Economy | AccountingWEB


Spending Rises, But Katrina May Slow Economic Growth

Purchases of new cars and goods from the nation's big chain stores drove up consumer spending by 1 percent in July, but observers worry that the fallout from Hurricane Katrina may put the brakes on the nation's economy.While spending was up in July, savings was down. A small, 0.3 percent increase in incomes in July, combined with generous spending, pushed down the personal savings level to a historic low, the Associated Press reported. The rate was negative 0.6 percent, which is the lowest since 1959, when the government began keeping records.

Motorists Told To Drive Less As Gas Prices Peak

President Bush and the American Auto Association (AAA) are telling us to reduce our driving and not buy gas if we don’t need it. Gas prices continue to rise especially overnight and the analysts keep saying prices are going to get higher so much that the analysts seem to be setting the price of gas. Deliveries to independent gasoline stations are slowing down and the major stations are controlling their greed by splitting hairs when queried.

Occupancy Costs -- More than Just Rent

While rising rents in commercial real estate will impact occupancy costs, other components such as technical infrastructure and work environment changes can push these costs even higher, says Ryan Morris, President of Real Estate Partnerships & Alliances Inc. in the Houston Business Journal.

A Closer Look at the First Mandatory E-filing System Using XBRL

The first mandatory e-filing system using XBRL will officially be launched on October 1. The system, known as the Call Report Modernization Project utilizes the Central Data Repository (CDR) a secure shared database containing the quarterly filings of the nation’s estimated 8,400 financial institutions. Call Reports collect the basic financial data from commercial banks in the form of balance sheets, income statements and supporting schedules. They are used to supervise and evaluate the financial condition of the institutions.

New Housing Data Sending Mixed Signals

Is the party over for the housing sector? Market indices for the month of July sent mixed messages, and economists, concerned about the impact of oil prices and interest rates on housing have been paying attention. July single family home sales were at a record high, according to the Associated Press, but the median price for a new home fell last month, according to Commerce Department figures released on Wednesday.

The Banking Industry Struggles with SFAS 133

The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta (FHLB Atlanta) announced plans Monday to restate their financial statements for the years 2001 through 2004 and the first quarter of 2005. The Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis (FHLBI) had announced its intention to issue restatements for the same periods on Friday.

Mark Your Calendar: XBRL & the Future of Corporate Reporting

XBRL-US is hosting free informational breakfasts in four cities across the country during September.
Community News

Regional Firm Takes On Clients of NY Credit Union League

The New York State Credit Union League is turning over much of its audit services division to a regional CPA firm to better serve the diverse needs of the league's members."Their needs were outpacing our capabilities," Edward Kovalefsky, senior vice president of the Latham-based Credit Union League, told The Business Review. "We looked at the resources we would have to invest in staff and infrastructure to really meet the needs of our members and decided it would be better to have regional firms take over service of our clients."The move means that Wojeski & Co.
Community News

PNC Settlement May Be Near

Some 73,000 PNC Financial Services Group shareholders may soon share in the settlement of their class-action lawsuit against the bank. The shareholder restitution fund already amounts to $156.4 million. The acting trustee of the fund, Louis Fryman, said the fund will not be distributed until and unless U.S. District Judge David S. Cercone approves a not-yet-approved additional $36.6 million bringing the fund total to $193 million.

Flagging Optimism on Economy Among Accountants

What a difference six months can make. In December, 71 percent of Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) serving as chief executive officers (CEOs), chief financial officers (CFOs) and other decision makers had a positive outlook on the state of the economy. According to the latest Business and Industry Economic Outlook Survey, only 57 percent still feel that way.Concerns about rising energy and employee costs, increased regulation and the cascade effect of provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act have hurt optimism.

Smaller Federal Budget Deficit Expected This Year

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released a new report estimating that the federal budget deficit for the current fiscal year will drop by $81 billion to $331 billion. Last year's record budget deficit was $412 billion. Since these estimates have been compiled so close to the end of the current fiscal year, they are considered extremely dependable. These results seem to support the President and Congress' economic policies although the CBO report doesn't foresee any improvement in the long-term fiscal outlook for the remainder of the decade.

