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Economic Snapshot: Party like it’s 2007

By By Jonathan Sweet

The recovery may not be as robust as any of us would like, but we continue to creep back to those pre-recessionary days of yore.

The latest encouraging number is weekly unemployment claims, which dropped to 302,000 for last week. The four week-average, which is what is generally used as a more accurate measurement, is now 309,000 – the lowest level since it was 307,500 in June 2007.

Mixed housing news

Housing starts were a bit of good news/bad news this week. Most importantly, June starts were up 7.5 percent from 2013 to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 893,000. While the year-over-year number is the most important one, the numbers were down 9.3 percent from May’s 985,000 rate. Building permits – an important indicator of future building activity – were up 2.7 percent from June 2013, but down 4.2 percent from May.

Builders are feeling more confident this month than they were in June, though. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index was at 53 in July, up from 49 in June. Any number above 50 means more builders view conditions as good than poor.

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