Inside these posts: Commerce Department

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Uptick in new-home sales still not robust enough

More Americans purchased new homes in November, though not enough to signal better times are ahead for the battered housing industry.

Sales of new homes rose 5.5 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 290,000 units, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. That’s less than half the rate that economists consider healthy. And the increase follows an October sales pace that nearly matched the lowest level in 47 years. Get the full story »

U.S. 3Q growth revised upward to 2.6%

U.S. economic growth was a touch higher than previously estimated in the third quarter, but below expectations as a rise in the pace of inventory accumulation was offset by downward revisions to consumer spending, a government report showed on Wednesday.

Gross domestic product growth was revised up to an annualized rate of 2.6 percent from 2.5 percent, the Commerce Department said. Get the full story »

Agency calls for online privacy bill of rights

The Commerce Department is calling for the creation of a “privacy bill of rights” for Internet users to set ground rules for companies that collect consumer data online and use that information for marketing and other purposes.

The proposal, outlined in a Commerce Department report Thursday, is intended to address growing unease about the vast amounts of personal information that companies are scooping up on the Net — from Web browsing habits to smart phone locations to Facebook preferences. That data is often mined to target advertising. Get the full story »

U.S. retail sales up more than expected in November

Sales at U.S. retailers rose more than expected in November as consumers splurged on clothing and other items at the start of the holiday season and receipts at gasoline stations surged, more evidence the economic recovery gathered steam in the fourth quarter. Get the full story »

U.S. trade gap narrows in October

The U.S. trade deficit narrowed much more than expected in October, as exports rose a robust 3.2 percent and imports declined slightly in the face of slackening demand for industrial and petroleum products, a Commerce Department report showed on Friday. Get the full story »

Northern Trust makes Obama administration hire

Chicago-based Northern Trust Corp. said Dennis Anosike has joined its corporate and institutional services unit as a leader of the group serving U.S. public pensions. Anosike comes to Northern from the U.S. Department of Commerce. He’s also former chief financial officer of the Chicago Transit Authority. Get the full story »

3Q GDP revised upward to 2.5%

The U.S. economy grew faster than previously estimated in the third quarter, government data showed on Tuesday, but still not enough to address stubbornly high unemployment. Gross domestic product growth was revised up to an annualized rate of 2.5 percent from 2.0 percent as exports, and consumer and government spending were stronger than initially thought, the Commerce Department said in its second estimate. Get the full story »

U.S. retail sales jump 1.2% in October

Sales at U.S. retailers rose more than expected in October to post their largest gain in seven months, boosted by purchases of motor vehicles and building materials, according to a government report on Monday that was further evidence the economy was regaining strength.

The Commerce Department said total retail sales increased 1.2 percent, the biggest rise since March, after advancing by an upwardly revised 0.7 percent in September. Get the full story »

Broadband usage growing even as gaps persist

The U.S. still faces a significant gap in residential broadband use that breaks down along incomes, education levels and other socio-economic factors, even as subscriptions among American households overall grew sevenfold from 2001 to 2009. Get the full story »

Construction spending rises on public projects

U.S. construction spending rose unexpectedly in September as investment in public projects touched the highest level in more than a year, a government report showed on Monday. Get the full story »

Jets lift durable goods orders, not manufacturing

A surge in demand for commercial aircraft lifted orders for big-ticket manufactured goods in September, but business spending weakened on products that signal expansion plans.

The Commerce Department says orders for durable goods rose 3.3 percent last month. Overall, it was the best showing since January. But excluding transportation, orders fell 0.8 percent after having risen 1.9 percent in August. Get the full story »

Midwest paces 6.6% gain in new home sales

Sales of new U.S. homes improved last month after the worst summer in nearly five decades, but not enough to lift the economy.

The Commerce Department says new home sales in September grew 6.6 percent from a month earlier to a seasonally adjusted annual sales pace of 307,000. Even with the increase, the past five months have been the worst for new home sales on records dating back to 1963. Get the full story »

Rush hospital, group to study medical tourism

Rush University Medical Center, working with a national group of academic medical centers, was awarded a $500,000 grant designed to “help boost medical travel to the U.S.” Get the full story »

Retail sales up for 3rd straight month

Retail sales posted a third monthly increase in September as solid gains at auto, furniture and hardware stores helped to offset weakness at clothing and department stores. Get the full story »

Housing starts rise 10.5% in August

Home construction increased last month and applications for building permits also grew. But the gains were driven mainly by apartment and condominium construction, not the much larger single-family homes sector. Get the full story »