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In the News This Week

Job openings are rising, but employers aren’t in a hurry to fill them. The number of jobs waiting to be filled rose in August to 4.84 million – the highest in 13 years. With 9.59 million Americans out of work, the increase in open jobs means that there are two unemployed workers per opening. But while openings increased, the pace of hiring slowed to 4.64 million. On a brighter note, employers are laying off and firing workers at one of the slowest paces since 2000, with 1.58 million layoffs and discharges in August.

Consumer self-reported daily spending fell to an average $87 in September, down from $94 in July and August, according to Gallup. Daily spending among upper-income Americans fell for the second straight month to $140, down from July’s 12-month high of $190. Spending among middle-lower income Americans fell to an average $77. While decreases from August to September are common, the second consecutive monthly drop in spending among upper-income Americans (who tend to have higher discretionary spending) is a bit troubling.

Consumer borrowing rose by $13.5 billion in August – the slowest pace in nine months – as credit-card use declined. Revolving credit fell by $208 million, marking the first decline in six months.

Tight mortgage standards are costing home builders, according to a survey released by the National Association of Home Builders. When asked if they have lost any sales over the past six months due to buyers not qualifying for a mortgage, 83% of builders surveyed said “yes”. The average share of sales lost was 9.7%, which amounts to 18,700 new home sales lost. “While housing has seen some positive growth throughout the year, there is no denying that tight credit conditions are hindering a full, healthy housing recovery”, according to the report.



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