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Leading Economic Indicators

BUSINESS
December 8, 2007 | Peter G. Gosselin, Times Staff Writer
The nation's housing crisis took a bite out of hiring in November, the government said Friday, but the report suggests the economy has so far avoided outright shrinkage. "The national economy seems to be skirting recession," said John Silvia, chief economist for banking company Wachovia Corp. Nonetheless, the job data left intact expectations that the Federal Reserve would cut its key interest rate next week in an effort to prevent a recession.
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BUSINESS
December 6, 2007 | From Reuters
U.S. companies added staff in November at the fastest pace in a year and worker productivity rose at the strongest rate in four years in the third quarter, according to data released Wednesday that lifted some recent economic gloom. However, separate numbers showing that growth in the vast service sector slipped last month, along with a government report saying the economy was at an "elevated" risk of recession, suggested that growth may still be struggling.
BUSINESS
November 15, 2007 | From Times Wire Services
The stock market finished lower Wednesday as investors, uncertain whether the worst of the credit crisis was over, refrained from extending Tuesday's huge advance. Share prices were also hurt by a reduced sales forecast from Macy's and a report showing a slight increase in consumer spending last month. The department-store operator's stock tumbled $2.18, or 7.1%, at $28.47. Stocks bobbed in and out of positive territory for much of the day before taking a sharp turn lower in the last half-hour.
BUSINESS
November 3, 2007 | From Reuters
New orders at U.S. factories surprisingly rose 0.2% in September, boosted by gains in orders for machinery, computers and nondurable goods, a Commerce Department report showed Friday. Analysts had expected orders to fall 0.5%. August orders were revised to show a 3.5% slide instead of the 3.3% drop first reported. September's 1.7% drop in durable-goods orders was unchanged after the government's initial estimate last week. Orders for nondurables, which include oil and plastic products, rose 2.
BUSINESS
November 1, 2007 | From the Associated Press
The economy picked up speed in the summer, growing at a brisk 3.9% annual pace, the fastest rate in 1 1/2 years, even as a credit crunch plunged the housing market deeper into turmoil. The latest snapshot of the country's economic health, released by the Commerce Department on Wednesday, suggests that the economy is holding up well to the strains in the housing and credit markets, which intensified during the third quarter and rocked Wall Street.
BUSINESS
October 11, 2007 | From Reuters
washington -- Inventories of unsold goods at U.S. wholesalers rose a smaller-than-expected 0.1% in August, government data showed Wednesday on the back of falling supplies of nondurable goods. Wall Street analysts had forecast a 0.3% advance in inventories after a 0.2% gain in July. In a sign of the continuing crisis in the housing industry, sales of lumber and furniture both dropped sharply while inventories of both rose in August.
BUSINESS
September 29, 2007 | From the Associated Press
Consumers shrugged off sagging home prices and financial market turmoil in August to push up spending by a better-than-expected amount. In other upbeat news, a key inflation gauge showed that price pressures outside of food and energy eased further last month and construction activity rose, thanks to continued strength outside of housing.
BUSINESS
September 21, 2007 | From the Associated Press
Strained by a tight credit market, the nation's economy should stumble along at a slower pace in coming months, but it may find help from lower interest rates and possible employment gains. The Conference Board said Thursday that its index of leading economic indicators dropped 0.6% in August, slightly more than the 0.5% decrease analysts were expecting. The decline follows a revised 0.7% rise in July.
BUSINESS
September 8, 2007 | Peter G. Gosselin, Times Staff Writer
The notion that the U.S. is flirting with recession grew more credible Friday as the government reported that the economy shed jobs last month for the first time in four years, indicating that damage from the sub-prime mortgage meltdown had spread. The news, which sent stock prices tumbling, came as two big mortgage lenders based in Southern California -- Countrywide Financial Corp. and IndyMac Bancorp Inc. -- said they planned to cut as many as 13,000 jobs.
BUSINESS
September 7, 2007 | Leslie Earnest, Times Staff Writer
The U.S. may be in the grips of a housing and credit market squeeze, but if your kid needs new jeans, he needs new jeans. So back-to-school shoppers helped propel retail sales to $55.2 billion last month, with clothing stores that target teenagers posting strong results, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers' tally of 47 major chains nationwide. Sales at stores open at least a year were 2.9% higher than in August 2006.
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