Why Young Couples Aren’t Getting Married – They Fear the Ravages of Divorce

Newswise — With the share of married adults at an all-time low in the United States, new research by demographers at Cornell University and the University of Central Oklahoma unveils clues why couples don’t get married – they fear divorce.

Among cohabitating couples, more than two-thirds of the study’s respondents admitted to concerns about dealing with the social, legal, emotional and economic consequences of a possible divorce.

The study, “The Specter of Divorce: Views from Working and Middle-Class Cohabitors,” is published in the journal Family Relations (December 2011) and is co-authored by Sharon Sassler, Cornell professor of policy analysis and management, and Dela Kusi-Appouh, a Cornell doctoral student in the field of development sociology. (http://bit.ly/sJqeFa).

Roughly 67 percent of the study’s respondents shared their worries about divorce. Despite the concerns, middle-class subjects spoke more favorably about tying the knot and viewed cohabitation as a natural stepping stone to marriage compared to their working-class counterparts. Lower-income women, in particular, disproportionately expressed doubts about the “trap” of marriage, fearing that it could be hard to exit if things go wrong or it would lead to additional domestic responsibilities but few benefits.

The study also found working-class cohabitating couples were more apt to view marriage as “just a piece of paper,” nearly identical to their existing relationship. They were twice as likely to admit fears about being stuck in marriage with no way out once they were relying on their partners’ share of income to get by.

The authors hope that their findings could help premarital counselors to better tailor their lessons to assuage widespread fears of divorce and to target the specific needs of various socioeconomic classes.

Released: 12/18/2011

Source: Cornell University

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Professor Offers Holiday Tipping Advice During the Economic Downturn

Newswise — DURHAM, N.H. – With pocketbooks stretched even more during the holidays this year, Americans may find it difficult to tip their service providers as much as they would like to, but according to a University of New Hampshire professor who researches service expectations, consumers should do their best to give something.

“Giving a gift during the holiday is a fundamental part of every joyful season, and one such holiday extra is the giving of a ‘tip’ to those individuals that have provided a service during the year. However, extra money for many Americans has been tight this year due to the economic times which many have not recovered from. So this time of year, when we feel obligated to buy presents and tip our various service providers, it may be difficult to decide who to drop from your gift list or reduce in tips if money to spread around is limited,” said Nelson Barber, associate professor of hospitality management at UNH.

“During the holiday season, tipping is more a gesture of thanks to individuals who provide services on a regular basis to you and your family,” Barber says. “We all know that both gifts and tips are great, and for many, holiday tips can make a huge difference in their annual income.”

How important are tips? According to a survey by PayScale, personal-care workers, including makeup, barbers, hairdressers, nail technicians, and cosmetologists, receive 25 percent of their income from tips.

Barber offers the following tipping advice:

How Best to Tip?
Prioritize your most important service providers by considering those who have provided you services and the extent of interaction with them, particularly those who may not be that obvious, even if you may not have tipped them regularly. “Do not make your tipping decision solely based upon ‘an implied obligation.’ At the top of your list should be those individuals that enhance your life considerably,” he says.

Think about the valued housekeeper or the barber that squeezes you in or the individual that delivers your newspaper to the front door when it is raining or snowing saving you the walk down the driveway. “These are the people that should receive the top dollars rather than infrequently used service providers,” Barber says.

How much should I tip?
When deciding how much to tip, remember that tipping is discretionary. Consider the length of time you have been receiving the service and whether you live in an urban or rural setting where tipping levels may vary. Consider the relationship to the service provider. Are you close? Is the relationship informal?

“If you don’t think tipping is necessary in a particular circumstance, then don’t tip. The following is a guide and amounts have been adjusted for today’s economic conditions. It is not implying a moral duty to tip. If you are using a service that is widely known to be a tipped service, such as hair salons and valet parking, then tip for good service,” Barber says.

