New home sales slide in October
WASHINGTON – New home sales dipped 0.3 percent in October, and the government revised down its figures for September in a report that threw some cold water on the recent signs of a strong housing rebound.
New single-family homes sold last month at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 368,000, down from a revised 369,000 rate in September, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.
The September figure was lowered from the initial 389,000 rate, which had represented a 5.7 percent jump from August and the highest rate since April 2010.
The revised figure means new home sales increased just 0.8 percent in September.
The October data came in below analyst expectations, but the monthly figures can be volatile. The overall trends are still positive, and new homes sales last month were up 17.2 percent from a year earlier.
The median sales price also dropped last month, to $237,700 from $248,000 in September. The October sales price was up 5.7 percent from a year earlier.
Motorists set to pay record sum on gas
The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in the U.S. this year never reached the highs seen in 2008, when the all-time record of $4.114 was reached. The 2012 average never even climbed as high as it was last year, when it hit $3.965, according to the Energy Department.
But fuel prices have been so consistently high in 2012 that American motorists are on pace to spend more on gasoline this year – $483 billion, or $1.32 billion a day – than they ever have before, according to the Oil Price Information Service in New Jersey.
That would break the old record for the amount of money spent by Americans on gasoline, set last year, by about $12 billion. That’s in spite of the fact that the U.S. average topped out this year at $3.941 a gallon back in April.
Unemployment rate drops in large cities
WASHINGTON – Unemployment rates declined last month in more than half of the 372 largest U.S. cities, further evidence of steady improvement in the job market.
The Labor Department said Wednesday that rates fell in 201 metro areas. They rose in 116 and were unchanged in 55. And the number of cities with unemployment below 7 percent rose to 180 last month, up from 107 a year ago.
Nationwide, the unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent in September.