Economic Roundup: November 8, 2010

Mark Ott

Loan Officer

W.J. Bradley Mortgage Capital Corp.

Office: 928-775-9330

NMLS: 189552

License: BK-0903998

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After an encouraging increase in August, personal income figures fell below market expectations for September, according to figures released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis last week.
Personal income decreased $16.8 billion, or 0.1 percent, and disposable personal income (DPI) decreased $20.3 billion, or 0.2 percent, in September, according to the bureau. That said, personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased $17.3 billion, or 0.2 percent. Market watchers had expected a 0.2 percent increase in income and 0.4 percent increase in spending.
Because of this, September's personal savings — DPI minus personal outlays — dipped to $607.6 billion, compared with $642.0 billion in August. Personal savings as a percentage of disposable personal income was 5.3 percent in September.
Moving forward to the week ending October 30, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for jobless benefits was 457,000, an increase of 20,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 437,000. The figure was also much higher than experts' expectations of 445,000.
Pair the jobless statistics with a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that nonfarm business sector labor productivity increased at a 1.9 percent annual rate during the third quarter of 2010, and it would appear that employers are squeezing every possible ounce of output from their employees. Worker output increased 3.0 percent and hours worked increased 1.1 percent in the third quarter.
To help push rates down and increase demand, the Fed said it would buy $600 billion in new Treasury securities, in addition to continuing a previous program of asset purchases. This spurred a global stock market rally that sent some indexes to new highs for the year. In fact, the Dow Jones industrial average rose above 11,400 points, its highest level since August 2008.
Another segment of the economy that showed decent performance in last week's headlines was U.S. auto sales, for which October was the industry's strongest month so far this year. Industry sales increased 13.4 percent to 950,165 units.
"The trends are positive, and we are going in the right direction," Jesse Toprak, vice president of industry trends at car pricing tracker, told the Associated Press." We are seeing more confidence by consumers to make big-ticket purchases in an uncertain economic environment."
This week's financial news leads with data on wholesale inventories for September from the Census Bureau, to be released today. Most of the financial news will be made on Tuesday, with the Census Bureau reporting on September's trade balance and October's export and import prices. While any strengthening in U.S. trade performance could signal good things for the nation's economic position, the trade gap is expected to widen.


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