Fed Increases Interest Rates - Again

The Federal Reserve on Tuesday once again raised interest rates, the 10th increase in 14 months, and signaled that more rate hikes are likely.The central bank stated that it would raise short-term rates at a "measured" pace, a term that analysts believe will translate into quarter-point increases at Fed meetings set for September, November and December, the Associated Press reported.The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) raised a key short-term rate by one-quarter percentage point to 3.5 percent. In just over a year, the benchmark rate has increased 2.5 percentage points.
Education & Careers

Choosing a Financial Planner Takes Some Research

Investors of all ages believe they need professional help to manage their money, leading them to question the best way to find a skilled financial planner they can trust.A new survey shows half of “GenX” investors (26 to 40 years old), 46 percent of “Boomers” (41 to 59) and 45 percent of “Matures” (60 to 82) say they “need the help of professionals” in managing their investments.
Education & Careers

American Hiring Up in July

The Department of Labor reports that American payroll jobs increased by 207,000 in July. This gain follows a June increase of 166,000. Both these figures are preliminary data. Employment gains hit a low in May 2003 but total nearly 4 million since that time as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate for July also remained steady at 5 percent.

Spending Up in June; Job Cuts Decline In July

Sales incentives for new cars proved irresistible to many consumers, as spending in June increased by 0.8 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.Inflation-adjusted spending on durable goods, defined as products expected to last three or more years, shot up 3.3 percent in June. The Commerce Department said income also rose 0.5 percent that month. The consumer spending increase was a rebound from May, when spending declined slightly. The jump was attributed in part to Ford's sales promotion that extended employee discounts to everyone, Reuters reported.

May Incomes Grow but Spending Doesn’t

The Department of Commerce Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that personal income before taxes grew by 0.2 percent or $23.5 billion in May. Consumer spending remained flat during May with increased spending on services balanced by decreased spending on big-ticket items and non-durable goods.

Farm Subsidies Use "Creative Accounting"

The United States and the European Union are using “creative accounting” to mask the huge subsidy payments they are making to their farmers, undermining international talks, according to Oxfam.Oxfam, the British aid agency, said rich countries had promised to eliminate export subsidies by 2016, but they are encouraging farmers, through subsidies, to produce excess goods and dump them on the world market, the Associated Press reported."Rich countries are dodging the commitments they've made to reduce subsidies that hurt poor farmers overseas," said Celine Charveriat, head of Oxfam's M

Overheated Housing Market Shutting Out First-Timers

The hot housing market has its good, bad and downright ugly sides, as super-high prices force first-time buyers into creative financing arrangements that could easily bust their budgets if the economy worsens.To get into the housing market, some buyers are relying on loans that allow tiny down payments or interest-only and adjustable-rate mortgages, which have the advantage of low monthly payments early on.
Education & Careers

Small Businesses Cautiously Bump Up Hiring; CFOs Less Upbeat

While overall job growth is below expectations, small businesses seem somewhat more optimistic about the economy than their counterparts at big corporations.Small businesses are slowly increasing their hiring, and a new index of small business optimism rose by 1 point last month to 100.8, Reuters reported. The index, by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), shows small business owners are “quite optimistic” about the economy, at least in the short term, NFIB Chief Economist William Dunkelberg said in a statement.

Increase in Consumer Debt is Far Less Than Expected

While consumer spending has been a major driver of the U.S. economic recovery, the increase in borrowing in April was far lower than Wall Street analysts had expected.Borrowing for auto loans and other types of nonrevolving debt increased, but at the slowest rate since last November, the Federal Reserve reported on Tuesday. Nonrevolving credit rose $1.7 billion in April versus a $7.4 billion rise in March, Reuters reported.Consumer credit rose just $1.26 billion in April, rather than the $7 billion increase that was predicted by many analysts.


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