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    The number of people laid off or discharged from their jobs hit a record low in December as employers took unusual measures to maintain workers. The Labor Department said Tuesday that the number and rate of layoffs and discharges edged down to 1.2 million and 0.8%, respectively, both the lowest in the two decades that records have been kept. Additionally, some 4.3 million workers quit their jobs in December, down from a previous record of 4.5 million the month before, equivalent to about 3% of the country’s labor force. The rate measures the number of people who voluntarily left their jobs and includes those who left their job for another one. Economists often interpret high rates as a sign of economic health because people who quit generally are confident of their employment prospects. S&P 500 CLOSES OUT WORST MONTH SINCE START OF PANDEMIC The number of job openings remained largely unchanged from the month before, with about 10.9 million openings in December, according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey from the Bureau of...
    U.S. consumer confidence declined for the third straight month in September, indicating that consumers have grown more cautious and are likely to pull back on spending. The Conference Board said Tuesday that its consumer confidence index fell to a reading of 109.3 in September from 115.2 in August. Economists had expected confidence to rise one point from the initially reported July level to 114.8. The previous month’s confidence level, previously reported at 113.8, was revised up to 115.2. “Concerns about the state of the economy and short-term growth prospects deepened, while spending intentions for homes, autos, and major appliances all retreated again,” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at the Conference Board. September’s reading is the lowest level for the index since February. Consumer views of both the present situation and expectations for the near-term future dimmed. The share of consumers saying business conditions are good fell nine-tenths of a point to 19.3 percent. The share saying things are bad rose to 25.4 percent from 24.1 percent. The portion saying they expect improvement in business conditions six months...
    Data behind the White House's decision to approve COVID-19 vaccine boosters for all Americans show the effectiveness against infection declined over the summer for both the Pfizer-BioNTech and the Moderna shots. On Wednesday, health officials said adults over age 18 of either vaccine will be eligible to received a third dose eight months after their final shot starting the week of September 20.  Three studies, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the same day, looked at nursing homes, hospitals and individuals in New York - the nation's first epicenter of the pandemic. Researchers found that as the Indian 'Delta' variant became dominant, the vaccines protected against severe disease, hospitalization and death. However, against mild and moderate cases, the effectiveness of the inoculations fell to as low as 42 percent. At a press conference held on Wednesday, Biden administration officials said the data had them concerned that the decline of the vaccines' efficacy would only continue - and led to their decision on boosters.  CDC released studies behind the decision to make boosters shots available for...
    A bitcoin logo on a mobile phone.Omar Marques | SOPA Images, LightRocket | Getty Images The price of bitcoin dropped Thursday morning as investors broadly began shedding risk as equity markets declined. Fears of a slowing global economic comeback caused by the potential spread of the Covid-19 delta variant appeared to be behind investors move into safer assets like Treasuries. Bitcoin traded at $32,400 Thursday morning, about a 7% decrease in the previous 24 hours according to Coin Metrics. Most other cryptocurrency assets fell with it, including ether, which is trading 10.5% lower at about $2,100. That backslide came around the time of reports Japan has declared a state of emergency in Tokyo for the upcoming Olympics based on a potential rebound in Covid-19 cases. Stock futures fell lower on the news and companies that would benefit from an economic rebound fell in pre-market trading, including cruise lines, air carriers, Ford, Nike and even home retailers. The 10-year Treasury yield also fell to 1.25%. Bitcoin has struggled to reclaim its May highs. Its price has been hovering in the $30,000...
    A sale pending sign is posted in front of a home for sale on July 17, 2014 in San Francisco, California.Justin Sullivan | Getty Images The U.S. housing market is suffering from its lowest supply in history, and that is taking an increasingly hard toll on sales. Pending home sales, a measure of signed contracts on existing homes, fell a wider-than-expected 10.6% in February compared with January, according to the National Association of Realtors. Sales were 0.5% lower year over year. "The demand for a home purchase is widespread, multiple offers are prevalent, and days-on-market are swift," said NAR's chief economist, Lawrence Yun. "But contracts are not clicking due to record-low inventory."CNBC Real EstateRead CNBC's latest coverage of the housing market: Some landlords sell properties as CDC extends eviction ban Existing home sales fell sharply in February as supply dropped at a record pace The housing market stands at a tipping point There were just 1.03 million homes for sale at the end of February, a 29.5% drop compared with February 2020. That is the largest annual drop...