Some suggestions for minimum tipping are:
• Day care provider: $20 and a gift from your child
• Parking garage attendants: $20 or a gift
• Housekeeper: no more than one week’s pay or a gift
• Nanny: no more than one week’s pay or a gift from you and your child
• Newspaper carrier: $15 or a gift
• Package carrier: a gift of no more than $15
• Home caregiver: no more than one week’s salary or a gift
• Pet groomer: 25 percent the cost of a session or a gift
• Baby sitter: no less than half one evening’s pay
• Hairstylist for women: minimum half the cost of one visit. Tipping the owner who provides you the service: yes at your discretion.
• Hairstylist for men: minimum half the cost of one haircut.
• Manicurist: $10
• Sanitation worker: $5 to $10
• Mail carriers working for the United States Postal Service may not accept cash gifts, checks, gift cards, or any other equivalent.

If consumers need to reduce their tipping amounts, Barber suggests adding a note of thanks with the tip.

“I find, depending on the service provider, including a note expressing how much you appreciate them adds value and can make the gift mean more even if the amount given is less,” Barber says. “Service workers depend on these gifts as part of their income. So unless you’ve lost your own job, or are having financial troubles of your own, try to give.”

Released: 12/5/2011

Source: University of New Hampshire

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Eco-Friendly Holiday Advice….Going Green and Staying Out of the Red!

Newswise — Christmas offers a golden opportunity to go green — and save a little green – as consumers seek ways to compensate for Christmas trees that may be smaller and more expensive due to drought in parts of the country, said Suzy Weems, Ph.D., chair of the department of Family and Consumer Sciences at Baylor University.

Christmas traditionally is a time when people over-stretch their budgets not only on gifts but on holiday decorating. But choosing alternate ways to decorate can help dodge debt whle increasing family togetherness and making memories, Weems said.

• Consider buying a potted Christmas tree rather than using an artificial one or even one from a tree farm. You won’t have to cope with brown needles dropping, which cuts down on fire hazards, and the tree can be a practical legacy for future Christmases if you plant it in your yard after the holidays.

• Set aside two or three hours for your family to adorn the tree the natural way — by stringing inexpensive strands of popcorn or cranberries as families did in other centuries. Use good-sized needles, thimbles and monofilament fishing line, which not only is strong but comes in colors as well as clear.

• Go native. Those who live in tumbleweed terrain can string tumbleweeds with small lights and use them as accents or centerpieces; coastal residents might turn shells into ornaments by looping a ribbon, hot-gluing its ends together, then hot-gluing the “hanger” to the shell. A starfish may be attached with wire at the top of the tree.

• A fragrant, traditional and natural accent can be fashioned by pressing cloves into oranges. Decorate with holly sprigs clipped from shrubs, or gather mistletoe from area trees to hang above doorways. But do research to ensure that poisonous decorations are out of reach of pets and children.

• Recycle Thanksgiving pumpkins or gourds by painting them white, stacking them by size and turning them into snowmen or a snow family.

Released: 11/28/2011

Source: Baylor University

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Money and Health…New Study Finds Physical Functioning Declines More Rapidly Among the Poor

Newswise — COLUMBUS, Ohio – A new national study shows that wealthier Americans and those with private health insurance fare better than others on one important measure of health – and this health gap only grows wider as they age.

Researchers found that, when the study began, middle-aged and older Americans with more income and assets reported having less trouble with five activities of daily living: walking across a room, bathing, eating, dressing and getting in and out of bed.

Especially troubling, though, was how the disadvantage for the poor snowballs over time, said Virginia Richardson, co-author of the study and professor of social work at Ohio State University.

“The rich stay healthier, while the poor see steeper declines in their health as they age,” Richardson said.

Those with private health insurance also reported less trouble with these activities than did those without such insurance. That gap also increased over time.

These findings held true even after researchers took into account other variables which may have affected physical functioning, including the participants’ age when the study began, marital status, employment status, and their generational group.

The results are important because physical functioning is the key for older adults to be able to take care of themselves without needing a caregiver, Richardson said.

“When people can no longer bathe themselves or cook for themselves, that’s when they need to be institutionalized,” she said.

Richardson conducted the study with Jinhyun Kim, assistant professor at Marywood University. Their results were published in a recent issue of the journal Health and Social Care in the Community.

This study is one of the few that have linked socioeconomic status – which includes income and assets – and health insurance on people’s physical functioning over an extended period of time, according to Richardson.

