Monthly Archives: August 2014

IRS Again Warns of Phone Scams 8/15/14

We have included this story before but the IRS has repeated their warning about these types of scams.  The number of incidents continue to mount as taxpayers report of unsolicited phone calls from individuals claiming to be IRS agents.   During these calls taxpayers are threatened and told that they must provide immediate payment for taxes owed.  These scams may also include somebody pretending to be a law enforcement official “verifying” the IRS agent’s claim.  Please remember that the IRS will never initiate contact over the phone or email and nor will they demand immediate payment.  The first correspondence will always be through mail.  When in doubt write down the name and badge number of the agent and call the IRS office directly. Continue reading

Banks eased lending requirements and loan demand shows signs of growth 8/8/14

The Federal Reserve reported that Banks in the U.S. eased lending requirements amid a widespread increase in demand during the second quarter. The central bank surveyed 75 domestic banks and 23 U.S. units of foreign banks from July 1 to July 15.  Even with the lending increases, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said tight credit has caused the housing recovery to be slow. “It is difficult for any homeowner who doesn’t have pristine credit these days to get a mortgage,” she said.  In its Beige Book report, the Fed said in July that loan demand increased across the U.S., with lenders easing terms for “well-qualified commercial and industrial borrowers,” and competition in Philadelphia and Chicago regions prompting “some financial institutions to take on higher credit risks.”  We have discussed lending as one of the key catalysts for U.S. economic growth and these results look promising for higher GDP growth during the remainder of the year and into 2015. Continue reading

8/1/14 – U.S. Adds 209,000 Jobs in July

U.S. employers added 209,000 jobs in July, which marked the sixth straight month where employers added at least 200,000 jobs. This was, however, less than the consensus estimates from various economists, who predicted the U.S. would add 233,000 jobs last month. The unemployment rate inched up to 6.2% from 6.1% the prior month.  Economists had predicted it would remain at 6.1%.  Job gains in the latest month occurred in professional and business services, as well as manufacturing, retail trade and construction. The number of long-term unemployed, defined as those jobless for 27 weeks or longer, was essentially unchanged at 3.2 million (or about 1/3 of the unemployed).  As we have discussed for over two years now, we need to see several months of job growth around 200,000 to really see a significant improvement in unemployment and wage growth.  It appears that we are on the right track. Continue reading