More Men Left Out of Jobs Recovery

While the economy has replaced the jobs lost in the recession, not all members of society have reaped the benefits. According to Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), American men are still 582,000 jobs shy of their pre-recession employment peak.
IWPR said that American women recovered their pre-recession peak employment numbers by September of last year, but men have yet to catch up. Worse, they are continuing to fall behind:
Of the 288,000 jobs gained during June of this year, women gained 158,000 jobs, while men only gained 130,000.
IWPR – citing survey data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics – said that among workers aged 16 and older, 5.9% of women were unemployed in June. For men, the unemployment rate was 6.3%.
While continued strong employment growth should “lift all boats” it is disturbing to see this gender discrepancy in the distribution of jobs. Ideally, no one should be left behind, but clearly some are, and they are disproportionately men.
Work needs to be done to understand why this is, and what can be done about it.

Copyright Today’s Credit Unions

Link:

http://www.iwpr.org

Foreclosures Still Too High

A new report from CoreLogic shows that foreclosures were down in May from a year before, up from the month before, and still at twice the rates seen before the recession.
According to CoreLogic’s May National Foreclosure Report, there were 47,000 completed foreclosures nationally during May. That’s down 9.4% from May 2013, when there were 52,000, but 3.8% higher than the roughly 45,000 recorded in April 2014.
The term “completed foreclosures” refers to a process that has resulted in a homeowner actually losing a home. Many homes are at some stage of foreclosure in a given month, but homeowners often pull their homes out of foreclosure by catching up on their mortgage payments, or getting their lenders to agree to a short sale, among other things. Only when the homeowner loses the home can the foreclosure process be recorded as completed.
While foreclosures are certainly down from their worst post-recession levels, they are still far more common than during the pre-housing market collapse years. For instance, from 2000 and 2006 there was an average of 21,000 completed foreclosures nationwide each month.
These statistics show that, while housing markets across the country had a robust recovery last year, there is still a way to go before we declare housing and real estate as being “back to normal.”

Copyright Today’s Credit Unions

Link:
www.corelogic.com.

Are Business Executives Really Calling for Higher Taxes on the Rich?

A new Harris poll finds that U.S. business executives overwhelmingly believe that economic inequality is a problem that government policy should address, with 56% of them in favor of higher taxes on people earning incomes of $1,000,000 per year.
While many Americans perceive business executives as the least likely group to be concerned about economic inequality – and even less likely to call for higher taxes on top wage earners – Harris has found the opposite to be the case.
For instance, the poll found that business executives were more likely than the general population to perceive inequality as a problem for our society (88% vs. 79%), but less likely to view it as a major problem (44% vs. 54%).
However, the overwhelming majority of business executives polled (81%) do see inequality as a political issue, and 73% of them believe it’s important that the government introduce policies to reduce it.
When Harris asked the executives what they felt were the causes of economic inequality, their answers contained yet more surprises for those who view business leaders as hard-nosed — and perhaps out of touch with the less advantaged.
Some of their top answers were fairly predictable: most executives identified some of the major causes of inequality to be the loss of manufacturing jobs to China, India and other low cost countries (87%); and the failure of the public school systems to educate many people (85%).
However, large majorities also felt that the causes included the tax system (84% execs); the influence of big business on government policies (81%); the influence of very rich people on government policy (81%) and the globalization of the world economy (81%).
When asked for ways to fix the tax system, 56% of executives polled expressed the opinion that taxes were too low currently for people with incomes of $1,000,000 per year. A full 63% of them felt that taxes were too low for billionaires, and 61% of execs felt that taxes were too high for the middle class.
Surprisingly, a bigger percentage of executives polled (76%) felt that increasing taxes on the very rich would be fair than was the case among the general population (70%).
What should we make of these findings? They certainly dispel the myth that U.S. business executives are hard hard-hearted and simply pursuing self-interest in their views on public policy. Many of these executives were in favor of raising their own taxes, for instance, and felt that big business has an undue influence on government.
Encouragingly, majorities of executives polled now see economic inequality as a problem, and are in favor of fixes that don’t necessarily serve their own short-term interests. With recent polls showing record distrust in government’s ability to solve our problems, it’s good to see that so many of our business leaders are paying attention, and looking for solutions.

Copyright Today’s Credit Unions

Link:

http://www.harrisinteractive.com

Job Trends Remain Positive in June

Last week, the Bureau of Labor statistics released a strong employment report for June. This week, a report that serves as a “look ahead” at hiring trends also came in with a strong reading.
The Conference Board said that its Employment Trends Index (ETI) for June was up from May’s reading, and represented a 6.3% gain versus June 2013.
According to the Board, June’s increase was driven by positive contributions from such factors as the Percentage of Firms With Positions Not Able to Fill Right Now, Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales, Industrial Production, Number of Temporary Employees, Percentage of Respondents Who Say They Find “Jobs Hard to Get,” Job Openings, and Ratio of Involuntarily Part-time to All Part-time Workers.
These are all “leading indicators” of where employment is headed in the near future. The Board said that seven of the eight factors it measures increased during June.
What this means is that we could be seeing some strong jobs numbers in the months ahead. Given the very good performance posted in June, that could well result in unemployment and labor participation rates not seen since the “good old days” before the recession.
More importantly, a several months of better-than-expected jobs reports could signal a strong – and durable – economic recovery.

