This week's economic news commentary has been dominated by the "what ifs" of a government shutdown; opinions of potential consequences are limited only by the number of commentators sharing their opinions. Unfortunately, more concrete examples of the shutdown were evident last Tuesday and Friday. The Department of Commerce delayed release of August's Construction Spending report that were due last Tuesday and The Bureau of Labor Statistics delayed the release of September's Non-farm Payroll and Unemployment that were due last Friday.
Last week wasn't kind to stock market investors, but weekly jobless claims fell to an unexpected low of 320,000 new jobless claims filed was its lowest level in nearly six years. Average mortgage rates were mixed, but inched upward.
Highlights of economic news from last week, include a survey of senior loan officers from U.S. and foreign banks doing business in the U.S. indicated that banks were gradually easing lending standards for business and consumer loans, but viewed lending criteria for home loans as more restrictive than other types of loans.
The past week brought encouraging economic news from several sources. The FOMC statement indicated that the Federal Reserve has not set a date for rolling back its quantitative easing program and ADP reported more private sector jobs added than expected.
The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index (HPI) released Tuesday presented solid evidence that the housing recovery continued during May.