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The Economy

July 21, 2014 | Weekly Commentary

US Initial Jobless Claims for state unemployment benefits decreased to 302,000 in the week ending July 12, 2014.  This was an improvement over the previous week of 305,000 and this recent trend supports employment growth.  The New York Empire State Manufacturing index rose to 25.60 in July from 19.28 in June, while the Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index increased to 23.90 from 17.80.

Housing continues to lag as US Building Permits dropped to 963K in June from 1005K in May.  MBA Mortgage Applications, which includes both refinancing and home purchase demand, decreased 3.60% in the week ended July 12th.

Oil and gas prices have been dropping over the last few weeks which should help support discretionary consumer spending.  Rates in the developed world have decreased this year making housing and borrowing more affordable.  These are normally important factors for the health and strength of the consumer.

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