January 25, 2013


Bloomberg (links: seasonally adjusted annual sales, 2007-2012; raw numbers showing 26,000 new homes were sold in December):

Sales of New U.S. Homes Decline to End First Year of Rebound

Purchases of new U.S. homes unexpectedly dropped in December, indicating the U.S. housing rebound will take time to develop after the industry completed its first year of recovery.

Sales declined 7.3 percent to a 369,000 annual pace following a 398,000 rate in November that was higher than previously estimated and the strongest in more than two years, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The median estimate of 77 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for sales to reach 385,000 last month.

Even with December’s slip, 367,000 new homes were purchased for all of 2012, the most since 2009 and the first annual gain in seven years, showing the housing market is on the road to recovery. A dearth of previously-owned properties in the U.S., mortgage rates near record lows, healthier job prospects and a rising number of households should stoke demand for newly- constructed homes this year.

To be clear, here are annual sales totals during the past six years I found in digging through my posts (may require tiny revisions):
- 2007 — 716,000
- 2008 — 485,000
- 2009 — 375,000
- 2010 — 323,000
- 2011 — 304,000
- 2012 — 367,000

It’s way too early to call a return to half of where were five years ago a “recovery.”

Union-Represented AP Reporter Bemoans Decline in Union Membership, Admits Economy Only Shows ‘Signs of Improving’

File this under “careful what you wish for.”

In 2012, with a Democrat in the White House, union membership declined, not only as a percentage of the workforce, but in absolute numbers. Even though the related report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that the number of employed wage and salaried workers increased by almost 2.4 million, union membership fell by just under 400,000. Union membership is down by over 1.7 million since 2008, and fell by 961,000 during the past three years of supposed economic recovery. These results aren’t sitting well with Sam Hananel at the Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press, whose reporters are represented by the Occupy movement-supporting News Media Guild. Excerpts from the AP reporter’s Wednesday report follow the jump.


Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (012513)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow later. Other topics are also fair game.


Positivity: Strong college presence expected at March for Life

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Washington:

Jan 24, 2013 / 05:02 pm

Catholic colleges and universities will be well-represented at this year’s March for Life, according to announcements by pro-life campus groups across the country.

“When you see thousands of pro-life youth flooding stadiums, churches, and streets of Washington, D.C., it gives you hope,” said Grace Daigler, vice president of Franciscan University of Steubenville’s Students for Life organization.

Located in Ohio, the university will be sending some 800 students to the 2013 March for Life in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 25.

“More than ever before it is important for Americans to see that those committed to life are not discouraged or demoralized in the fight for life,” said university president Father Terence Henry, TOR, in a statement.

Franciscan University will cancel its classes on the day of the march, along with Christendom College in Front Royal, Va., which will be sending its entire student body to participate in the event.

Charter buses will transport more than 400 people from Christendom’s campus to the nation’s capital. The college community has attended the march together every year since the school’s founding 35 years ago.

The March for Life – now in its 40th year – marks the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion throughout the country.

While the annual march is usually held on Jan. 22, marking the date of the 1973 ruling, it was moved this year to Jan. 25 due to the presidential inauguration on Jan. 21.

Several colleges have confirmed that they are sending record-breaking groups to attend what some have speculated may be the biggest March for Life in the nation’s history.

Nearly one in five students from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., will be attending the March for Life this year. …

Go here for the rest of the story.