Housing Permits Rise to Fastest Pace Since August 2007
Housing starts were somewhat lower in May than expected, but housing permits rose to their fastest pace since August 2007, according to the Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The new housing starts decline was a result of lower activity for both single-family and multi-family units, but fortunately, new housing permits soared to 1,275,000 units in May. Despite the decline in starts, this report offered some reassurance that the housing market has stabilized, with the promise of increased activity moving forward. To learn more, visit here.
Latest Federal Reserve Growth Forecast Lowered
The Federal Reserve now expects real GDP to grow between 1.8 and 2.0 percent this year, down from the estimate of 2.3 to 2.7 percent growth predicted in its March forecast. This reduced outlook from the Federal Reserve is a result of softer-than-desired U.S. and global performance over the past six months. In light of the weaker economic data, the Federal Open Market Committee chose not to begin raising its short-term interest rates at this time, but will re-evaluate at its September meeting. To learn more, visit here.
High Gas Costs Increase Consumer Prices to Fastest Pace in Two Years
The Consumer Price Index rose by 0.4 percent in May, its fastest monthly pace since February 2013, largely due to higher gas prices, said the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While gasoline prices increased 10.4 percent for the month, food prices were unchanged for the second straight month, with increased costs for food purchased away from home being offset by lower costs for items purchased for the home. Overall, inflationary pressures remain minimal, allowing the Federal Reserve to delay in raising short-term interest rates. To learn more, visit here.
Medical Device Tax Repeal Passes in the House of Representatives
The House of Representatives recently voted in favor of the Protect Medical Innovation Act (H.R. 160), a bill designed to repeal the excise tax on the gross sales of medical devices. The House of Representatives has previously passed the same bill twice, however both attempts failed to pass in the Senate. A similar bill, the Medical Device Access and Innovation Protection Act, has been introduced to the Senate, with considerably stronger bipartisan support than past repeal efforts and a higher likelihood of passing. To learn more, visit here.