August car sales rose 7.5% compared to a year ago, according to Autodata Corporation. The increase was attributed to new models, cheaper financing and the need to replace aging cars. The average age of a car in the U.S. is 11 years, higher than in the past. Associated Press indicated that Chrysler sales increased 31% while Honda and Toyota sales were down. It is predicted that year end total car sales may hit 12.1 million compared to 11.6 million at year end 2010. These numbers do not compare, however, to the 17 million cars sold in 2005.
Global manufacturing numbers lowest since mid-2009
The global purchasing managers index fell to 50.1 in August down from 50.7 in July, according to the Financial Times. The measure is based on purchasing manager orders across the world, including Asia, Europe and the United States. The U.S. index also fell to 50.6 in August, but was higher than the projected 48.5 predicted by some experts. These indicators reflect a stagnant world economy.
Dow fell 119 points on Thursday
The Dow fell 119 points on Thursday, beginning September on a sour note. The market closed at 11,493. World markets are down on Friday.
Gulf storm forcing workers to leave offshore platforms
A tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico is increasing in strength and has caused oil companies to pull workers from the offshore platforms, according to Fox News. While the disturbance will impact production, the overall effect should be minimal.
Jobless claims fell last week...a little
The Wall Street Journal reports that jobless claims fell last week to 404,000 from 421,000 the prior week. Jobless claims must be sustained at 375,000 or less to indicate an improving economy.
White House projects lower deficit
The White House projects a lower deficit, down by $300 billion compared to earlier in the year with $1.5 trillion cut from the long term deficit. But the national debt of $14.6 trillion would continue to increase if President Obama's budget was enacted, climbing to $24 trillion by 2024 - or 99% of the annual economic output, according to the Washington Post. Unemployment is anticipated to remain around 9% through the 2012 election.