Economy Watch: Home Prices See Monthly Downtick on Election Day

Tuesday might have been Election Day, but for the economy and its indicators, it was just another day.

By Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor

Tuesday might have been Election Day, but for the economy and its indicators, it was just another day. CoreLogic reported on Tuesday that U.S. home prices took a break from their recent upward drift, decreasing by 0.3 percent in September 2012 on a month-over-month basis, including distressed sales.

On the other hand, home prices, including distressed sales, increased 5 percent in September 2012 compared to September 2011. That represents the biggest annual increase since July 2006 and the seventh consecutive increase nationally on a year-over-year basis, according to CoreLogic.

Excluding distressed sales, home prices nationwide also increased year-over-year by 5 percent in September 2012. On a month-over-month basis without distressed sales—foreclosures and short sales, considered together—home prices increased 0.5 percent in September compared to August, the seventh consecutive monthly increase.

Number of job openings about the same

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in its Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary (JOLTS), which was released on Tuesday, that the number of U.S. job openings in September was 3.6 million, more-or-less unchanged from August. The number of openings was essentially static in all industries except government and professional and business services, where the number decreased.

Some industries are in more need of new employees than others, a sign of relative good health for those industries. Job openings increased over the year for nondurable goods manufacturing, finance and insurance, health care and social assistance, real estate (rental and leasing) and federal government, but fell in mining and logging, durable goods manufacturing and state and local government, noted the BLS.

Another measure of the labor market, the number of quits—people leaving jobs voluntarily, some of whom do so with the prospect of another job waiting for them—was little changed in September compared with August, and little changed over the 12 months ending in September, for both private employers and government. Quits decreased over the year, however, in arts, entertainment and recreation, according to the BLS.

Different day, same government

The election is over and the control of the federal government is pretty much where it has been since 2010—a Democratic president and Senate, and a Republican House, mostly at loggerheads. Now the divided government has to deal with various economic issues that were talked and lied about during the campaigns, but most immediately the fiscal cliff and how to effect more than a tepid pace of job creation. Longer-term problems, such as deficits and health-care spending loom a bit further down the road, but not much.

Wall Street closed before the polls did, with investors seemingly in a good mood. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 133.24 points, or 1.02 percent, while the S&P 500 was up 0.79 percent and the Nasdaq advanced 0.41 percent.

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