    A Sale Pending sign is seen in front of a home in Miami, Florida.Joe Raedle | Getty Images Potential homebuyers may be hitting the limit of what they can afford. Pending home sales, a measure of signed contracts on existing homes, fell 2.2% in September compared with August, according to the National Association of Realtors. It was the first monthly decline in 4 months. Analysts had expected a small monthly gain. Pending sales were 20.5% higher annually. The Northeast, which is seeing distinct urban flight from New York City amid the coronavirus pandemic, was the only region to post a gain. Sales were up 2% for the month and 27.7% annually. In the Midwest, pending sales fell 3.2% monthly but were up 18.5% from September 2019. Pending home sales in the South decreased 3% monthly and increased 19.6% annually. In the West sales fell 2.6% monthly and were up 19.3% from a year ago. "With persistent low mortgage rates and some degree of a continuing jobs recovery, more contract signings are expected in the near future," said...
    Stocks tumbled again on Wednesday as virus cases spread and European countries move toward imposing more restrictions. The U.S. financial markets were down across the board, with the Dow Jones industrial average sinking nearly 750 points as of mid-day, to just over 26,700. The S&P 500 fell 2.5% and the technology-heavy dropped more than 3%. Losses were even bigger in markets in Europe, where many are bracing for more lockdowns as hospitals began to fill with coronavirus patients.   "Today, markets will focus 100% of coronavirus inflection, which cuts only one way — to sell," said Jamie Cox, Managing Partner for Harris Financial Group about today's market sell-off, in an email to CBS MoneyWatch. Get Breaking News Delivered to Your Inbox Caution continues to hang over markets. Restrictions on businesses and other activities to help curb surging infections could choke off economic improvements seen since the summer. Fresh pandemic precautions are also drawing a public backlash despite spiking levels of illness in European countries. Policymakers in Europe "must choose between low unemployment or low COVID transmission rates. Unfortunately, they...
    NBC tests US Postal Service speeds before election but finds little sign of improvement Why Regional Supermarket Wegmans is the Best in the Country Mortgage demand falls nearly 5%, even as interest rates set another record low Total mortgage application volume fell 4.8% last week from the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Mortgage applications to purchase a home fell 2% for the week but were 22% higher than one year ago. © Provided by CNBC Real estate agents leave a home for sale during a broker open house in San Francisco, California. Despite another interest rate drop, demand for refinancing and purchasing mortgages fell last week, with total mortgage application volume down 4.8% from the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Load Error Record-low mortgage rates are apparently not as impressive as they used to be, likely because rates have been so low for so long. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances of up to $510,400 decreased to 3.05% from 3.10% last week, while points,...
    Kentucky grand jury indicts 1 of 3 officers in fatal Breonna Taylor police shooting 5 Major Changes Youll See At Dunkin Gold prices end at 2-month low as rise in U.S. dollar deflates bullion demand METALS STOCKS © AFP/Getty Images Gold prices on Wednesday fell below $1,900 an ounce, a psychologically important round number, to mark their lowest finish in two months as a strengthening dollar continued to undercut appetite for bullion, risking a further break in a bullish trend line in the precious commodity. Load Error “A rallying U.S. dollar index recently and a rebound in global stock markets at midweek are bearish elements for the precious metals markets,” wrote Jim Wyckoff, senior analyst at Kitco.com. Read: A rebounding U.S. dollar is crushing gold -- how far can it rise? “Silver has seen its near-term price uptrend…negated this week and gold is in serious danger of seeing its near-term uptrend ending,” the Kitco analyst wrote. December gold (GCZ20)(GC00) fell $39.20, or nearly 2.1%, to settle at $1,868.40, deepening its march to its...
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