News / Economy

US Economic Momentum Continues

Multimedia

More signs that the US economy is moving in the right direction: The US Labor Department says new claims for unemployment benefits declined last week, dropping below 400,000 for the first time since July 2008. Other data also shows that businesses expanded in the month of December while home sales grew modestly in November. Despite the encouraging numbers, investors remain cautious as 2010 comes to a close.

New estimates show the snowstorm that lashed parts of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic last week cost retailers about a billion dollars in lost sales.

Even so, strong sales before the storm put retailers on track for the best holiday season in two years.

The job market is also showing signs of improvement. And sales of existing homes have now risen four out of the last five months.

Despite the positive momentum, consumer confidence actually dropped in December.

Economist Peter Cardillo says the big worry is continuing high unemployment.

"I think it's just a psychological factor that is affecting the consumer," said Cardillo. "Will I lose my job? If I do, it's going to be very difficult to get one."

Caution continued on Wall Street Thursday, as investors sold stocks to lock in gains made during the year.  

The S&P 500 is up 6.7 percent this month, putting stocks at their highest level since September 2008.

Standard and Poor's analyst Alec Young is betting that continuing US growth will keep the rally going into the New Year.

"You have a lot of people playing catch up," said Young. "They were under-exposed to the US stock market this year. They were too worried about the economy; a lot of nervous Nellie's there chasing performance. They want to be seen to be a part of this rally by year's end."

Despite concerns about the global impact of China's efforts to cool down its economy, and the ongoing debt crisis in Europe - analysts say the world will be looking closely at how the US economy performs in 2011.

That's particularly true for export driven economies.

Shinichi Ichikawa is an equity strategist at Credit Suisse Securities in Japan:

"If we can expect an improvement in the US economy, then we can expect that improvement in the Japanese economy, especially the last part of 2011 and of course 2012, prior to the next presidential election," said Ichikawa.

Investors should get a better indication of how the US economy will do in 2011 when the Labor Department releases its first unemployment report of the new year on January 7.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

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.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7305
JPY
USD
101.53
GBP
USD
0.5830
CAD
USD
1.0656
INR
USD
60.075

Rates may not be current.