Readers respond: Housing mortgage market reform
The Obama administration released its housing "white paper," which advocates big changes in the U.S. mortgage markets. One change: wind down the role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
"After the revelations of the last couple of years, it appears that Fannie and Freddie were nothing more that a giant slush fund for the political party in power. Getting rid of it sound like a good move. But after the smoke clears, I think all will be the same people, same polices, same buildings, same, same, same — oh, a NEW SIGN, and that will be all that’s new."
Government data show retail sales rising
The U.S. Census Bureau announced this morning that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for January were $381.6 billion on a seasonally adjusted basis. That’s an increase of 0.3% from the previous month, and up 7.8% compared with January 2010.
Total sales for the November 2010 through January 2011 period were up 7.6% from the same period a year ago.
Looking specifically at NAICS classification 444 — Building material & garden equipment & supplies dealers — advanced sales for January were $24.227 billion; that’s down 2.9% from December’s figure, but up 9.3% from the same month last year.
The Advance Monthly Sales report also revealed general retail trade sales were up 0.5% from December 2010, and 8.3% above last year. Auto and other motor vehicle dealers sales were up 16.7% from January 2010 and non-store retailers sales were up 13.5% from last year.
All the figures above are adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes.
Home Depot will hire 60,000 for spring push
The Home Depot announced today it will hire more than 60,000 seasonal associates in time for its second annual Spring Black Friday event.
Like the traditional Black Friday that occurs the day after Thanksgiving to unofficially start the holiday shopping season, The Home Depot’s Spring Black Friday marks the start of home improvement’s busiest shopping season — the spring.
Spring Black Friday will be implemented on a market-by-market basis based on climate by geography. During four different weekends in spring, prices on hundreds of spring products will be reduced, including a variety of live goods and lawn care, outdoor power, eco-friendly gardening products, and patio and grills.
"As we have stated in the past, spring is our Christmas and traffic is at its highest during this season," said Craig Menear, executive VP merchandising. "Hiring seasonal associates and offering door busting deals will ensure our customers have all of the service, know-how and value they need as they look to take on outdoor projects to improve the appearance of their home."
Home Depot said it will hire and train new seasonal associates in every market during the months of February and March. The 60,000 part-timers are about the same number that were hired to ramp up for spring in 2010. Additionally, The Home Depot said it will be adding net new permanent full-time and part-time positions to its stores for the second year in a row.
Mooresville, N.C.-based Lowe’s is also getting into the spring of things with a mass hiring of part-time workers. According to various press reports, the company will hire 50,000 seasonal positions at its 1,750 stores. That’s about 16% more hires than last year’s spring ramp up.