Author Archives: Jack McCabe

Consumer Confidence Declined in December

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index decreased 6.5 points to 122.1 in December. Last month’s index was downwardly revised from 129.5 to 128.6. The Present Situation Index grew 1.7 points to 156.6 after increasing 2.9 points last month. The Expectations Index fell 11.9 points to 99.1. “Consumer confidence retreated in December after reaching a 17-year high in November,” said Lynn ...

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New Home Sales Increase to Highest Level in a Decade

New single-family home sales increased to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 685,000 in October, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The October level was 6.2% above the downwardly revised September rate of 645,000 and 18.7% above the October 2016 estimate. October’s sales were the strongest figure since October 2007. Sales grew ...

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Housing Starts Declined in September

Housing starts decreased to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.127 million in September, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. The decline was 4.7% below the upwardly revised August rate of 1.183 million but is 6.1% above the September 2016 rate. Single-family home starts fell 4.6% from last month. Housing activity decreased in three of the four regions as the Northeast, ...

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156,000 Jobs Added in August

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 156,000 in August, a decrease from July’s downwardly revised figure of 189,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The national unemployment rate ticked up to 4.4%, staying within a 10 basis point range in the last five months. Private service-providing industries added a net 95,000 jobs, led by gains in professional and business ...

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Existing-Home Sales Declined in July

Existing-home sales decreased 1.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.44 million in July, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Sales are 2.1% above a year ago, but are at the lowest level of 2017. “Buyer interest in most of the country has held up strongly this summer and homes are selling fast, but the negative effect ...

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Consumer Credit Growth Accelerated in May

Consumer credit increased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.8% in May, up from a revised 4.1% rate in April. Total outstanding credit increased $18.4 billion during the month (compared with $12.9 billion in April) to $3.84 trillion. Revolving credit grew at an annual rate of 8.7% to $1.0 trillion, compared to a 1.4% increase in April. Non-revolving credit ...

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Fed Raises Rates for Third Time in Six Months

The Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC) voted to raise the target range for the federal funds rate by 25 basis points to 1 to 1.25 percent. Like in March, the vote was near unanimous, with Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari once again casting the only dissenting vote, wanting to hold rates steady. The projected policy path for the federal ...

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Retail Sales Slipped in May

There were $473.8 billion in retail and food service sales in May, down 0.3% from the previous month and up 3.8% from May 2016, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Core retail sales – excluding automobiles and parts – also fell 0.3%. Year-over-year core sales increased 3.8%. Retail trade sales decreased 0.3% from April and are up 4.0% from last ...

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Consumer Prices Decreased 0.1% in May

The Consumer Price Index increased 0.1% in May on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over the last 12 months, the all-items index rose 1.9%. Prices for all items less food and energy, the “core CPI,” increased 0.1% in May, the same as in April. The index rose 1.7% for the 12 months ending in ...

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Small Business Optimism Remained Strong in May

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index held steady at 104.5 in May, maintaining the high level of post-election optimism. Five of the ten index components rose, while four declined. Reported job creation has improved, as 59% of businesses reported hiring or trying to hire. However, 51% reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill. ...

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