Thursday, April 26, 2018
Business

Americans look past fiscal debate as spending climbs

WASHINGTON — Americans looked past the debate on fiscal policy in November as consumer spending climbed. Household purchases rose 0.4 percent last month after a 0.1 percent drop in October that was smaller than first estimated, Commerce Department figures showed Friday in Washington.

Gains in employment and housing encouraged consumers to buy gifts for the holidays last month and replace autos damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

"The numbers are encouraging," said Brian Jones, a senior U.S. economist at Societe Generale in New York, who correctly forecast the increase in spending. "There's business that has to get done whether or not these guys iron out this thing in Washington in a timely fashion."

The report also showed incomes climbed 0.6 percent in November, the most since February, after a 0.1 percent increase the prior month. Hurricane Sandy cut pay by about $18.2 billion at an annual rate in October, the Commerce Department said.

Wages and salaries also advanced 0.6 percent in November after falling 0.3 percent a month earlier. Because the increase in pay surpassed the gain in spending, the saving rate climbed to 3.6 percent in November from 3.4 percent in October.

Industry figures show car and light truck sales rebounded in November as buyers returned to showrooms following the storm. Light vehicles sold at 15.5 million annual rate last month, the most since 2008, according to data from Ward's Automotive Group.

The holiday shopping season also started off strong, with consumers spending 13 percent more during the four-day U.S. Thanksgiving weekend than in the same period in 2011. Purchases rose to $59.1 billion from Nov. 22 through Nov. 25 from $52.4 billion last year, according to the National Retail Federation.

The strength of consumer spending early next year will depend on whether job creation will feed into income growth and whether Congress allows taxes to rise in January, thereby eating into Americans' paychecks. A healing housing market will also help stir spending by boosting household wealth, and falling gasoline prices could shore up buying power.

"Consumers will need to prioritize how and where they are spending," said Robert Hull, chief financial officer of home- improvement retailer Lowe's. "The lead-up to the fiscal cliff and its outcome has the potential to negatively impact both consumer and business spending."

Comments
Yelp search results reflected racist stereotype that Asian American restaurants serve cat and dog

Yelp search results reflected racist stereotype that Asian American restaurants serve cat and dog

A strange thing happened when typing "dog menu" into the restaurant ratings website and app Yelp. It automatically generated suggested searches. There were dog massage, hot dogs, pet groomers. Also: "dog meat." But it got more disturbing. Take Yelp...
Updated: 12 hours ago
As more emotional support animals fly on U.S. airlines, Congress eyes new ways to tighten the leash

As more emotional support animals fly on U.S. airlines, Congress eyes new ways to tighten the leash

WASHINGTON — With hundreds of thousands of emotional support animals taking to the skies on U.S. airlines, Congress may start pulling a tighter leash.Two new legislative options emerged this week to address a hairy issue for American Airlines, Southw...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Duke Energy announces new Florida leadership

Duke Energy announces new Florida leadership

ST. PETERSBURG — The head of Duke Energy Florida is leaving his post to take a new role with the utility’s parent company June 1, the company announced on Wednesday.Harry Sideris, 47, was appointed this week to serve as vice president and chief distr...
Updated: 12 hours ago

Comcast challenges Murdoch with rival bid for U.K.-based Sky

LONDON — U.S. media giant Comcast on Wednesday offered $30.7 billion for Sky PLC, topping a bid from Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox and setting up a bidding war for Britain’s biggest satellite TV company.Comcast said it would pay approximately $17...
Published: 04/25/18
Sprouts Farmers Market to open new store in Pasco County

Sprouts Farmers Market to open new store in Pasco County

TRINITY — Pasco County will be getting its first Sprouts Farmers Market, the organic grocery chain announced Wednesday. The new store will open at the Village at Mitchell Ranch on State Road 54 and Little Road. Officials with the speciality st...
Published: 04/25/18
Circle K launching own gas at eight Hillsborough locations

Circle K launching own gas at eight Hillsborough locations

TAMPA — Circle K is converting the gas station portion of eight of its Hillsborough locations to Circle K fuel. Previously, the fuel was provided by other brands, such as Shell. The new Circle K branding also brings with it the Canadian-owned conveni...
Published: 04/25/18
Florida leads other hurricane-prone states in quality of its building codes

Florida leads other hurricane-prone states in quality of its building codes

Florida has the strongest residential building codes among 18 coastal states, according to a new study by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety. Florida’s rating is 95, almost three times higher than lowest-ranked Texas. Other states wit...
Published: 04/25/18
Study: Tampa Bay homes in once ‘redlined’ neighborhoods worth half those in other areas

Study: Tampa Bay homes in once ‘redlined’ neighborhoods worth half those in other areas

Times staffRedlining’ — banks’ refusal to make mortgage loans in certain areas — still has a huge effect on housing values even though the practice was banned 50 years ago. According to Zillow, a Tampa Bay house in a once-redlined area is worth less ...
Published: 04/25/18
Tex-Mex chain Chuy’s opens first Tampa restaurant, Nebraska Mini-Mart grab-and-go coming soon

Tex-Mex chain Chuy’s opens first Tampa restaurant, Nebraska Mini-Mart grab-and-go coming soon

NOW OPEN: TEX-MEX CHAIN CHUY’SThe Austin, Texas-based Tex-Mex chain Chuy’s opened its first Tampa restaurant on Tuesday, giving away free Chuy’s for two for a year to the first 50 customers. I know, we missed it, it’s a bummer, but we can still visit...
Published: 04/25/18
Clearwater looks to move out of City Hall to speed up Imagine Clearwater waterfront redevelopment

Clearwater looks to move out of City Hall to speed up Imagine Clearwater waterfront redevelopment

CLEARWATER — Elected officials have talked about relocating City Hall from the downtown bluff for a good 30 years. Now there’s a jolt of urgency to actually do it.Voters backed a referendum in November that essentially greenlighted the $55 million re...
Published: 04/25/18