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Industry News

Mortgage Applications Rise in Latest Week8/27/2014

Reuters

Alabama residential sales improve 2 percent in July8/27/2014

By Alabama Center for Real Estate (ACRE)

Appraisal Institute Unveils New Educational Offering For Reviewers8/16/2014

By R. Shawn Brantley, Brantley & Associates

Jobless Claims in U.S. Have Dropped About as Much as They Can8/7/2014

By Victoria Stilwell, Bloomberg News The four-week claims average as a share of the workforce stood at 1.6 percent at the end of last month. The record low was reached in May 1969 at 1.2 percent. In more recent times, the low was in April 2000 at 1.4%.

How a Zillow-Trulia Merger Could Finally Change the Business of Real Estate7/28/2014

By Brad Stone, Bloomberg Businessweek, Technology


R. Shawn Brantley, MAI

Industry News

US Budget Deficit Down to $680B, Lowest in 5 Years October 30, 2013

The government said Wednesday that the deficit for the 2013 budget year totaled $680.3 billion, down from the $1.09 trillion in 2012.  That's the smallest imbalance since 2008, when the government ran a $458.6 billion deficit.  It's still the fifth-largest deficit of all time.

The deficit is the gap between the government's tax revenue and its spending.  It narrowed for the budget year that ended on Sept. 30 because revenue rose while spending fell.  Revenue jumped 13.3 percent to $2.77 trillion.  Government spending declined 2.4 percent to $3.45 trillion.  

A stronger economy created more jobs and income over the past year, which generated greater tax revenue.  At the same time, the Obama administration and Congress agreed in January to end a temporary cut in Social Security taxes and also to raise income taxes on the wealthy.  

And spending fell in part because of across-the-board cuts that took effect in March.

The Obama administration and Republicans in Congress are now engaged in another battle over the budget and Obama's health insurance program.  That led to a 16-day partial government shutdown this month.

And while the parties reached a deal to re-open the government this month, it contained an agreement to only fund government operations until Jan. 15 and suspend the government's borrowing limit until Feb 7.

A House-Senate conference committee met on Wednesday for the first time since the shutdown.  They are hoping to reach a deal that would remove the threat of another shutdown and ease fears of a debt default.

The Obama administration stressed in announcing the 2013 results that the government is succeeding in reducing the deficit from the record levels that had been hit. 

"It is now less than half of what it was when the president took office," Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said in a statement.

The $680.3 billion deficit for the just-complete budget year represents 4.1 percent of the total economy, down from 6.8 percent last year.  In dollar terms and not adjusted for inflation, the deficit is still the fifth-largerst in history.  It was exceeded only by four straight deficits about $1 trillion.  The record deficit was $1.4 trillion set in 2009, Obama's first year in office. 

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