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Tag Archives: Consumer spending

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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July New Home Sales Plunge to 9-Month Low

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of new home sales dropped a stunning 13.4 percent to 394,000 in July. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected June sales to drop to 487,000 from June's originally reported 497,000. June sales were revised to 455,000. The report for July showed a slight shift to higher-priced homes as houses priced at $500,000 or more accounted for 11 percent of July sales, up from 9 percent in June. Homes priced at $300,000 or less represented 62 percent of all July sales, down from 64 percent in June.

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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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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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Commentary: Obama’s Magical Mystery Tour

President Obama embarked this week on a series of speeches designed to highlight the nation├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós continued economic stress. The immediate response and from both ends of the political spectrum was to decry his efforts as same-old, same-old. And, it is true the President has made this pitch before, emphasizing that the significant progress has made is not enough.

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Home Price Boost Sends Sales Down in June

Existing-home sales fell 1.2 percent in June to an annual sales rate of 5.08 million as the price of a single-family home rose 13.5 percent from a year earlier--the strongest year-over-year gain since November 2005, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported Monday. The drop in sales came despite an increase in April in NAR├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔÇ×┬ós Pending Home Sales Index, which tracks contracts for existing single-family homes. The index rose in April to 105.7 from 104.1 in March and fell in May.

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