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Tag Archives: Confidence

FOMC Votes No Change in Policy, Foresees Slower Growth

Fed

While noting improvement in economic activity and labor market conditions, the Federal Open Market Committee voted Wednesday to continue its policy of near-zero interest rates and its $85-billion-per-month bond-buying program. At the same time, the Federal Reserve's own economic projections suggested the economy might not grow this year as fast as it expected just three months ago.

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Single-Family Permits, Starts Up in August

Led by the strongest gain for single-family construction this, year, the pace of housing starts edged up 0.9 percent in August, the Census Bureau and HUD reported Wednesday. Builders broke ground in August on new homes at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 891,000--up from a revised 883,000 in July--and filed for permits at the seasonally adjusted annual rate of 918,000, down from 954,000 in July. The gain in both single-family permits and starts came amid signs of improving builder confidence.

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Consumer Sentiment Weakens in Preliminary September Report

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment fell to a five-month low of 76.8 in September's preliminary report, spelling a potentially weak third quarter for consumption growth. The decline in overall sentiment was largely due to a drop in the Expectations Index, which measures consumer confidence for the next six months. That index fell to an eight-month low of 67.2. Meanwhile, the Current Conditions Index fell to 91.8.

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Commentary: Truth… and Consequences

Friday's report on the August employment situation at the same time confounded analysts twice with a less than robust 169,000 month-month increase in payrolls and a staggering 58,000 reduction in the initial report on payrolls for July. While it may not be easy to reconcile the numbers in the employment situation report with themselves, it is even more difficult to reconcile them with other economic indicators.

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Unemployment Rate Dips as August Payrolls Increase 169K

Unemployment

The nation's economy added 169,000 jobs in August as the unemployment rate fell to 7.3 percent, the lowest level since December 2008, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported Friday. Economists had forecast payrolls would grow by 180,000 and that the unemployment rate would remain at July's 7.4 percent.

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Consumer Sentiment Drops in August

The Index of Consumer Sentiment, released twice monthly by Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan, read 82.1 at the end of August, down from 85.1 in July but an improvement over August 2012's 74.3. A preliminary report released mid-month showed the index falling to 80.0. "The August survey indicates that the recent confidence gains have stalled as consumers await decisions on the federal budget and monetary policy," said Richard Curtin, chief economist for Surveys of Consumers.

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Consumer Confidence Ticks Up as Short-Term Outlook Improves

The Conference Board released on Tuesday its Consumer Confidence Index for August, showing a slight upward tick following July's decline. According to the latest update, the index now stands at 81.5, up half a point from July. Lynn Franco, director of economist indicators for the Conference Board, said the increase was "a result of improving short-term expectations." On the other hand, consumer opinions regarding the present economic climate were less charitable.

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Conference Board Economic Index Improves in July

A broad range of economic indicators paints a picture of an improving economy, according to the latest Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) released Thursday. The LEI increased 0.6 percent in July, reaching 96 for the month. An index score of 100 reflects the economic conditions in 2004. "The improvement in the LEI, and pick up in the six-month growth rate, suggest better economic and job growth in the second half of 2013," said Ken Goldstein, a Conference Board economist.

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