The researchers used data from the Health and Retirement Study, run by the University of Michigan, which followed Americans over 50 years of age over the course of 12 years, from 1994 to 2006. Data was collected every two years. For this study, Richardson and Kim used data on 6,519 participants.

In 1994, when data was first collected, the researchers found that those with higher income and assets had better functioning. The key finding, though, said Richardson, was how this gap grew over time.

“The more income and assets you have, the slower your health decline will be,” she said.

This was true for both men and women, although there was more variability among women in the study.

Those who had private health insurance also reported fewer problems with physical functioning than those who didn’t at the beginning of the study. And, just like with income and assets, the gap between the haves and the have-nots increased over time.

The researchers expected that those with higher levels of education would report better physical functioning, but that was not true of most of the sample. However, education did make a difference among older Black adults – those with more education tended to have better functioning than those with lower levels.

The data in this study can’t answer the question of how socioeconomic status and private health insurance help protect people’s physical functioning, Richardson said. But the results fit with other studies that suggest that economically disadvantaged people may not be able to afford medications they need, or may take steps to make their prescriptions last longer, like cutting pills in half.

They may also skip diagnostic tests that could help identify disease earlier, when it is more treatable. This may be especially true for those who lack private health insurance that can help pay for expensive testing.

“One of the first questions many elderly adults ask when their doctors order tests is ‘will my insurance cover it?’ Richardson says.

Richardson said the findings suggest that our public health care policies need to consider how people’s economic resources will change their physical functioning as they age.

“Our policies need to incorporate a life course perspective. We need to find way to prevent the rapid deterioration in physical functioning that is more likely among those who have fewer resources.”

Released: 11/7/2011

Source: Ohio State University

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Economics and Society: New Study Shows That Minority Consumers Will Voluntarily Pay More for Goods and Services to Assert Status

Newswise — It has been well-documented that minorities are subject to discrimination in product pricing and customer service. What is startling is the result of a new study professors at the USC Marshall School of business in conjunction with University of San Diego’s School of Business Administration, that shows that sometimes ill-treatment can make African-American consumers voluntarily pay more for goods and services than they would normally, as well as pay more than their Caucasian counterparts.

Aarti S. Ivanic, assistant professor of marketing at the University of San Diego’s School of Business Administration; and Jennifer R. Overbeck, assistant professor of management and organization along with Joseph C. Nunes, associate professor of marketing at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business, set out to understand inequities in transactions. In their study, “Status, Race and Money: The Impact of Racial Hierarchy on Willingness-to-Pay,” forthcoming in Psychological Science, the researchers found that African-Americans who felt their status was threatened by poor service because of their race were willing to pay more for products and services to assert their social standing.

While Caucasians and African-Americans showed equal interest in products such as headphones or luxury hotel upgrades in two studies conducted, researchers found that when race was explicitly activated (subjects were made aware of the stereotypes affiliated with their race), most African-American survey participants indicated a willingness to pay more for products than either Caucasian participants or other African-Americans for whom race was not raised. Meanwhile, when race was implicitly raised, the researchers found that African-American participants were less likely to counteract negative stereotypes and decreased their willingness to pay for products.

However, what was also uncovered in this study was that African-American participants who strongly identified with their race had a lower “willingness to pay,” suggesting that greater pride in group membership made them less vulnerable about their status.

In the concluding experiment with more than 500 participants, the researchers found that, as with Caucasians surveyed, when African-Americans were treated well, they did not indicate a willingness to pay more for goods or services even when race was made an issue. When African-American subjects were treated poorly, but race was not raised, they paid less.

Though the survey focused on African-Americans, USC Marshall Professor Jennifer Overbeck says the findings may be applicable to any group that has had a traditionally disadvantaged status throughout history.

“Minority consumers have tremendous buying power. We want to draw attention to the fact that these downstream forces of discrimination are important and to bring it to the attention of anyone who feels disadvantaged in the marketplace that he/she should not feel the need to prove themselves to people who don’t deserve it by paying more,” Overbeck said.

Released: 10/20/2011
Source: University of Southern California

Via Newswise

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Price Too High? Budget Tight? Negotiate for a Better Deal!