Copyright Today’s Credit Unions

Link:

http://www.conference-board.org

Prepare for Your Summer Trip

The summer vacation driving season is underway, and many Americans will find themselves having car troubles far from home. Your friendly insurance company wants you to be prepared.
The Hanover Insurance Group is offering tips for ensuring that you are covered in the event of a vacation mishap. But we’ll start by offering advice on how to avoid having those mishaps in the first place.
When it comes to auto breakdown on long summer trips, heat is probably the most common factor. Loading up your vehicle for a trip, then heading out into hot weather puts a lot of stress on a range of vehicle systems.
The most obvious point of heat-related failure is the cooling system. Inadequate coolant, dodgy thermostats and old hoses and belts are often the things that break on long trips. Be sure to have these items checked and serviced before you head out.
But heat also affects other systems, such as your brakes and tires. Brake pads that have worn thin can get dangerously overheated during summer vacation driving. Also, tires that are improperly inflated can fail when subjected to hours of high-speed use on a hot day.
One good way to avoid trouble is to be careful how – and how much – you load your vehicle. Before throwing in beach gear and summer clothes, remove anything that’s not necessary to your safe and enjoyable vacation. Also, be careful how you load the vehicle: loading too much in the rear or on top of a vehicle can cause handling and braking problems.
Bad things can still happen to your car, no matter how well prepared you are. So, review your auto insurance ahead of your trip. Hanover suggests that you consider trip interruption coverage, to reimburse certain expenses if you are involved in a covered accident far from home.
Also, be sure the policy has enough coverage against liability, personal injury and damage. Usually, states require minimum amounts of these coverages and they are, well, minimal. Do you need supplemental medical coverage? To answer that, you should check both your auto and health insurance policies.
Hanover also cautions that you make sure that any recreational vehicles you bring are covered. Standard auto or homeowners policies usually don’t cover popular tow-behind toys such as jet skis, boats, ATVs etc.
Another good insurance tip is to buy an “umbrella” policy that protects against legal judgments that exceed the protection offered by a standard auto policy. As Hanover points out, $1 million in added coverage often can be purchased for a few hundred dollars.
Take a few hours to check these things off your list before you are scrambling to pack the car for your trip. A little work now can prevent a ruined vacation, or worse.

Copyright Today’s Credit Unions

Link:
www.hanover.com

How Good Was the June Jobs Report?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has released its employment report for June, and the numbers are mighty impressive. Is it time to break out the bubbly, and declare that a full economic recovery is finally underway? Or should we curb our enthusiasm just a bit?
BLS’ headline numbers were spectacular: total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 288,000 in June, while the unemployment rate declined to 6.1%. These weren’t just good numbers; they we’ve been needing to see consistently in this lengthy post-recession recovery.
Not only were the totals impressive, but a breakdown of the data reveals a broad-based surge in hiring during June: professional services, manufacturing, retail and financial services all saw nice gains in hiring. The construction industry was the big gainer – a fact that signals a healthy recovery in real estate.
The Washington Post – citing a recent Gallup poll – points out that 45% of Americans reported being employed full-time in June. This the highest number seen since the polling firm began tracking this figure in 2010.
It is hard to poke holes this BLS report, or to be anything less than excited by the accelerating recovery that these jobs numbers seem to indicate. Yes, it is that good.
About the only cautionary note we’d sound is to wait through a few more monthly reports before declaring the hard times to be over. Recent data suggests that the economy actually contracted earlier this year – a victim of the harsh winter weather.
Last winter slowed retail sales, auto sales, and consumer confidence — and put the brakes on what had been a strong real estate recovery in 2013. What we’re perhaps seeing in the June data is the result of pent up demand for labor, as hiring plans put on hold for months are finally brought into being. Perhaps.
On the other hand, this could well be the signal of strong recovery that we’ve all been waiting five years to see. Let’s hope this is what the June BLS numbers are telling us, and what future reports will continue to tell. We’ll certainly know if that’s the case by the fall.

