November 2, 2011
WASHINGTON (AP) — Unemployment rates fell in about three-quarters of large U.S. cities in September, a sign that the nation’s modest job gains that month occurred across most of the country.
The Labor Department says unemployment rates fell in 280 large metro areas from August to September. They rose in 61 and were unchanged in 31. That’s the most number of cities to see a decline since April.
Nationwide, employers added a net 103,000 jobs in September. And the unemployment rate was 9.1 percent for the third straight month.
Unlike national and state data, metro unemployment figures aren’t adjusted for seasonal changes. Many of the areas with the sharpest drops in unemployment were cities with large universities. They likely added jobs at the start of the academic year
October 31, 2011
European stocks dropped, paring their biggest monthly gain since July 2009, as some investors remain reluctant to buy equities before the euro area’s leaders explain how they will fund their expanded bailout facility. U.S. index futures and Asian shares fell.
Vestas Wind Systems A/S tumbled 19 percent as the biggest maker of wind turbines cut its forecasts for revenue and margins based on earnings before interest and taxes this year after delays in expanding production at its new plant in Germany. HSBC Holdings Plc and BHP Billiton Ltd. led bank and commodity- company shares lower.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slid 1.1 to 246.18 at 10:32 a.m. in London, paring its monthly gain to 8.8 percent, the largest advance in more than two years. The gauge slipped 0.2 percent on Oct. 28, having rallied 3.6 percent the previous day, after the euro area’s leaders said they will boost their rescue fund’s capacity in a bid to stem the debt crisis. The gauge jumped 4.2 percent last week, its fifth straight weekly gain.
“Traders are unlikely to be in a risk-on mood like they were on Thursday until they receive more clarity,” said Jonathan Sudaria, a trader at London Capital Group. “With the European Central Bank press conference and the Group of 20 at the latter part of this week, traders may prefer to sit on the sidelines until then.”
Futures contracts on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index expiring in December retreated 0.9 percent and the MSCI Asia Pacific Index plunged 2.4 percent, its biggest slide in four weeks.
October 28, 2011
Consumer confidence declined last week as Americans’ views of the economy sank to the lowest since the recession, highlighting the challenges facing the recovery.
The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell to minus 51.1 in the week ended Oct. 23, the lowest in a month, from minus 48.4 the prior period. Ninety-five percent of those surveyed had a negative opinion about the economy, the worst since April 2009 and one percentage point shy of a record high.
Morass in the housing market, slow hiring and limited wage growth that have soured attitudes may contain consumer spending after a third-quarter pickup. The Obama administration and some Federal Reserve officials said shoring up residential real estate would help speed the recovery.
“Consumer sentiment remains mired knee-deep in the big muddy of an epic housing mess, household deleveraging and a broken labor market,” said Joseph Brusuelas, a senior economist at Bloomberg LP in New York. “The specter of a European debt crisis and the likelihood of no additional policy support here at home will probably keep sentiment at or near historically low levels.”
The U.S. economy grew in the third quarter at the fastest pace in a year as gains in consumer spending and business investment helped support a recovery on the brink of faltering. Gross domestic product rose at a 2.5 percent annual rate, matching the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News and up from a 1.3 percent gain in the prior quarter, according to Commerce Department figures. Household purchases, the biggest part of the economy, increased at a more-than- projected 2.4 percent pace.
October 13, 2011
LOS ANGELES (AP) — More U.S. homes are entering the foreclosure process, but they’re taking ever longer to get sold or repossessed by lenders.
The number of U.S. homes that received a first-time default notice during the July to September quarter increased 14 percent compared to the second quarter, RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday.
That increase signals banks are moving more aggressively now against borrowers who have fallen behind on their mortgage payments than they have since industrywide foreclosure processing problems emerged last fall. Those problems resulted in a sharp drop in foreclosure activity this year.
The surge in default notices means homeowners who haven’t kept up their mortgage payments could now end up on the foreclosure path sooner. Initial default notices are first step in the process that can eventually lead to a home being taken back by a lender.
A pickup in foreclosure activity also means a potentially faster turnaround for the U.S. housing market. Experts say a revival isn’t likely to occur as long as there remains a glut of potential foreclosures hovering over the market.
The third-quarter increase in initial defaults was largely a product of a spike in August. In September, default notices were off 10 percent from August, RealtyTrac said.
Still, the jump in initial defaults during the July to September period is significant because it is the first increase after five consecutive quarterly declines, suggesting banks are gradually addressing their backlog of homes in foreclosure and are now beginning to move on more recent home loan defaults, said RealtyTrac CEO James Saccacio.
“While foreclosure activity in September and the third quarter continued to register well below levels from a year ago, there is evidence that this temporary downward trend is about to change direction, with foreclosure activity slowly beginning to ramp back up,” Saccacio said.
October 12, 2011
Former pizza executive Herman Cain sought to capitalize on his rise in opinion polls by repeatedly promoting his 9-9-9 tax plan at a debate focused on the economy, as other Republican presidential candidates derided it as impractical and criticized each other’s credentials.
Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who is the party’s frontrunner, navigated through repeated attacks from his opponents, including Texas Governor Rick Perry, who is struggling to reignite his candidacy.
The debate tonight showcased disputes among the candidates on a range of economic issues, including Chinese currency, housing loans,job creation and the possibility of future bailouts should the nation face another economic crisis.
The session was viewed as especially important for Cain, 65, and Perry, 61. Cain’s polling gains have reshaped the primary race and created a new challenge for Perry as he tries to regain ground he has lost to Romney.
The debate moderated by Charlie Rose at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, and sponsored by Bloomberg News and the Washington Post put the candidates in direct conflict over their plans for turning around an economy with an unemployment rate of 9.1 percent.
Cain proposes to replace the tax system with 9 percent corporate and individual taxes and a 9 percent sales tax. Cain challenged a Bloomberg analysis of his tax plan that found it short in needed revenue. He has not publicly released his own campaign’s analysis and the assumptions used in the plan.