February 18, 2014 |
Families boosted their borrowing late last year at the fastest pace since the global financial crisis, a sign that Americans are gradually reopening their wallets as they feel more secure in their jobs. Household debt jumped $241 billion to $11.5 trillion in the fourth quarter, the biggest increase since the third quarter of 2007, according to data released Tuesday by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. "This quarter is the first time since before the Great Recession that household debt has increased over its year-ago levels, suggesting that after a long period of de-leveraging, households are borrowing again," said Wilbert van der Klaauw, an economist at the New York Fed. The pickup in debt was a welcome development after a string of disappointing economic reports in the last few weeks.
February 3, 2014 |
U.S. manufacturing slowed in January as new orders and inventories plunged, according to data released Monday by the Institute for Supply Management. The group's purchasing managers index dropped to 51.3 last month, down more than 5 percentage points from a 56.5 reading in December. It's the lowest index reading since May 2013. Still, a reading above 50 indicates expansion. "A number of comments from the panel cite adverse weather conditions as a factor negatively impacting their businesses in January," said Bradley Holcomb, chair of the Institute for Supply Management's Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.
January 31, 2014 |
WASHINGTON -- Consumer confidence slipped this month amid concerns about whether the recent upturn in momentum can be sustained, according to data released Friday. The consumer sentiment index from the University of Michigan and Thomson Reuters dropped to 81.2, from 82.5 the previous month. The reading was in line with economists' projections. The January figure was well above the 73.8 level recorded for the same month a year ago, and confidence was slightly improved from the preliminary January number.
January 31, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - Consumers opened their wallets more than expected in December even though their incomes failed to grow, but their confidence slipped in January amid concerns about whether the recent upturn in economic momentum can be sustained. Spending rose 0.4% in December after an upwardly revised 0.6% increase the previous month, the Commerce Department reported Friday. Economists had projected only a 0.2% rise for December. Consumers spent more even though personal income was flat in December, a worrisome sign for future activity.
January 28, 2014
Re "Homeboy Industries is a struggling success story," Column, Jan. 26 While Steve Lopez was interviewing the inimitable Father Gregory Boyle last Wednesday, two of his Homeboy Industries success stories were guiding 50 kids from Venice High School's POPS club around the premises, telling us the stories of their rebuilt lives. In two hours, our students - whose lives are touched by prison, with a parent or another loved one inside - were changed forever. The moment we stepped off the bus and the kids recognized rival gang members and saw them shaking hands, working side by side, their eyes, ears and hearts expanded.
January 27, 2014 |
WASHINGTON -- Economists working for U.S. businesses are more optimistic about growth this year and see little effect from the start of healthcare reform or the reduction in a key Federal Reserve stimulus program, according to survey results released Monday. More than 40% of respondents in the January survey by the National Assn. for Business Economics said they expected their firms to raise prices in the first three months of the year, the largest percentage since 2012. But despite the brighter outlook, the pace of hiring is not expected to increase, the survey said.