Daily News 9/17/14

September 17, 2014

Wednesday – September 17

The Labor Department reported today that consumer prices pushed lower in August mainly due to a big drop in energy prices, which offset advances in food and shelter costs. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) fell by 0.2% last month, below the 0.0% that was expected and was the first decline since April 2013. When stripping out volatile food and energy, prices were unchanged and was the first unchanged reading since October 2010. CPI measures the average change over time in the prices paid by consumers for a market basket of consumer goods and services.

Home builder confidence in the newly built single home sector of the market, hit its highest level since November of 2005 in September. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported that its Housing Market Index rose by four points this month to 59, which was above the 56 that was expected and up from the 55 recorded in August. “Since early summer, builders in many markets across the nation have been reporting that buyer interest and traffic have picked up, which is a positive sign that the housing market is moving in the right direction,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.

Holiday season hiring is expected to hit the highest level this year since 1999, as reported by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. The busiest shopping season of the year is right around the corner as many retailers have already begun to display holiday scenes in their stores. Challenger estimates that retailers will add more than 800,000 seasonal jobs for the first time since 1999. In 2013, there were 786,200 workers added to the payrolls of retailers around the country. Yesterday, United Parcel Service reported that it will be adding twice as many seasonal drivers, to the tune of 95,000, than it did in 2013.