- Job Openings still low: The number of job openings in June was 3.1 million, essentially unchanged from May. Openings have been relatively flat since February 2011 and remain well below the 4.4 million openings when the recession began in December 2007. There is some good news, the same report shows June layoffs/firings down slightly (2.5%) from May.
- Productivity Down/Union Labor costs up: Nonfarm business sector labor productivity decreased at a 0.3 percent annual rate during the second quarter of 2011, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today, with output and hours worked rising 1.8 percent and 2.0 percent, respectively. Unit labor costs in nonfarm businesses rose 2.2 percent in the second quarter of 2011, because hourly compensation increased 1.9 percent while productivity decreased 0.3 percent. Over the last four quarters, hourly compensation increased more than output per hour, and unit labor costs rose 1.3 percent. The bottom line… businesses are paying more for less, which will lead toward lower earnings.
- Housing Prices continue to slip: Prices of existing homes fell 2.8% in the three months ended June 30 compared with the same period in 2010, according to a report issued Wednesday by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Even worse is the fact that the spring months are the heaviest months of the year for realtors.
- The Federal Reserve Says so: The fed didn’t actually come out an say, “look out here it comes!” but they took an unusual action which indicated that they think the economy will be in the toilet for the foreseeable future.
The Federal Reserve announced on Tuesday that it plans to hold the benchmark interest rate at “exceptionally low levels” through at least mid-2013, breaking from the central bank’s usual less precise timelines. More