Newswise — Winston-Salem N.C. — According to the Federal Reserve, economic growth remains slow and signs point to continuing weakness. Unemployment rates remain elevated, and household spending has been increasing at only a modest pace. While this may affect your household budgeting, it could also work in your favor. Charles Lankau, a business professor and expert in negotiation at Wake Forest University, says in this economy, consumers should be assertive when shopping for just about everything.

These days retailers and service providers are willing to negotiate to get your business, says Lankau. “As a consumer in today’s economy, people need to ask themselves, ‘Am I about to spend some money?’ If the answer is ‘yes,’ negotiating is almost always appropriate. Price, terms, perks or extras—most of the time they are there if you just ask.”

For those new to bargaining, Lankau offers the following tips:

Give yourself permission to negotiate. Bargaining is one of many valuable budget-stretching tools available. Use it.

Focus on the result, not on any misplaced embarrassment for asking. Think of how good it will feel if you get something for your efforts. Even if you are successful, it’s a win-win situation. In most cases, the seller will still be making a profit.

Touch a chord. Choose your words carefully to reach the emotional side of the person you are dealing with, for example: ‘I’m just not sure I can afford this. Can you do any better?’ Practice different approaches in the car to see how they sound.

Practice. Just like in sales, keep trying, and your ‘ask’ will improve.

Track your results. Keep a note card in your glove box and jot down every time you purchase an item for less than the asking price. It adds up! Seeing your savings grow is a great motivator.

Lankau says large purchases, like cars and homes, or competitive services for television or telephone, are expenses where people expect to negotiate, but deals can also be found in retail shops. “My mother never hesitated to point out a flaw, if there was one, in a blouse or sweater, and she almost always received at least a ten percent discount.”

Released: 9/23/2011
Source: Wake Forest University
Via Newswise
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Financial Tips: Setting a Budget and Financial Planning, Can Help College Students Now and in Future

Newswise — MANHATTAN, Kan. — A college student’s idea of investing may lean more toward purchasing season basketball tickets than an individual retirement account, but financial experts say taking a more focused look at their financial situation early can help students budget for today and the future.

Budgeting should begin before a student even sets foot on campus, said Jodi Kaus, program director for Powercat Financial Counseling at Kansas State University. Students may have extra funding from high school graduation gifts, savings bonds or part-time job income, and it’s important to put that money to good use.

“Students should keep an emergency savings cushion for unexpected contingencies,” Kaus said. “They should articulate their own specific financial goals to prioritize how they want to make use of these extra resources. Using them for a portion of college costs could help reduce the amount of necessary loans and interest charges.”

Once students get to school, Kaus said they need to be in tune with their money. Making a detailed list of all spending items can reduce the chance of running into an unexpected expense.

“Laundry and haircuts are often overlooked, but these costs can add up over time,” Kaus said. “Eating out tends to be the biggest budget breaker for most students. It becomes a social event, but $15 here and there starts to eat into a budget very quickly.”

As students transition through their college career, Kaus said other budgetary items will need to be considered and planned for ahead of time, like the cost of living off campus or taking a study abroad experience.

Kaus cautioned students against supplementing their budget with a credit card or getting one without serious consideration, although recent laws have made it difficult for individuals younger than 21 to get a credit card without a co-signer, usually a parent.

Eric Higgins, head of the finance department at Kansas State University, said the new credit card laws allow parents of young credit card holders to be more in tune with their student’s spending habits. This also can help alleviate mismanagement of credit at an early age.

“It’s a common problem, students not being able to manage credit cards,” Higgins said. “You don’t want to get into debt and then be forced to start from behind.”

Higgins said other credit card tips include:

* Don’t open too many lines of credit — holding more cards than needed — because it can hurt your credit score.

* Call to cancel unwanted cards immediately — don’t simply cut them up and throw them away.

* Pay credit bills off each month in order to avoid interest charges, and don’t use them as a substitute for cash.

Instead of credit cards, Kaus said she urges students to have an ongoing conversation with their parents about their financial support and expectations. Parents may be willing to pay for some expense items, but eventually the student will most likely be fully responsible. Knowing these amounts is important, she said.

