Economic Briefs by fanzhongqing


									                                                                   Economic Briefs
                                                                      Week November 11,
                                                                     Week of of January 14, 2005
Mood Swing: Consumer Sentiment Up
U.S. consumer sentiment rose more strongly than expected in early November as high gasoline prices started to fall.
The University of Michigan's index of consumer sentiment jumped to 79.9 in early November from 74.2 in October,
according to sources who saw the subscription-only report. The survey's index of current conditions spiked to 100.3
from 91.2 in October while the expectations component advanced to 66.8 from 63.2 last month.

Consumer Credit Declines In September
Credit-card borrowing and other kinds of consumer debt declined for the first time in 10 months in September,
reflecting in large part sagging auto sales. The Federal Reserve reported that total borrowing fell at an annual rate
of $59.4 million in September after having posted sizable increases of $7.91 billion in August, $9.96 billion in July
and $15.04 billion in June.

The three months before September had been driven by huge gains in auto loans as consumers responded to
attractive sales incentives. However, auto sales faltered in September as sales of sport utility vehicles declined under
the impact of soaring gasoline prices.

The Fed report showed that consumer credit declined at an annual rate of 0.03 percent in September after having
risen at a 4.4 percent rate in August. It was the first decline since a drop of 0.9 percent in November 2004. The
weakness in September came from a 2.8 percent drop at an annual rate in non-revolving loans, the category that
includes auto loans. This category had shown a 4.6 percent increase in August and an even larger 9.3 percent surge
in July.

The category of credit cards and other types of revolving debt showed a 4.7 rate of increase in September, the
biggest gain in three months. Analysts said this increase reflected in part heavier use of credit cards to pay for

Gas Prices Trickle Downward
The price of gasoline went down a penny Friday as it continues its slow decline after sharp spikes in September.
The nationwide average price for regular unleaded fell to $2.342 a gallon from $2.352 Thursday, according to
AAA's "Daily Fuel Gauge Report." The price is down 23 percent from the record high of $3.057 reached on Labor
Day, following Hurricane Katrina.

Gasoline prices, which have steadily posted declines of one to two cents per day recently, are down from $2.854 a
month ago but up from $1.981 a year ago, AAA says, a year-over-year increase of 18 percent.

Feds Say Gas Prices Will Keep Dropping
U.S. drivers found more savings at the pump in the latest week as the national retail price for gasoline fell below
$2.40 a gallon, and prices will continue to fall. The price for regular unleaded gasoline dropped 10.4 cents over the
last week to $2.38 a gallon, still up 38 cents from a year ago, according to the Energy Information Administration's
weekly survey of service stations. The pump price has fallen 69 cents since its record high of $3.07 a gallon in early
September after Hurricane Katrina disrupted gasoline production at Gulf Coast refineries.

Land Of Opportunity...For Imports
U.S. import prices unexpectedly fell 0.3 percent last month, their first decline since May, as petroleum costs eased.
Petroleum import costs slipped 4.4 percent in October but were still up 30.9 percent over the past year, which may
ease pressure on the Federal Reserve to keep hiking interest rates.
Stripping out petroleum, import prices rose 0.8 percent last month on a sharp increase in natural gas prices, Capital
goods prices fell 0.3 percent and consumer goods imports fell 0.1 percent. Automobile imports were unchanged.

Mortgage Applications Rise
The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity for the week
ended Nov. 4 increased 2.3 percent to 661.3. Borrowing costs on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, excluding fees,
averaged 6.31 percent last week, up 0.10 percentage point from the previous week's 6.21 percent. It was the highest
level since the week ended June 11, 2004 when the rate reached 6.34 percent.

The fixed 30-year mortgage rate, widely considered the industry benchmark, has climbed 0.84 of a percentage point
since late June, when it stood at its lowest level for 2005 at 5.47 percent, according to MBA data.

Wholesale Inventories Tighten In Sept.
Inventories at U.S. wholesalers tightened in September to the leanest level in 16 months as sales jumped 2.4% while
inventories climbed 0.6%. The inventory-to-sales ratio fell from 1.17 in August to 1.15 months in September, the
lowest since the record-low 1.14 in May 2004. The typical wholesaler had 35 days of sales on hand.

Jobless Claims Rise
The Labor Department reported 326,000 initial claims for the week ended Nov. 5, up from a revised 324,000 the
week prior. Economists had said 320,000 people would file for unemployment. There were about 15,000 new
jobless claims related to hurricanes Katrina and Rita last week, bringing the Gulf Coast storms' cumulative
unadjusted impact to 535,000 claims. Hurricane Wilma, which struck Florida late last month, triggered about 6,000
unadjusted claims last week for a running total of 7,400 claims since the storm hit.

UPS Adds To Holiday Hiring; Shipper Will Offer 982 Jobs This Year
UPS plans to sign up 982 seasonal workers in Louisville during the next few weeks, an increase of 122 over last
year's holiday hiring. The package-delivery service typically requires extra help between Thanksgiving and
Christmas, when holiday gift giving pushes shipping to its peak. Normally, UPS Worldport in Louisville -- the
company's main air hub -- handles about 1 million packages a day.

315 Jobs Could Be Lost In Wave Of Comair Cuts
Comair says 315 pilots and flight attendants could be laid off in the first wave of cuts as the regional airline tries to
restructure under bankruptcy. Most of the pilots and flight attendants are based at the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky
International Airport. In a notice required by Kentucky state law, Comair said Monday that the layoffs would take
place Jan. 2 and could include up to 150 pilots and 165 flight attendants. The job cuts are part of Delta Air Lines'
efforts to shrink its hub in Cincinnati, including a 26 percent cut in the flight schedule on Dec. 2.

                                      Governor’s Office for Economic Analysis

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