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Tag Archives: Confidence

August Builder Confidence Up, Reaches Record High in Midwest

The National Association of Home Builders' (NAHB) Housing Market Index (HMI)--a measure of builder confidence--increased again in August, climbing three points to 59, its highest reading since November 2005, the group reported Thursday. The index has improved 15 points (34 percent) in the last three months. Economists had expected the August index to slip to 56 from July's originally reported 57. The strong August numbers--following the strong June and July reading--gave further evidence to a recovery in the housing sector.

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Job Openings Hit Five-Year High in June

The number of job openings rose 29,000 in June to the highest level in five years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported Tuesday in its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS). At the same time, the number of unemployed individuals per job opening dipped below 3 (to 2.99) for the first time since October 2008. The number of unemployed per job opening fell sharply in the construction industry to 6.2 in June--the lowest level since July 2008--from a revised 8.7 in May.

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Spending Growth Outpaces Income in June

Personal spending in June grew 0.5 percent, its fastest pace February while personal income rose 0.3 percent, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported Friday. Economists had expected income and spending each to grow 0.4 percent. With spending exceeding income, personal savings fell $21.7 billion in June, and the personal savings rate dropped to 4.4 percent from 4.6 percent in May.

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Unemployment Rate Dips to 7.4% Despite Disappointing Payroll Growth

Unemployment

The nation's economy added 162,000 jobs in July as the unemployment rate fell to 7.4.percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported Friday. Economists had forecast payrolls would grow by 175,000 and that the unemployment rate would dip to 7.5 percent. The financial sector added 15,000 jobs in July, up from the average of 10,000 for May and June. New financial jobs included 3,600 underwriters and 3,000 new real estate jobs, reflecting the uptick in home sales.

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First-Time Unemployment Claims Plunge to Five-Year Low

Unemployment

First time claims for unemployment insurance dropped to the lowest level in five years, falling 19,000 to 326,000 for the week ended July 27, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Economists expected the number of claims to drop to edge up to 345,000, from the 343,000 originally reported for the week ended July 20.

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FOMC Issues Mortgage Rate Warning, Sticks to Bond Purchases

Fed

Despite concerns about rising mortgage rates and low inflation, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted Wednesday to continue its policy of near-zero interest rates and its $85-billion-per-month bond-buying program. In a subtle change of language, the committee "reaffirmed its view that a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy will remain appropriate for a considerable time after the asset purchase program ends."

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Consumer Confidence Slips as Outlook Weakens

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index, which had increased for the third straight month in June, pulled back to 80.3 in July as its two sub-components moved in different directions. "Consumer Confidence fell slightly in July, precipitated by a weakening in consumers' economic and job expectations," said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at the Conference Board. "Consumers' assessment of current conditions continues to gain ground and expectations remain in expansionary territory despite the July retreat."

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First-Time Jobless Claims Drop to 10-Week Low

Unemployment

One week after spiking to a two-month high, first-time claims for unemployment insurance dropped 24,000 to 334,000 for the week ending July 13--the lowest level in 10 weeks, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Economists expected the number of claims to drop to 344,000 from the 360,000 originally reported for the week ending July 6. The number of filings for that week was revised down to 358,000.

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