Jobs Recovery Worse Than You Think
The February jobs report released last week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics might have been surprisingly strong, offering some hope that the U.S. economy can keep growing at a moderately healthy pace as private-sector employers and consumers try to shrug off the added fiscal austerity from Washington. Today's Labor Department report showing a drop in the number of layoffs in January and an increase in the number of hires and job openings also suggests a strengthening employment picture.
Even so, the labor market is far weaker than it has been at similar points…
The Rebound in Americans’ Net Worth: Real or Not?
The slow and not-so-steady climb back from the Great Recession is nearing another milestone. The total net worth of U.S. households and non-profits is nearly back to 2007 levels, according to flow of funds data released by the Federal Reserve.
A rebounding housing market and booming stock market helped household net worth climb $1.17 trillion over the fourth quarter of 2012. The increase brought total net worth for households and non-profits up 9 percent from the end of 2011to nearly $66.1 trillion. That’s the highest it’s been since the end of 2007, when the net…
New Estimate of Sandy’s Toll: $50 Billion and Rising
Analysts are ratcheting up their estimates of the economic costs resulting from superstorm Sandy, with the latest estimates climbing to $50 billion. Before Sandy made landfall, Eqecat, a catastrophe-modeling firm that serves insurance companies, had estimated that it would cause between $10 billion and $20 billion in damage, with half of that covered by insurers. Today, the firm released updated estimates, saying that total economic costs will be between $30 billion and $50 billion. Of that, $10 billion to $20 billion will be insured. “The large electric and utility losses…
Apple Hits New High: Most Valuable Company Ever
Hey, Microsoft, how do you like them Apples?
With its stock ending the day up 2.63 percent to $665.15, Apple on Monday became the most valuable public company in history, breaking a record for market capitalization that Microsoft had set in December 1999.
In the late 1990s, as technology and Internet stocks were flying high, Microsoft catapulted past behemoths Coca-Cola and General Electric (the previous No. 1) to become the world’s most valuable company, eventually becoming the first to top $500 billion in market cap. On December 27, 1999, Microsoft…
The Latest Sign Consumers Can't Carry the Economy
If three examples make a trend, as the old journalistic convention holds, then we have a new trend in retail sales — and it's a bad one for the economy.
The Commerce Department reported Monday that retail sales fell for the third month in a row in June, and the drop last month was a steep one of 0.5 percent. Gas prices, which have fallen about 50 cents a gallon since earlier in the year, account for part of the decline, but core sales excluding cars and gas still fell 0.2 percent, worse than expected. The government also revised lower the sales figures for April,…
Charge It! Credit Card Debt Jumps
Consumers are racking up credit card debt again. Data released by the Federal Reserve on Monday showed that consumer credit soared by $17.1 billion in May following a $9.95 billion increase in April. The May increase was higher than economists had expected and was the biggest increase in five months. It included an $8 billion rise in revolving credit, the category that includes credit cards. That jump was the highest since November 2007.
Non-revolving credit, including student debt and car loans, climbed by $9.1 billion in May. Loans held by the federal government…