Carpe Diem

Thursday morning links

1. Ward’s Auto predicts that December SAAR car sales will be 15.7 million; if so, it will be the best sales month since December 2007.

2. CoreLogic reports that foreclosures declined nationally in November by 23%, as the U.S. housing market continues to mend.

3. DQNews reports that the national median home sales price increased by 10.3% over the last 30 days.

4. DQNews is also reporting that Phoenix home sales were the highest for a November in 7 years, while the median price was the highest in more than 4 years.

5. ADP reported today that construction jobs increased by 39,000 in December, the largest monthly gain since February 2006.

6. Framing lumber prices (at $381 per 1,000 board feet) ended the year at the highest level in almost 7 years, going all the way back to February 2006. Contracts for CME lumber futures ended the year at $386.40, the highest price since April 2005, more than 7 and a-half years ago.  More evidence of a housing boom.

7. Top 20 charts for 2012, from the Forum for Innovation at the US Chamber of Commerce, including one CD chart.

8. interview with Craig Whitney on “Living With Guns: A Liberal’s Case for the Second Amendment.”

9. No Regulation? No Problem – John Stossel highlights PayPal and eBay as examples of thriving markets without government regulations; watch his show “Freedom 2.0″ about this tonight at 9 p.m. on the FOX Business Network.

10. The Conference Board reported yesterday that online labor demand increased in December by +217,900 jobs.


26 thoughts on “Thursday morning links

  1. December’s Auto Retail Sales number will be an important one to watch. It will likely be the first to be without Sandy’s influence, and we can see what (if any) lasting cyclical effects the storm had on Sales.

  2. @Framing Lumber Prices:

    “Unfortunately, environmental activists and organizations such as the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) seek to enforce a framework where only Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified timber gets recognized as environmentally sustainable. The USGBC’s “LEED” program uses a point-based rating system for buildings that awards credits to FSC-wood. This bias means that most wood products procured from land certified in the U.S. are severely disadvantaged; FSC recognizes only about one-quarter of North America’s certified forests. The other three-quarters of certified forests – recognized by groups such as the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and American Tree Farm System (ATFS) – are shut out of the competition, despite standards which are quite similar to those of FSC, and in some cases significantly better than the FSC standards.

    The anti-competitive nature of the LEED system becomes more apparent after taking into account that hundreds of cities require LEED standards in building projects. Advocates of the FSC standard influence government agencies to promote the LEED, using taxpayer dollars to favor one certification program over another … 90% of FSC certified wood products come from outside the U.S., meaning there are more transportation costs.” — <a href="Townhall/i>

  3. Even though (or pehaps because ) I am educated in environmental sciences and economics, I think the LEED system is a fraud and a scam that wastes resources rather than preserves them.

  4. The Conference Board reported yesterday that online labor demand increased in December by +217,900 jobs“…

    Hmmm, consider the following release from the BLS: Mass layoffs in November 2012
    DECEMBER 28, 2012

    Employers took 1,759 mass layoff actions in November involving 173,558 workers as measured by new filings for unemployment insurance benefits during the month. Mass layoff events increased by 399 from October, and the number of associated initial claims increased by 42,385. Mass layoff data for November reflect the impact of Hurricane Sandy on workers in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.

    • Mass layoff data for November reflect the impact of Hurricane Sandy on workers in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.

      Well, that answers that.

        • No. Not in November. Obamacare has been around for two years now. It’s legality has been known since June. No reason why there would be massive layoffs five months later. Doesn’t make sense. Likewise, the “fiscal cliff” has been known for over a year. Businesses long ago planned for the worst. These two programs will affect hiring, but they are most certainly not the cause of the mass layoffs in November. The biggest storm to hit the East Coast in US history is.

  5. I wouldn’t be surprised if the costs of regulations in the U.S. is now over $2 trillion a year:

    Red Tape Rises Again: Cost of Regulation Reaches $1.75 Trillion
    September 22, 2010

    “The best estimates of the total cost, however, have come from a series of reports commissioned by the Small Business Administration (SBA). The latest such report was released today by the SBA’s Office of Advocacy, and the results are startling.

    Rules and restrictions imposed from Washington now cost Americans some $1.75 trillion each year. That is sharply higher that the $1.1 trillion in costs reported in 2005 in the SBA’s last such study.”

    • Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if the cost was twice or three times that.

      I remember seeing numbers a few years ago to the tune of a quarter of U.S. GDP. But even that study took into account only the visible cost of compliance. I don’t believe it attempted t to calculate opportunity cost nor did it attempt to estimate how many businesses are not expanded or started at all because of the high cost of regulation and the uncertainty regulation causes.

      • Fortunately, the housing market is recovering, because the tax hikes from the Fiscal Cliff deal and Obamacare will be huge negatives, along with more regulations.

        • Hordes of high earning tax refuges are fleeing the tri-state area and buying properties in my end of the market in my newly-adopted tax-free state. It appears I accidentally bought at the low of the market and I now get unsolicited offers to buy stuck to my gate on an increasingly regular basis.

          The regulators are out of control and have been getting worse since 2008. I’ve never seen a regulatory environment this bad in my entire career. The tax increases will yield no additional revenue (at least not from me as I have arranged my affairs to ensure less TAXABLE income this year – and I suspect I’m the norm, not the exception). This will anger the clowns in the Potomac Swamp and make them more aggressive. Fasten your seatbelt. With this lot and Oblamebush at the helm, it’ll be a fast slide into tyranny.


    In the 1960s, GM averaged a 48.3% share of the U.S. car and truck market. For the first 7 months of 2012, their market share was 18.0%, down from 20.0% for the same period in 2011. With a collapse of market share comes a loss of relative cost-competitiveness. There is only so much market share that GM can lose before it would no longer have the resources to attempt to recover.

    The automobile business is a volume-based business. Once you cheapen yourself in they eyes of the public, its over. GM is over.

    • GM is not over. Our political overlords will happily extract from us their union buddys’ unfair pay. It is we who are over….at least as free people.

    • why bummer?

      i suspect avis bought them because they liked the biz model and want to expand it and to potentially make it more affordable through purchasing and insurance efficiencies.

      how is that a bummer?

  7. Fiscal Cliff tax hikes:

    Deal means taxes will rise for most Americans
    January 2, 2013

    “About 77% of American households will face higher federal taxes in 2013.

    Households earning between $40,000 and $50,000 a year face an average tax increase of $579 in 2013, according to the Tax Policy Center’s analysis.

    Households making between $50,000 and $75,000 a year face an average tax hike of $822.

    Households making between $500,000 and $1 million will pay $14,812 more in taxes, says the Tax Policy Center analysis.

    Households making more than $1 million would get an average tax increase of $170,341.”

  8. US Light Vehicle Retail Sales are out:

    December was a very good month. The November-to-December climb was the 17th strongest on record (data going back to 1925). Monthly Sales are up 9.0% above last December.

    Looking at annual Sales (to adjust for seasonal variation), 14.5 million vehicles were sold in 2012, making the year the best since the 12 month period ending in September 2008. Annual Sales are up 13.4% from last year (the fastest pace of rise in over 22 years), but the pace will likely begin to diminish imminently.

    Expect annual Sales to continue to rise in 2013, but at a slower pace than 2012.

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