News

Mixed US Economic Data Reported

Michael Bowman

Incomes in the United States are up, but new home sales are down, continuing a pattern of mixed economic data indicating a tentative and fragile recovery from a prolonged and deep recession.

First the good news: U.S. personal incomes rose last month at the fastest pace in half a year.  The Commerce Department says a $16 billion rise in wages and salaries translated into a point-four percent boost in incomes.  That, in turn, helped propel spending, which rose .5 percent in November.

"When we look at all the indicators, we think that consumers are in a much better place [financially] than they were a year ago, and these sorts of numbers confirm that," says PNC Financial Services Group senior economist Craig Thomas.

Consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity.  After slashing spending to weather the longest recession of the post-World War II era, Americans are beginning to open their wallets again, according to Barclays Capital economist Michelle Myer, who spoke on Bloomberg Television.

"Consumers cut back on spending during the recession, during that [financial] shock period.  And now they are slowly starting to return.  They are doing so in a conservative manner in that they are still looking for discounts out there [bargain hunting].  I think there is a lot of pent-up demand, and as the economy continues to recover, consumer spending should increase, as well," she said.

One thing Americans are not stampeding to buy: newly-constructed homes.  Although sales of existing homes were up according to the latest data, new home sales fell more than 11 percent in November to the lowest level since April.  The median sales price fell nearly two percent from a year ago.  Economist Michelle Myer says the U.S. housing market continues to be plagued by mortgage delinquencies and rising inventories of unsold homes.

"We are looking for a large wave of foreclosures over the next several years.  There are a lot of homes, distressed properties [with owners in financial trouble] that are going to enter the market and add to inventory," said Myer.

In corporate news, America's second-largest carmaker, Ford, says it has reached an agreement to sell its Volvo unit to privately-held Chinese automaker Geely Group, with a final deal expected next year.  Ford  acquired the Swedish carmaker in 1999.  During the past year, Ford has been looking to sell Volvo to raise cash and focus on its core brands. Ford has already sold off two British units: Jaguar and Land Rover. 

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs