Report: Consumer confidence unexpectedly up in October
A report released Friday by Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan found that consumer confidence in the United States rose unexpectedly in October, a signal that an economic recovery process may still be intact.
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan final index of consumer sentiment climbed to 60.9 from 59.4 in September, beating Bloomberg News economists’ projections of a drop to 58.
The preliminary reading for the month was 57.5.
Relief from plummeting stocks and rising gas prices has left Americans feeling more uplifted than in recent months, raising hopes that the collective good mood will spur more holiday spending.
“Consumers are not throwing caution to the winds, but their mood has lifted slightly from the recession-type readings late this summer,” said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ in New York City, who forecast a reading of 60. “The stock market is sharply higher, and the consumer is back in a spending mind frame.”
Estimates for the confidence measure ranged from 55 to 60, according to the Bloomberg survey. The index averaged 89 in the five years leading up to the recession that began in December 2007.
Commerce Department figures showed that spending increased in September by 0.6%, after a 0.2% gain the prior month.
Green Glue gets high marks for sustainability
An evaluation of the Green Glue Noiseproofing System found, among other things, that the system is indeed green.
Saint-Gobain recently commissioned Sustainable Solutions Corporation to undertake an evaluation of its Green Glue Noiseproofing System to understand how Green Glue could contribute to earning points in U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification system.
Among the findings:
• Green Glue Noiseproofing Compound and Sealant both passed the third party California Department of Health Services 01350 Standard Practice for the Test of Volatile Organic Emissions (VOCs);
• Using Green Glue Noiseproofing Joist Tape in an integrated building design can reduce floor noise and also act as a thermal break and increase energy efficiency of a space;
• Green Glue Noiseproofing Compound contributes to reducing resource consumption in buildings by eliminating the need for additional layers of gypsum board and providing high STC ratings with minimal resources; and
• The Green Glue manufacturing facility in Granville, N.Y., is committed to sustainable manufacturing and operations. Green Glue manufacturing produces close to zero waste and tubes, and packaging boxes contain recycled content.
"These tests underscore that the Green Glue Noiseproofing System has been thoroughly evaluated for sustainability by one of the world’s most respected independent consultants," says Steve Jette, marketing manager, Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics. "We are extremely pleased to receive this recognition and consider it an important milestone for our line of products."
Highlights from Sustainable Solutions’ evaluation on Green Glue, which can be downloaded here, include:
With buildings in the United States responsible for 39% of CO2 emissions and 40% of energy consumption per year, ‘green’ building is a growing trend in both existing buildings and new construction, according to Saint-Gobain. Compared with the rest of the industry, this sector has been a bright spot in a slow period, with green building in 2010 representing nearly one-third of all construction projects in the United States.
Readers Respond: Taxation nation
The following are responses to an HCN Daily item about Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan, built around a 9% business tax, a 9% individual tax and a 9% national sales tax. It would also eliminate the mortgage interest deduction.]
“I’m for [the 9-9-9 plan]. What no one is talking about is the undercurrent of money from illegal activities that this plan will catch and tax at least 9%. Currently no revenue is generated from this source. Would it be great if this didn’t exist? Yes. Is that realistic? No. This plan will catch money on BOTH sides of the ball. Wages being paid to illegal residents will at least get caught when they spend their wages and money earned by persons engaged in illegal activities will get taxed when they spend it. The underground economy will always exist, and it is being taxed at 0% right now.”
— Kent Porter
Porters Building Centers
"Almost anything is better than what we have. His plan is simple, fair and will spur economic growth. I think any criticism of his plan or others similar is spurred from a misconception that too little tax revenue is our problem. There is already too much tax revenue. The problem is an oppressive government growing on credit terms at our expense. No government in history has ever been close to this big, and it was unsustainable years ago. Herman Cain’s solution is great for the revenue side. I hope he has a great plan about the spending side and the massive shrinkage of government that must happen if we are to survive.”
— Jeff Wilson
“In my discussions about this plan, most people forget that it is supposed to eliminate all other federal taxes, thus simplifying and lowering some things in our life. I’ve asked numerous young people and they are against it, thinking that now they will pay more in taxes until I ask them if they buy gasoline, fly on a plane, or use a cell phone. To which they say, ‘I didn’t know all those had federal taxes on them.’ Like most things, the media plays people to whatever slant they land on. I’m still undecided for a couple of reasons:
“1. Will they ever really eliminate other taxes, permanently?
“2. Will there be a ceiling that the 9-9-9 [plan] will never increase?”
— Erv Sweet
“What are the unintended consequences of the plan?
“No deductions for that home improvement loan and 9% more cost added to building materials. We know how quickly a 10% increase kills a category in the store.
“No tax on used merchandise? How long before an ugly underground economy immerges that skirts building codes.”
— Tom Fromelt