August 1, 2014
LIA Monthly Economic Report: August 2014
By: Dr. John Rizzo
Recent economic news has been encouraging. Second quarter GDP grew by 4 percent, well in excess of expectations. Despite this growth, inflation has ticked up only slightly to 2.1 percent. And jobs gains have continued. More than 1.2 million jobs were added to the U.S. economy from February through June of this year, as the unemployment rate has fallen from 6.7 to 6.1 percent. Consumer confidence is now at its highest level in almost seven years. Consumers are quite optimistic about future jobs and incomes growth. Durable goods orders rose substantially in June and retail sales grew at a healthy pace in the second quarter.
But despite the good news on many fronts, the housing market continues to show signs of weakness. While existing home sales grew modestly in June, new home sales plummeted by 8.1 percent. Although mortgage rates have fallen significantly since the beginning of the year and home prices have leveled off, this sector may continue to exert a drag on the U.S. economy.
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