Saturday, February 7, 2015

Jobs number surprises; construction spending rose; the week ahead …

The 257,000 added jobs exceeded consensus expectations of 235,000, and November and December data were revised upward by a total of 147,000.

Construction spending rose 0.4% in December.

At $46.6 billion, the U.S. trade deficit increased $6.8 billion from November's revised figure.

To read more, click here.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Fed to remain patient; GDP misses mark; the week ahead …

Fed chief Janet Yellen said the central bank won’t raise interest rates until at least June.

Growth in GDP, the value of all goods and services when adjusted for inflation, decelerated to 2.6%, according to the Commerce Department.

The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index jumped to 102.9 in January, eclipsing economists' forecasts and reaching its highest level since August 2007.

To read more, click here.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

ECB makes bold move; existing-home sales disappoint; the week ahead …

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said Thursday that the central bank plans to purchase more than $1 trillion in private and government bonds by the fall of 2016 to help stimulate the euro-zone economy.

Housing starts jumped 4.4% in December, but sales of previously owned homes failed to meet analysts’ expectations.

And leading economic indicators rose 0.5% in December — the 15th gain in 17 months.  

To read more, click here.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Will Social Security Come After Your Retirement Benefits?

Are you one of the 300,000 Americans who owe the Social Security Administration money for excess payments received? The Administration is looking to collect more than $700 million, some of it due to overpayments people received when children.

For instance, your parent may have died while you were a minor, and you were eligible for survivor's benefits. But if there was an overpayment made on your behalf, you could be on the hook for the money years later, as an adult.

Also, if you were disabled as a child, you might have received overpayments. Those overpayments would typically be taken out of current payments, once they are discovered. But if disability payments were discontinued because your condition improved, Social Security could try to collect the overpayments years later.

To speed up collections, in 2008 Social Security was given the authority to seize your Federal income tax refunds. But this year they’re cutting you a break in that the Administration has temporarily stopped that policy.

However, that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook ...

The debts won't go away. Just like an elephant, the Administration never forgets. When you start receiving retirement benefits, Social Security can deduct the debts from your payments.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Economy grows; CPI tumbles; the week ahead …

In its monthly Beige Book, the Federal Reserve reported that economic growth from mid-November through late December was modest to moderate.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) in December dropped 0.4%, seasonally adjusted, over the previous month, the Labor Department reported.

Retail sales declined 0.9% from November. A 6.5% drop in gasoline station sales contributed to the drag.

To read more, click here.