Finance Globe

U.S. financial and economic topics from several finance writers.

FTC: Latest Scam "Free Money from the Government

Con artists have no qualms about taking advantage of people during hard times. You may have heard or seen ads that promise the government has free money to help you pay your bills, but the Federal Trade Commission warns consumers that it is a scam:"There is currently money available NOW right here in your area, to help pay your bills.""NO lines, NO waiting, NO credit needed. This is YOUR money and will be sent back to...
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Census Bureau: 2010 Employers Declined Less Than Year Before

The total number of employers fell in the U.S. in 2010 for the third consecutive year in a row - but at a slower pace than earlier years, according to a government report released on Tuesday.There were 7.4 million U.S. businesses with paid employees in 2010 - a decline of 36,800 establishments from the year before, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. From 2008 to 2009 there was a decline of 168,000 establishments.In 2010, total employment...
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NAHB: Student Loan Crisis Induced by Housing Crisis

Lower home values are contributing to the student loan crisis as parents can’t get the funding to help their kids through college, according to a report released by the National Association of Home Builders.“The rising student loan debt problem is another consequence of the housing downturn,” said NAHB Chairman Barry Rutenberg. “As more and more parents face tighter budget restraints as a result of lower home values, this is forcing an increasing number of students to...
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Economic Reports Point to Slowing Recovery

Key reports released this week point to the economy losing steam. Consumers are nervous about the economy despite the recent drop in fuel prices. Only 22 percent of people surveyed felt the economy was heading in the right direction in June - the lowest percentage in five months, according a Bloomberg consumer poll.“The steady drip of dreary economic data and deteriorating labor market is reshaping public expectations,” said Bloomberg LP senior economist Joseph Brusuelas in New...
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U.S. Existing Home Sales Increase 10% Over the Year

Sales of existing homes rose in April in all regions of the U.S. and were 10% above the level from a year ago, the National Association of Realtors reported on Tuesday. Home prices also continued to rise, and the national median home price of $177,400 was 10.1% higher than it was a year ago.Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the housing recovery is underway. “It is no longer just the investors who are taking advantage of...
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Unemployment Rate Fell Over-the-Year in Most Metros

Unemployment rates in most cities across the U.S. generally improved over the year and the national jobless rate fell by one percentage point, according to a government report released on Friday.From January 2011 through January 2012, the jobless rate fell in 345 out of the 372 metropolitan areas surveyed, while it increased in 16 areas and stayed the same in 11 areas, the Bureau of Labor Statistic said in its monthly report.The national unemployment unemployment rate...
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Government Halts Another Mortgage Relief Scam

Another so-called mortgage debt relief company preying on unsuspecting homeowners in two related scams has been halted by the federal government. Putting a new twist on an old trick, the alleged scam operation lured homeowners into filing so-called “mass joinder” lawsuits against their lenders with false promises of debt forgiveness, halting and reversing foreclosure, credit restoration, and even compensatory and punitive damage awards, the Federal Trade Commission reported on Thursday.Mortgage relief scams have been quite prevalent...
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IRS: Over $1 Billion Owed to 1 Million Taxpayers for 2008

While your working on your taxes over the next few months, it may be a good idea to check and be sure that you filed your 2008 tax return. The Internal Revenue Service announced on Thursday that it has over one billion dollars in unclaimed tax refunds for the tax year 2008, and says the deadline for claiming these forgotten funds is April 17, 2012. (This year’s tax deadline is two days later than usual because...
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Housing Market Looking Up

The housing recovery has been slow and the small progress has often been hampered by a step or two backwards. But overall, industry experts generally speak positively about the direction of the real estate market.Last month, new home sales last month dipped 0.9% from December’s revised figures, but remain 3.5% above levels from January 2011, the National Association of Home Builders reported on Friday. Also, the inventory of new homes for sale continued to drop to...
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Pending Homes Sale Slip 3.5% in December

Pending home sales slipped 3.5% in December after reaching a 19-month high, but were 5.6% above levels from the same month in 2010, the National Association of Realtors reported on Wednesday. Pending home sales are contracts that have not yet gone to closing, and are a good indicator of sales to be completed within the next one to two months. The Pending Home Sales Index fell from 100.1 in November to 96.6 in December. An index...
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