News / Economy

US Housing Starts Rise

A new home is constructed in Pepper Pike, Ohio, Dec. 6, 2012.A new home is constructed in Pepper Pike, Ohio, Dec. 6, 2012.
x
A new home is constructed in Pepper Pike, Ohio, Dec. 6, 2012.
A new home is constructed in Pepper Pike, Ohio, Dec. 6, 2012.
VOA News
U.S. builders started construction on more homes in August than the previous month. But a survey of the leaders of major companies across the nation shows they are a little less optimistic now than they were earlier this year.

Wednesday's report from the Commerce Department shows that while housing starts rose nine-10ths of one percent in August, that is less than some economists had predicted.

The Business Roundtable's survey of chief executive officers shows 71 percent of them expect sales to grow in the next six months. That is down seven percentage points over the past three months.

Wednesday's reports come as top officials at the U.S. central bank are meeting to decide when and how much to cut back on efforts to stimulate the U.S. economy.

Top officials of the U.S. Federal Reserve are scheduled to publish their decision Wednesday afternoon , and Fed chairman Ben Bernanke is expected to meet with journalists to explain the Fed's actions.

Many U.S. economists said the Fed would trim or "taper" the economic stimulus they have been using to boost the American economy from the worst recession in decades.

A key part of the stimulus is an $85 billion-a-month program to buy securities, which is intended to cut long-term interest rates and encourage companies to buy new equipment and families to purchase homes.

Economist Jim O'Sullivan of High Frequency Economics said he expected the Fed to cut the asset purchases by $10 billion a month.

If officials cut back too soon, the world's largest economy could fall back into recession. If they over-stimulate the economy, they raise the risk that inflation could cause serious problems.

Even though the U.S. economy has been improving, job growth has been sluggish in recent months, and some workers have given up their search for employment. The country's jobless rate has dipped to 7.3 percent, the lowest since late 2008, but still well above the historical norm of less than 6 percent.

But the country's stock markets have recovered from the recession, with major indexes near all-time highs. Major corporations have been reporting strong profits.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8957
JPY
USD
120.93
GBP
USD
0.6393
CAD
USD
1.2199
INR
USD
63.470

Rates may not be current.