August Existing Home Sales, Retail hiring, Gas Prices

September 21, 2015

Monday – September 21

The National Association of REALTORS┬« reported on Monday that August Existing Home sales declined 4.8% from July to an annual rate of 5.31 million, below the 5.50 million expected. The drop comes after three straight monthly gains. Despite the decline in August, sales have risen year-over-year for 11 consecutive months and are 6.2% above a year ago. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist said, “Sales activity was down in many parts of the country last month, especially in the South and West as the persistent summer theme of tight inventory levels likely deterred some buyers.” Existing Home Sales are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops.

In a sign that the holiday shopping season is just around the corner, department store chain Macy’s announced that the company will be hiring 85,000 temporary workers for 2015 holiday season. The number is slightly lower from last year’s 85,000 though this year Macy’s will assign more of the workers to its online e-commerce support team. Walmart and Target will hire the same amount of temporary workers as last year, 60,000 and 70,000 respectively. ShopperTrak is forecasting that holiday sales will rise 2.4% from last year.

Gas prices continue to edge lower at the pumps as the summer driving season has come to an end and demand eases. The national average price for a regular gallon of gas is $2.28, down from the $2.63 from a month ago and well below year-ago levels of $3.34. In parts of New Jersey, the price can be seen at $1.81, while GasBuddy said that it believes that the national average price could fall below $2 sooner than expected. Motorists are currently saving $15-$25 on a full tank of gas compared to this time last year.