Home >> Author Archives: Mark Lieberman (page 28)

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.

Prices for Existing Homes See Strongest Gains in Six Years

Existing-home sales rose to 4.62 million at a seasonally adjusted annual rate in April from a downwardly revised March rate of 4.47 million, the National Association of Realtors said Tuesday. Economists had forecast the April sales pace would be 4.66 million. The median price of an existing home climbed 10 percent to $177,400 in April 2011, the strongest year-to-year gain since January 2006. The median price in April reached its highest level since July 2010 when it was $182,100. For-sale homes rose to 2.54 million in April.

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Initial Unemployment Claims Creeping Up

First time claims were unchanged at 370,000 for the week ended May 12 after the number of initial claims filed for the previous week was revised upward, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Economists had expected initial claims would decrease to 365,000. The Labor Department had initially reported 367,000 claims filed for the week ended May 5. The revision turned that report to an increase of 2,000 from a previously reported decline of 1,000. Continuing claims ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô reported on a one week lag ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô increased 18,000 to 3,265,000.

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Housing Permits Drop as Starts Increase in April

Housing permits dipped in April for the first time in four months, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development reported jointly Wednesday but housing starts improved. Both indicators remained far above year-earlier levels. The month-over-month increase in starts in April appeared still larger because of a downward revision to March's report. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected permits to drop month-over-month and starts to increase over the same time.

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Builder Confidence Reaches Five-Year High in May

Builder confidence jumped five points in in May to 29, its highest level since the same month in 2007, the National Association of Home Builders said Tuesday. Economists had expected the index to edge up to 26 in May. The month-over-month increase was the largest since April 2009. The total index in May was up 13 points from May 2011, the strongest year-over-year gain since April 2004. All three components of the index ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô current sales, sales six months out and buyer traffic ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô showed strong increases in May.

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Initial Unemployment Claims Dip

First time claims for unemployment insurance resumed their steady decline dipping 1,000 to 367,000 for the week ended May 5, the Labor Department reported Thursday after the previous week├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós total was revised upward by 3,000 to 368,000, the highest level in five months. Economists had expected initial claims would decrease to 366,000. Continuing claims ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô reported on a one week lag ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô fell to 3,229,000), a (drop) of 61,000 from the prior week's revised figure of 3,290,000.

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More Slow Growth as Economy Adds Only 115K Jobs

The nation added 115,000 jobs in April, far below expectations and a drop from March├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós revised payroll growth of 154,000, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. The closely watched unemployment rate dipped again to 8.1 percent ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô its lowest level since January 2009 (7.8 percent) when President Obama took office ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô a function of a sharp drop in the nation├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós labor force. Payroll gains for February and March were revised, adding 19,000 to the February numbers and 34,000 to March. The average workweek remained at 34.5 hours.

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Banks Resume Tight Mortgage Lending Standards

With an upsurge in demand, banks resumed tightening standards for residential mortgage loans, the Federal Reserve said Monday in a quarterly survey for bank lending standards. According to the survey, a net 30.2 percent of bank surveyed in the Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey saw increased demand in the first quarter for traditional mortgage loans compared with a net 3.8 percent reporting stronger demand in the fourth quarter. The survey found that a net 1.9 percent of survey respondents also reported tightening loan standards.

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Homeownership Rate Plummets to 15-Year Low

Homeownership rates dropped to 65.4 percent in the first quarter, reaching lows not seen in fifteen years, the Census Bureau said Monday. According to government data, the homeowner vacancy rate also fell to 2.2 percent nationwide, down from 2.6 percent in the first quarter of 2011 and the rental vacancy rate dropped to 8.8 percent from 9.7 percent one year earlier. The median asking sale price for a vacant home fell to $133,700 ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô the lowest level since second quarter 2005 ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô from $133,800 in the fourth quarter and $143,700 one year earlier.

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Consumer Spending Enters Sharp Slowdown in March

Consumer spending grew just 0.3 percent in March, down from the 0.9 percent growth in February, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported Monday. Economists had expected spending to be up 0.4 percent. At the same time, personal income grew 0.4 percent in March, BEA said, slightly faster than February├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós 0.

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First-Quarter GDP Growth Slows to 2.2% With Spending Drop

The U.S. economy grew at a disappointing 2.2 percent rate in the first quarter, the Labor Department reported Friday, down from the 3.0 percent growth rate in the fourth quarter and below expectations. Economists had expected GDP to grow at 2.5 percent in the first quarter. A drop in government spending was the biggest factor in the slowdown in growth. In dollar terms, GDP increased $73.4 billion, most of which was an increase in personal consumption - $68.1 billion.

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