Copyright Today’s Credit Unions

Link:
www.bls.gov/cps

Exports are Running 45.7% Ahead of 2009 Levels

As Washington factions argue over whether to continue funding the Export-Import Bank, it’s useful to note that U.S. exports are running at a good clip, and are way ahead of the paltry levels seen right after the recession.
According to the U.S. Commerce Department, the United States exported $195.5 billion of goods and services in May 2014. Over the past 12 months, the value of U.S. exports of goods and services totaled $2.3 trillion.
Commerce said this 45.7% above 2009’s level of exports.
This is all great news, but is it a good reason to continue funding the Ex-Im Bank, which was set up to fill gaps in private export financing?
Ex-Im said it approved more than $27 billion in total authorizations to support an estimated $37.4 billion in U.S. export sales during fiscal 2012. They claim that this supported 205,000 American jobs.
Critics of the bank don’t really argue against those figures, but say that the government should not be involved in backing loans extended to fund exporting deals. They say that the private sector should perform this task.
The bank argues that private lenders often turn down small businesses that seek loans to fund export deals in the pipeline. Critics then counter that most of Ex-Im’s funding volume supports big exporters like Boeing or Caterpillar.
From the data available it is clear that there are merits to both sides of the argument. Right now, things are fine since the global economy is running strong, and few of these export loans are in default. But if the economy were to turn sour fast, U.S. taxpayers could be on the hook for “backstopping” some of this lending.
Supporters of the bank point out that many of these export deals have only gone through because of this backstopping, and that the economic benefits to the U.S. exceed the potential risks of loan defaults in a recession.
Whichever side wins this argument, what’s clear is that – for now – the U.S. economy is benefitting from the steady growth of exports that has occurred during the past five years.

Copyright Today’s Credit Unions

Which Cities Have More Pet-Friendly Rentals?

Online real estate firm Realtor.com said it has tallied user data from its mobile application for rentals, and discovered some interesting things about where its users are searching most, and which cities have the most pet-friendly rental listings.
The company said that Chicago is the big winner in both categories. The Windy City ranked #1 in terms of user searches, #2 in total inventory (3,544) and a big #1 in its percentage of pet-friendly rental listings (49%).
Las Vegas beat Chicago in total inventory (4,497) but only a scant 4% of rental listings from that city were deemed pet-friendly.
Other cities in the top 10 included Atlanta, Dallas, Orlando, Los Angele, Houston, Miami, Charlotte and Jacksonville. No one came close to Chicago’s pet-friendliness, with the #2 city in that category (Dallas) boasting only 28% pet-friendly listings.
Realtor.com said that its rental app is available for iOS and Android, and makes a handy tool for finding rentals in a number of cities.
It’s a good thing that the app finds pet-friendly listings, since this is an aspect of renting that can be very frustrating, expensive (or both) for renters. If you are looking to rent, don’t take it as a given that your potential landlord will be OK with you having a pet. Some will, some won’t and some will simply charge you more as security deposit.
So, make sure you get that detail sorted out before you sign any lease, or plan any moves.

Copyright Today’s Credit Unions

Pet Friendly Rentals, Rental Apps

More People Are Choosing Expensive Vehicles

People are paying more for vehicles these days, according to vehicle pricing guide Kelley Blue Book.
KBB said that estimated average transaction price (ATP) for light vehicles during June was $32,342, which is up from June 2013.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that vehicles are getting more expensive, only that people are spending more per given vehicle. For instance, automakers’ total sales include a higher percentage of upscale models. Also, people are choosing to include more optional equipment on a given model.
However, vehicle prices have risen as well: KBB said that new-car prices are up $454 (or 1.4%) versus June 2013. They rose $113 (0.4%) just since last month.
So, a combination of factors results in the higher average transaction prices.
Among automakers, General Motors posted a 5.4% year-over-year gain in average transaction price – largely due to increased sales of pricey trucks and SUVs. Meanwhile, Nissan saw a 1% decrease in its average transaction price, due to the Japanese company getting more of its mix of sales from its economy car lines.
KBB said this happened despite Nissan’s new vehicle sales numbers going up from 2013 to 2014.
Overall, this is shaping up to be a warm summer for auto sales, and prices are up. Things may slow down a bit later in the year, so if you’re in the market you may find the best deals after the summer heat is off.

Copyright Today’s Credit Unions

Link:

http://www.kbb.com

Credit Card Rates Inch Higher

For the first time in two months the average interest rates on new credit card offers moved higher last week. This according to online credit card marketplace CreditCards.com, who publish a weekly survey of rates offered to U.S. consumers.

The average rate for all credit card offers surveyed by CreditCards.com last week was 15.02%. This was up from 15.01% the week before but still down from the 15.06% measured six months ago.

Among the different types of cards on offer, only Airline cards (15.38%, up from 15.30% the week before) and Reward cards (14.98%, up from 14.97%) showed any real movement.

A range of card offers were unchanged from the previous week, including Low Interest (10.37%), Balance Transfer (12.64%), Business (12.80%), Student (13.27%), Cash Back (14.91%), Instant Approval (28%) and Bad Credit (22.73%) card offers.

CreditCards.com said its weekly credit card rate survey looks at 100 of the most popular credit cards in the country.

 

Copyright Today’s Credit Unions

 

Link:

www.creditcards.com