Snippets of good news across the board today

U.S. manufacturing activity expanded in January, the Institute for Supply Management. reported today.
ISM’s manufacturing purchasing-managers index rose to 53.1 in January from 50.2 in December. A reading above 50 shows expanding activity.
The ISM revised its historical data on Jan. 28 to reflect new seasonal factors.The top-line December purchasing-managers index was originally reported as 50.7.
The production index rose to 53.6 in January from 52.6 the previous month. New orders improved to 53.3 from 49.7 in December.
Commodities rising in price (trend months in parenthesis) were: aluminum products (4); benzene (2); caustic soda (6); copper; copper based products; corrugated boxes/packaging (6); high-density polyethylene; lumber; oil; polyethylene terephthalate bottles; polypropylene (3); polystyrene; stainless steel sheet; steel — cold rolled (2); and vitamins.
Commodities dropping in price were: Steel (11); sugar (2); titanium dioxide (2); and wheat.

Residential real estate analytics firm CoreLogic said U.S. foreclosures dropped 21 percent year-over-year in December.
In a report released today, the Irvine, Calif., firm said there were 56,000 completed foreclosures during December, down from 71,000 in December 2011.
There were 58,000 foreclosures completed in November 2012.
During 2012, Oregon saw 7,263 foreclosures completed, including 84 in December.
Prior to the real estate bubble bursting in 2007, there were an average of 21,000 foreclosures per month between 2000 and 2006. Completed foreclosures are an indication of the total number of homes actually lost to foreclosure.
Since the financial crisis began in September 2008, there have been approximately 4.1 million completed foreclosures across the country.
CoreLogic said approximately 1.2 million homes were in the national foreclosure inventory as of December 2012 a 19.5 percent drop from the 1.5 million in December 201.
The five states with the highest number — and almost half — of completed foreclosures for the 12 months ending in December were: California (100,000), Florida (98,000), Michigan (74,000), Texas (57,000) and Georgia (49,000).These five states account for almost half of all completed foreclosures nationally.
The: District of Columbia (89), Hawaii (421), North Dakota (521), Maine (537) and West Virginia (645) had the fewest foreclosures.

Temporary hiring, an indicator of future employment trends, was 5.1 percent higher in January than a year earlier.
The American Staffing Association reported the temporary help industry has added an average of 10,400 per month to the economy over the past 12 months.

Construction employment hit a three-year high in January, according to the Associated General Contractors of America. Construction firms employed 5.731 million people in January, a gain of 28,000 from December and 102,000 or 1.8 percent from a year ago.

More truckers were hired in January, according to the Labor Department.

Fast Company writer Jeff Katz says retailers will follow in the airline industry’s entrails

Buffett adds News & Record in Greensboro, S.C., to Berkshire Hathaway’s BH Media Group holdings.

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    Greg Stiles

    Covering the Southern Oregon business and economy since 2001. Read Full
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