Higgins added that other means of income, including part-time jobs, starting a small business or investing in real estate or the stock market, can then be used toward some kind of savings plan that lays the first steps to a secure financial future, such as starting an individual retirement account.

“I encourage students to start thinking about investing and saving,” he said. “Save early and save often. When it comes to building wealth, the earlier the better.”

To make the road to financial success at a young age a little smoother, it helps to avoid some common pitfalls. Kaus said the easy part of making a budget it putting the numbers on a piece of paper. “The hardest part is changing your behavior toward managing your money,” she said. “Students should begin by establishing small habits that set them up for long-term success.”

Kaus’ tips for avoiding budgeting mistakes include:

* Using a pocket-sized debit card register to record transactions.

* Paying yourself first by automatically directing a percentage of each paycheck to savings instead of checking.

* Setting aside 10-20 minutes each week to review a spending plan and monitor progress.

* Remembering to take into account any withholdings from paychecks.

* Always paying bills on time — possibly setting up automatic payments — because timely bill payment is the largest factor in determining credit worthiness.

* Monitoring credit usage. It is recommended that credit card holders use no more than 25-30 percent of their credit limit at all times.

*Avoid short-term solutions, like payday loans intended to cover a borrower’s expenses until the next payday. Higgins agreed, adding that there is never an instance that a payday loan would be helpful to a student. There are laws on how much these businesses can charge, but few regulations on their fees. “You will pay way too much in interest charges — the annual percentage rate is astronomical,” he said. “When you factor in fees, you could be paying as much as 500 percent. It’s a trap — students spend their loan check, and need money to pay their tuition. Payday loan places know these students get a check each semester, and if you direct deposit it with them, you’ll stay a check behind and never see the money. It’s a pit.”

* Check other options offered by your school. At Kansas State University and other universities, emergency student loans are available.

Released: 8/4/2011
Source: Kansas State University

Via Newswise

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Business News; The Best in the U.S. for Entrepreneurship: How States Rank

Newswise — It’s been said that entrepreneurship is neither a science nor an art, it’s a practice. But which parts of the United States are getting the most practice? According to a new state-by-state measurement of entrepreneurial activity, New York is at the top, followed by Washington, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Oregon.

The Empire State topped the newly released State Entrepreneurship Index, a nationwide analysis and ranking method that evaluates how states stack up in terms of business formation and innovation.

Economists at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Bureau of Business Research and Department of Economics developed the State Entrepreneurship Index, or SEI, by combining five key components – a state’s percentage growth and per capita growth in business establishments, its business formation rate, the number of patents per thousand residents and gross receipts of sole proprietorships and partnerships per capita.

The result is a comprehensive look at the levels of entrepreneurship in each state, said Eric Thompson, UNL associate professor of economics and director of the Bureau.

“The SEI uses a broad group of indicators rather than just raw counts of business starts,” Thompson said. “This ensures that the index reflects sales and innovation among a state’s businesses as well as the business formation rate.”

A state index for each component is assigned based on how much each state’s performance is above or below the average of all state data, which has a value of 1.0. For example, a component one standard deviation above the average gets a value of 2.0, while a component one below is assigned a value of zero. A state’s overall SEI number is the average of the five index values.

For 2010, the latest year for figures, New York’s score was 2.34, thanks to its strong performance in gross receipts per capita and substantial improvement in two other components: growth in establishments and establishments per capita. Washington (2.17), Massachusetts (2.04), New Jersey and Oregon (both at 1.93) completed the top five.

Oregon was the biggest climber in the rankings, to No. 5 from No. 45 in 2008, while Delaware moved up 28 spots to No. 14. The drastic changes were largely caused by growth in establishments and establishments per capita. Kentucky, Texas and Rhode Island also saw marked improvement, jumping 26, 25 and 25 spots, respectively.

South Carolina, with an index of 0.07, was No. 50 and Arizona (0.11) was No. 49, behind Mississippi (0.32), Nevada (0.33) and Alabama (0.41). Nevada, which was No. 7 in previous rankings, highlighted a handful of states that experienced steep drops. Arkansas, Tennessee and Utah also saw significant ranking drops, mostly because of sharp declines in growth of establishments and establishments per capita in those states.

