The ageing of Americans’ things

December 3, 2013

Bloomberg’s Michelle Jamrisko reports that the Americans are holding onto things like appliances and furniture for longer periods of time. The average age of consumer durable goods — a category that also includes items such as cars, electronics, and jewelry —  is 4.6 years, as tracked by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Jamrisko notes this is the highest its been since 1962. The average age of jewelry and watches was 5.3 years, the highest since 1942.

Charting America’s Afghanistan withdrawal and troop fatalities

November 27, 2013

The US is considering a complete troop withdrawal in Afghanistan in 2014 if the country’s president, Hamid Karzai, refuses to sign a security deal. Without the deal, National Security Advisor Susan Rice said that the US will have no choice but to pull out all troops by next year, Reuters reports. While the US has been drawing down its presence in Afghanistan since 2011, it still has almost 50,000 troops in the country:

Jobless claims fall, but so does manufacturing

November 27, 2013

Another hopeful sign for the job market: new jobless claims fell by 10,000 jobs to 316,000, according to Department of Labor data released today. Reuters’ Lucia Mukitani notes that, “the four-week moving average for new claims, which irons out week-to-week volatility, slipped 7,500 to 331,750.”

The US housing market in charts: Case-Shiller and home permits

November 26, 2013

US home prices rose 0.7% in September and are up 13.3% over the same period last year, according to new data from the S&P Case-Shiller index. The index, which measures single-family home prices in twenty metro areas, showed the highest year-over-year gain since February 2006, Reuters reports.

Mapping Iran’s nuclear facilities

November 25, 2013

On Sunday, Iran and the United States, along with the China, France, Germany, and Russia reached agreement to curtail Iran’s nuclear program, Reuters’ Parisa Hafezi and Justyna Pawlak report. Reuters maps out the locations of Iran’s nuclear facilities and charts the growth in the size of the country’s nuclear program since 2007:

Four charts from the most important jobs report you aren’t following

November 22, 2013

The most important jobs report you’ve probably never heard of was released this morning by the BLS. The “Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey” demands your attention if only for its acronym, JOLTS. Janet Yellen pays close attention to it, and with good reason.

German economy switches gears, domestic growth leads the way

November 22, 2013

Reuters’ Michelle Martin reports that German GDP grew 0.3% in the third quarter, thanks to some welcome domestic growth. Here’s Reuters’ chart of recent German GDP growth and its components:

Why the Democrats voted to change the filibuster rules

November 22, 2013

Yesterday, the Senate voted to change the rule on filibusters, which the minority party can use to block votes from happening. The use of the filibuster by the Republican minority finally spurred Senate Democrats to use what they had been calling the “nuclear option” — voting the filibuster out of existence (supporters of filibuster reform have long called it the “Constitutional option”). “The now-defunct rule, a symbol of Washington gridlock, has survived dozens of attacks over the years largely because both major political parties like to use it,” Reuters writes.

Fewer Americans are getting laid off, but not enough are getting hired

November 21, 2013

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits is at a two-month low, data released by the Labor Department this morning shows.  From the report:

The Big 3’s SUV market visualized

November 21, 2013

Full-size trucks and SUVS are the single-largest component of the profits at General Motors, Chrysler, and Ford, auto analyst Michael Ward tells Reuters. Here’s more: