Economic Numbers

6:43am

Thu February 16, 2012
The Two-Way

The Economy: Housing Starts Up; Unemployment Claims Decline

Originally published on Thu February 16, 2012 6:55 am

We have a slew of economic data out today and the big picture is that the economy is on the rebound. So, let's get to the numbers:

-- The Labor Department said the number of people seeking jobless benefits dropped by 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 348,000. The AP reports "it was the fourth drop in five weeks and the fewest number of claims since March 2008."

-- Led by a surge in apartments, housing starts were up 1.5 percent.

-- In January producer prices rose 0.1 percent.

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3:29pm

Wed February 15, 2012
The Two-Way

Robert Rubin: Economic Future Is Most 'Uncertain' He's Ever Seen

Former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin says the U.S. economic outlook is the most "uncertain" he has seen in his lifetime.

Given that he was born during the Great Depression (1938), and lived through the Cold War, the 1970s' inflation, a brutal 1980-82 recession and the recent global financial crisis, that may be saying a lot.

Rubin, who was President Clinton's Treasury secretary, is now co-chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations. He spoke Wednesday in Washington, D.C., at a conference called "American Competitiveness: What Works," sponsored by General Electric.

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7:32am

Wed February 15, 2012
The Two-Way

U.S. Factories Boost Output In January

Manufacturing output increased 0.7 percent in January, the Federal Reserve announced today, adding that it had revised December's number sharply upward to 1.5 percent.

The AP reports that December number was the biggest gain since Dec. 2006. The AP adds:

"Overall industrial production, which includes output by mines and utilities as well as factories, was unchanged in January.

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6:44am

Tue February 14, 2012
The Two-Way

Drop In Auto Sales Leads To Smaller-Than-Expected Gain In U.S. Retail Sales

Retail sales rose by 0.4 percent in January, the Commerce Department reported today.

While that's better than December's flat number, it's less than the 0.8 percent expected by economists. The AP adds:

"When excluding autos and gasoline station sales, retail spending jumped 0.6 percent the best showing in three months.

"Consumers spent less on cars, the report showed, even though automakers have previously reported higher sales in January. That suggests dealers offered discounts in order to boost sales.

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9:12am

Wed February 1, 2012
The Two-Way

Construction Spending Rises To Highest Annual Rate In 20 Months

For the fifth consecutive month, builders increased spending in December, the Commerce Department said today. The figures tempered yesterday's news that home prices in most markets tracked by the S&P/Case-Shiller index had slipped 1.3 percent in November.

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