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Jobless claims show modest decline as Congress works on more stimulus

Americans continued to hit the unemployment line in large numbers as the ongoing surge of Covid cases added to America's unemployment problem last week. Jobless claims totaled 900,000 for the week ended Jan. 16, the Labor Department reported Thursday. That was slightly less than the Dow Jones estima

U.S. housing starts, building permits accelerate

U.S. homebuilding and permits surged in December as historically low mortgage rates supported the housing market, but momentum could slow amid surging lumber prices and a shortage of labor. Housing starts jumped 5.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.669 million units last month, the Commerc

Weekly mortgage refinance demand drops 5% after rates hit highest level since November

Record-low mortgage rates may now be a headline of the past. Now, several weeks of rising rates are dousing what was incredibly high demand for refinancing. That pulled total weekly mortgage application volume down 1.9% last week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association's seasonally adjusted i

Spike in lumber and land prices causes homebuilder confidence to fall from epic high

Just two months ago, homebuilders had never been happier. Buyer demand, driven by the pandemic-induced desire for larger newer homes in the suburbs, had homebuilder sentiment at an all-time high. Now the rising cost of getting homes built is making builders less optimistic. Builder confidence in the

U.S. producer prices increase moderately in December

U.S. producer prices rose moderately in December, suggesting that an anticipated pick up in inflation in the coming months will probably not be worrisome. The producer price index for final demand increased 0.3% last month after nudging up 0.1% in November, the Labor Department said on Friday. In th

U.S. retail sales fall again in December

U.S. retail sales declined further in December as renewed measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 undercut spending at restaurants and reduced traffic to shopping malls, the latest sign the economy lost considerable speed at the end of 2020. Retail sales dropped 0.7% last month, the Commerce Departm

Powell sees no interest rate hikes on the horizon as long as inflation stays low

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell affirmed his commitment to keeping interest rates low for the foreseeable future even as he expressed hope for a strong economic recovery. "When the time comes to raise interest rates, we'll certainly do that, and that time, by the way, is no time soon," the ce

Jobless claims surge to highest weekly total since August

First-time claims for unemployment insurance jumped to 965,000 last week amid signs of a slowdown in hiring due to pandemic restrictions, the Labor Department reported Thursday. The total was worse than Wall Street estimates of 800,000 and above the previous week's total of 784,000. Markets reacted

The unemployment rate is above 20% for the lowest-paid workers, Fed's Brainard says

Unemployment for the lowest-paid workers in the U.S. is above 20%, a figure that Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard said underscores the importance of policy help for the economy. The figure indicates how uneven the recovery has seen since efforts to control the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in the

U.S. consumer prices increase in December

U.S. consumer prices increased in December, with households paying more for gasoline, though underlying inflation remained tame as the economy battled a raging COVID-19 pandemic, which has weighed on the labor market and the services industry. The Labor Department said on Wednesday its consumer pric

Mortgage refinance demand spikes 20% as borrowers fear missing out on record-low rates

After setting more than a dozen record lows last year, mortgage rates began 2021 on an upward climb, and that lit a fire under borrowers, fearing they might miss the last of the lowest rates. Mortgage applications to refinance a home loan spiked 20% last week compared with the previous week, accordi

Americans spent a record online over 2020 holidays, and more e-commerce gains are expected

U.S. online purchases over the 2020 holidays grew 32.2% from 2019, totaling a record $188.2 billion as shoppers stayed home and shopped on the web during the pandemic, according to Adobe Analytics. E-commerce sales during November, which included Black Friday and Cyber Monday, reached $100 billion f

Here's where the jobs are — in one chart

The U.S. economy ended seven months of job gains and posted its first net payrolls loss since April last month as restaurants laid off droves of workers with the arrival of the winter months. The Labor Department reported Friday that total nonfarm payroll employment fell by 140,000 in December as fe

Economy sees job loss in December for the first time in eight months as surging virus takes toll

Job creation came to a halt in December as restrictions brought on by surging Covid-19 cases hammered virus-sensitive industries, particularly bars and restaurants, which lost nearly half a million positions. The Labor Department reported Friday that nonfarm payrolls fell by 140,000. That was below

Weekly jobless claims little changed despite signs that hiring is slowing

First-time filings for unemployment insurance were little changed over the past week despite other indicators that the labor market weakened at the end of the 2020. Weekly claims totaled 787,000 for the week ended Jan. 2, the Labor Department reported Thursday. That was less than the Dow Jones estim

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