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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora