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Personal Income Jumps With Fiscal Cliff Dividends

Personal income jumped a staggering 2.6 percent in December, almost four times the 0.7 increase economists forecast, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported Thursday. Part of the December increase, BEA said, was due to "accelerated bonus payments and other irregular pay in private wages in anticipation of changes in individual income tax rates." Personal consumption spending rose 0.2 percent, slightly below the expected 0.3 percent increase. The increase in personal spending--$22.6 billion --came primarily in spending on services.

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Volatile First-Time Jobless Claims Jump Back Up

Unemployment

First-time claims for unemployment insurance jumped 38,000 to 368,000 for the week ending January 26, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Economists expected a smaller increase to 350,000 from the prior week's 330,000 initial claims. The weekly jump in initial claims was the first in three weeks. It reflected, in part, a drop in the seasonal adjustment factor the Labor Department applies to the raw data, which includes holiday workers whose jobs were eliminated.

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FOMC to Continue Low Rates Efforts, Reinvestment Program

Fed

With a nod to the report the nation's economy had contracted in the fourth quarter, the Federal Open Market Committee ("FOMC") voted Wednesday to continue its program of purchasing $40 million a month of mortgage-backed securities (MBS) and to maintain the target Fed Funds rate at 0 to 0.25 percent. The FOMC vote was 11-1 with only Kansas City Fed President Esther George (in her first meeting as a voting member of the committee) voting "no."

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McLean Mortgage Corp. Closes $1.5B in Volume in 2012

McLean Mortgage Corporation, a privately held full-service mortgage lender based in Fairfax, Virginia, announced that the company closed more than $1.5 billion in mortgage volume in 2012, a 140 percent increase in production levels over 2011.

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Increasing Rates Topple Mortgage Applications

application

Mortgage applications declined for the week ending January 25, according to application data from the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA) Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey. The survey's Market Composite Index, a measure of application volume, decreased 8.1 percent week-over-week on a seasonally adjusted basis, the association reported. The results include an adjustment for the Martin Luther King holiday. After reaching a two and a half year high last week, purchase applications also dipped.

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