Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
U.S. consumer confidence was rocked in June as Americans fretted about the weak jobs picture and more turbulence in the financial markets, a new report showed on Tuesday.
The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index dropped to 52.9 in June, sharply below a reading of 62.7 in May and not even close to the 62.8 reading economists had forecasted. The 9.8 point drop in June marked the steepest decline since February.
A darkening view of the economy sent bond market interest rates to their lowest level in 14 months and kept many investors out of the stock market.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, considered a benchmark because it's used to set rates on consumer loans including mortgages, fell to 3.03 percent Monday, its lowest point since late April 2009.
"... government needs to, “Stop spending! Stop spending! Stop spending!”
Home prices in April rose for the first time in seven months as government tax credits bolstered the housing market. But the rebound may be short-lived now that the incentives have expired [ummm, yeah, 'cause it expired on April 30].
Friday, June 25, 2010
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Sales of previously occupied homes dipped 2.2 percent in May, signaling that a boost from home-buying tax credits is fading sooner than expected...The tax credits were expected to lift sales in May and June...The report is "a worrisome sign for what will occur in July and thereafter when the effect of the tax credit is behind us," said Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at MFR Inc., an economic consulting firm in New York...The report "suggests that even government stimulus in the form of a tax credit isn't enough," to support the U.S. housing market, wrote Guy LeBas, an analyst with Janney Montgomery Scott.
Sales of new homes collapsed in May, sinking 33 percent to the lowest level on record as potential buyers stopped shopping for homes once they could no longer receive government tax credits... The bleak report from the Commerce Department on Wednesday is the latest sign of a precarious housing market that is struggling to recover and could weaken the broader economic recovery. It follows a disappointing report issued earlier in the week showing sales of previously occupied homes had dipped in May.
Mortgage company Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate for 30-year fixed loans sank to 4.69 percent, from 4.75 percent last week.
That's the lowest since Freddie Mac began tracking rates in 1971. The previous record of 4.71 percent was set in December. Rates for 15-year and five-year mortgages also hit lows.
Mortgage rates have fallen over the past two months. Investors wary of the European debt crisis and the turbulent stock market have shifted money into the safety of Treasury bonds, driving down yields. Mortgage rates tend to track the yields on long-term Treasury debt.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Years from now, historians will look back at the Tea Party Movement and divide it into two primary eras. Tea Party 1.0 was about the birth of the first massive, spontaneous grassroots movement in a generation. It was about rallying the troops and waking up America to realize that the inmates are running the asylum; that the first Manchurian Candidate became the first Manchurian President; that government programs and government spending were poised to destroy our children’s future. Tea Party 1.0 was the start of what I believe will prove to be the 4th Great Awakening in America...Tea Party 2.0, is characterized by the swift march of Tea Party Patriots into political activism on a permanent basis. Tea Party 2.0 is an unstoppable freight train. Patriots will be just as active on November 3rd as they were on November 2nd. Because, win or lose, we’re fighting to WIN…permanently. Sure, this will take a number of years. But the election of Barack Obama and the hegemony of socialists in our government were not suddenly achieved overnight...BUT THIS IS THE KEY: Whereas in the past we were content to win a given election (a mere battle), now we’re focused on winning the war. The war doesn’t end on November 2nd, and neither will our volunteerism...The mistake of the ’94 revolution was thinking that after we had taken the “beaches” of Congress we had won the war. But Eisenhower didn’t stop at Normandy, nor shall we at Scott Brown, Chris Christy, or Rand Paul.
Housing starts fell to a five-month low in May but industrial output rose, evidence of an uneven recovery that has kept inflation at a minimum.
As the government's tax incentives for homebuyers expired, new home building dropped 10 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 593,000 units, the lowest level since December, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday.
Home construction plunged last month and building permits also fell, the latest signs that the construction industry won't fuel the economic recovery.
Builders are scaling back now that government incentives have expired. The biggest evidence of that trend: single-family homes tumbled 17 percent, the largest monthly drop since January 1991. The struggle in the housing industry is a concern for the broader economy because fewer homes mean fewer jobs across various sectors.
Overall new homes and apartments fell 10 percent in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 593,000, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. April's figure was revised downward to 659,000. Applications for new building permits — a sign of future activity — sank 5.9 percent to an annual rate of 574,000. That was the lowest level in a year.
Monday, June 14, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Thursday, June 03, 2010
... May, traditionally the height of the spring housing season...
Mortgage applications to purchase a home began to sink... are down nearly 40 percent from a month ago to their lowest level since April of 1997. Yes, you can argue that a larger-than normal share of buyers today are all cash, but those are largely investors that means real organic buyers are exiting in droves.
Tuesday, June 01, 2010
Unemployment claims in California hit 768,709 in April, a modern-day record and the highest during this recession, state Employment Development Department officials report...Just two years ago in April — a year into California’s recession — the unemployed filed 254,123 claims for benefits, EDD stats show. This April, that number more than tripled as the state remained at a record 12.6% unemployment rate, third highest in the country.
On April 27, 2010, I got a job with the United States Census Bureau in New Jersey. With a hidden camera, I caught four Census supervisors encouraging enumerators to falsify information on their time sheets. Over the course of two days of training, I was paid for four hours of work I never did. I was told to take a 70 minute lunch break, was given an hour of travel time to drive 10 minutes, and was told to leave work at 3:30pm. I resigned prior to doing any data collection but confronted Census supervisors who assured me, “no one is going to be auditing that that level,” and “nobody is going to be questioning it except for you.” Another Census supervisor only said he’d adjust my pay after I gave him a letter recanting my hours.