Like one last phone call at the office after a slow work-week and before a three day weekend, no worthwhile economic news was reported until Thursday. Sure, several of the world’s financial leaders gave speeches that would keep the worst Intro to Art 101 student awake; they were much less interesting than Kimye’s denial for a Versailles wedding.
So . . . . .
On Thursday, things got creepier than a Michael Jackson hologram when the Labor Department reported that initial jobless claims for the week ended May 17th increased 28,000 to a seasonally adjusted 326,000. This erased the previous week’s drop in claims like a premature cyclist celebration erases a winning lead. Thursday’s economic news grew even more offensive than a Macklemore costume when the Chicago Fed’s national activity index for April was reported to have fallen to -0.32 from a positive 0.34 in March. Because January’s numbers sucked at -0.39, the three-month average through April rose to 0.19. So, there’s your silver lining (playbook).
In more good economic news, the National Association of Realtors reported that, like Tony Hawk to a Mini Cooper, April’s existing home sales increased 1.3 percent. This puts the annual rate at 4.65 million units. An existing homes glut is forming, as unsold homes on the market increased 6.5 percent year-over-year and median home values slowed to a pace not seen since March 2012.
Thursday came to a positive close when good news was reported about our shining star of the economy (likely surrounded by inhabited exo-planets). Per Markit’s purchasing managers index manufacturing increased to a three-month high of 56.2 in May from 55.4 in April. Anything above 50 suggests economic expansion.
On Friday, the Census Bureau confirmed April new home sales increased 6.4 percent, or a seasonally adjust 334,000. March’s numbers were revised up 384,000.
With their article on education in America this week, the Times finally caught onto our story about college presidents making money hand over fist even while college tuition increases faster. While it takes time for this to become a larger part of the national dialogue, here are nine ways to beat the trend, or you can buy this.
Coming in second, but still beating inflation, is basic cable. It was reported by the Federal Communications Commission this week that basic cable increased 6.5 percent in the 12 months ended January 1, 2013. So, while you pay more to sit on your couch and watch Wal-Mart commercials know that, like the stock market, Wal-Mart sees you as its biggest inhibitor to growth.
Get it? Because you think you already put more money on your credit card than you can afford, you’re the problem. Have no fear, though. Much like a sly baseball fan with two balls to a pretty girl, 2014 will again be the recovery summer. While today’s economy is as much “Job #1” as it was during the Obama-McCain presidential race, it has yet to receive the attention it deserves.
Keep on being #moneyconscious, though, and have yourself a frugally fun holiday weekend. One of the ways to secure a comfortable, roommate-free retirement is to avoid credit cards and save a little bit of money from each paycheck. While being debt free is not the same as being “rich”, it’s a pretty damn good feeling.
That’s some of the economic and personal finance news we think is worth your time. Come back every Friday for the Debt Free Guys’ #MoneyConscious Mash Up for a fun read of the week’s money news.