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  • Time to Start Worrying?

    Recent data releases do not portray a particularly healthy housing market, and this week’s print on February new home sales raises the level of concern even higher. New home sales slid for the fourth month in a row, falling to a new record low of 308,000; however, that was only one of several negatives...
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  • A Thing of the Past?

    The loss of 2 million manufacturing jobs in the last two years has reinforced the widely accepted notion that the U.S. really doesn’t make much of anything anymore. Even though the sector faces significant challenges in competing internationally for innovation and securing an educated workforce...
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  • The Check Is in the Mail

    According to data released yesterday by the Federal Reserve, total U.S. household debt fell 1.7 percent during 2009. While this rate of decline might not sound like much, this marked the only time since data collection started back in 1945 that a calendar year decline actually occurred—and there...
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  • A Turn for the Worse for Housing?

    We generally advocate not overanalyzing one-month fluctuations in economic data too much, given the inherent possibility of weird seasonal adjustments, bad weather, etc. Unfortunately, while we don’t suggest hitting the panic button just yet, lousy readings on new and existing home sales suggest...
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  • Is This the Beginning of the End?

    Of the mortgage foreclosure crisis, that is. Maybe. Or perhaps it’s just the end of the beginning. According to data released today by the Mortgage Bankers’ Association (MBA), the percentage of mortgage loans delinquent by at least one payment or in foreclosure declined for the first time...
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  • The Malaise Continues

    Despite hopes of a solid start to 2010, the U.S. labor market stumbled into the new calendar year. Although payrolls aren’t declining at the rate they were a year ago, outside of a 64,000 gain in November employment has been falling non-stop since January 2008. In fact, today’s report showed...
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  • Down to the Wire

    This week’s special election for the Massachusetts senate seat is not the only vote this January carrying major implications for U.S. economic policy. Ben Bernanke’s term as Federal Reserve Chairman expires at the end of the month—just over a week from now. Despite being re-nominated...
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  • A Difference of Opinion

    It appears Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke won’t be appearing on VH1’s “Best Week Ever” anytime soon. In a speech last week to the American Economics Association, Chairman Bernanke asserted that he did not believe the Fed’s interest rate policy during the early 2000s...
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  • Job Market Continues to Sputter

    Some observers might take solace in the fact that today’s jobs report showed that payrolls registered a slight increase (+4,000) during November 2009 and that the fourth quarter average decline was “only” 69,000 versus the monstrous 691,000 per month loss during the first quarter. Certainly...
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  • Recession Reins in the Inflation Grinch

    After several consecutive years of robust growth, the cost of Christmas took only a slightly larger bite out of the household budget this year. PNC Bank’s Christmas Price Index registered a 1.8 percent gain in 2009, as the economic downturn helped to restrain prices for many of the items that appear...
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