending Home Sales Index rose a strong 5.9 percent in May to 101.1, returning to its level of March, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday. The index had slipped in April to 95.5 after reaching its highest level since April 2010. The index is up a solid 13.3 percent since May 2011. The report is another in a string of positive signs for the housing sector. Pending home sales are counted when sales contracts are signed, and are viewed as a leading indicator of existing home sales, according to NAR.

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Home Prices Climb for First Time in Eight Months

The Case-Shiller Home Price Indexes rose for the first time in eight months in April. The 10- and 20-city indexes each rose 1.3 percent to the highest levels this year. Year-over-year, the 10-city index was down 2.2 percent and the 20-city index off 1.9 percent, both improvements from March. Prices improved month-over-month in all but one of the 20 cities tracked by Case-Shiller; prices fell 3.6 percent in Detroit. Prices were up year-over-year in 10 of the 20 cities. Economists had expected declines in the 20-city.

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New Home Sales Soar to Two-Year High in May

New home sales jumped to 369,000 in May - the highest level since April 2010 - as the median and average home prices both fell, the Census Bureau and HUD said jointly Monday. Economists had expected sales to reach 350,000 from the prior month's 343,000. Sales increased 7.6 percent month-over-month, marking the first increase in three months, and were up 19.8 percent since May 2011. The median price of a new single-family home fell for the third straight month, dropping to $234,500, the lowest level since February.

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Existing-Home Sales Fall Steeply, Routing Hopes

Existing home sales dropped to 4.55 million in May while the median price of an existing home rose to $182,600, the National Association of realtors reported Thursday. The decline in the seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales was the third in the last four months and steeper than expected. Despite the month-over-month decline, existing-home sales continue a steady, longer-term increase. Sales have averaged 4.574 million in the last five months, compared with 4.358 million in the previous five months and 4.274 million last year.

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Initial Jobless Claims Dip But Remain High

First time claims for unemployment insurance fell to 387,000 for the week ended June 16, from the prior week├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós 389,000, (revised from the originally reported 387,000) the Labor Department reported Thursday. Economists had expected the report would show 3863,000 initial claims.

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FOMC Moves Modestly to Boost Economy

Fed

With a lone dissent, the Federal Open Market Committee Wednesday voted no change in the target federal funds rate but agreed to expand its program to stimulate the economy by purchasing Treasury securities. The action is expected to keep mortgage rates at record lows. After the meeting, the FOMC released its quarterly forecast of the economy and interest rates with more members of the Committee seeing higher rates in 2014 than in the prior forecast. The FOMC said "growth in employment has slowed in recent months and the unemployment rate has declined but remains elevated."

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Housing Permits Soar Highest Since September 2008

Housing permits soared in May to their highest level since September 2008, surging 7.9 percent to 780,000, the Census Bureau and HUD reported jointly Tuesday, but housing starts dropped 4.8 percent to 708,000 giving back all of April's gains. At the same time, permits for April were revised upward to 723,000 from the originally reported 715,000. April housing starts were also revised to 744,000, up from the originally reported 717,000 percent drop. Surveyed economists expected increases in both areas.

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Builder Confidence at Five-Year High in June: NAHB

Builder confidence rose one point in in June to 29, its highest level since May 2007, the National Association of Home Builders reported Monday. The index for May, originally reported as 29 was revised down to 28. Economists had expected the index to be flat to the original report for May. The total index in June was up 16 points from June 2011, the strongest year-over-year gain since December 1998. The index has improved year-over-year for 12 straight months as it did from July 2009 through June 2010 before going into a five month swoon.

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