The State Entrepreneurial Index combines detailed data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the IRS Statistics of Income Bulletin, the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Statistical Abstract.

State-by-state rankings are available for download in graphical format at http://go.unl.edu/3sm or in tabular form at http://go.unl.edu/roo.

Released: 8/2/2011
Source: University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Via Newswise

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New July Model Discovery! Joden Tomagan, Very Handsome, Athletic, College Business Major and Model

Joden Tomagan, Photo by Gil Policarpio, Copyright 2011 8PAK.COM, All Rights Reserved

The Editors of 8PAK.COM are most pleased to present our latest July Model Discovery, the very handsome, and athletic, Joden Tomagan.

Joden, who is 21 years of age, is from Virac, Cantanduanes, in the Philippines. He is currently a fourth year college student, working toward his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration.

He stands 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighs 165 lbs. His ready to wear clothing sizes are small to medium, and his shoe size is 9.

Joden’s favorite hobbies and activities include; playing the guitar, net surfing, working out at the gym, and singing. As far as foods, he tells us that he enjoys high protein foods, such as fish and eggs, as well as breast of chicken and vegetables. He says that, “chicken adobo is one of the best foods for me”.

In the entertainment field, he tells us that his favorite actors are Piolo Pascual and Bong Revilla Jr., while his favorite female stars are KC Concepcion and Oprah.

When we asked Joden about his goals in modeling, he replied that; “I want to build my identity and my confidence, and I also would like to be an inspiration to others through my work.”

As far as his longer term career goals, he says that; “I want to be successful in my modeling career, and to continue to develop my skills as an inspirational public speaker.”

When we asked Joden to describe himself in a few words, he responded, ” I am a simple person, who dreams and works toward goals that develop my personality and confidence.” “I am a risk taker who is ready to overcome any obstacles,  and who enjoys working toward improved relationships with others.”

We here at 8PAK.COM are very impressed with Joden! He is not only a very handsome young man, but also has a most engaging personality! His good looks, determination, and excellent modeling abilities, are certain to help him to achieve all of his goals! We predict much success ahead for him!

You can see more of Joden’s Exclusive 8PAK.COM PHOTOS  by Gil Policarpio, in his GALLERY by CLICKING HERE!

Joden Tomagan, Photo by Gil Policarpio, Copyright 2011 8PAK.COM, All Rights Reserved

Economic News; Deloitte Consumer Spending Index Continues Downward

Rising unemployment claims and inflation weaken the outlook on consumer spending

NEW YORK, June 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — The Deloitte Consumer Spending Index (the Index) continued to decline in May, weighed down by a sharp rise in unemployment claims last month. The Index tracks consumer cash flow as an indicator of future consumer spending.

“The labor market indicators are the primary cause of weakness in the Index, however the economy is up against other temporary headwinds that suggest weak growth may persist for the near term,” said Carl Steidtmann, Deloitte’s chief economist and author of the monthly Index. “Rising food and energy prices continue to hurt real wages, which combined with Americans’ insecurities about the job market, compound the pressure on consumer spending.”

The Index, which is comprised of four components — tax burden, initial unemployment claims, real wages, and real home prices — fell to 2.66 percent, from an upwardly revised gain of 3.29 percent a month ago.

“Prices for everyday necessities continue to climb, leaving consumers with fewer discretionary dollars to spend,” said Alison Paul, vice chairman and U.S. retail & distribution sector leader, Deloitte LLP. “As retailers are also challenged by rising prices, they should consider using some of the latest tools and analytics capabilities to more surgically improve margins while keeping prices low on traffic builders. Leveraging their rich transaction data in combination with new advanced analytics techniques can help to maximize sales without alienating loyal consumers. Insights into spending patterns, product preferences and price sensitivities can help retailers apply strategies to respond to a more selective consumer and keep costs in check.”

Highlights of the Index include:

Tax Burden: The tax burden is up slightly, from 9.1 to 10.15 percent from a year ago. A rising tax burden is typically a sign of an improving economy.

Initial Unemployment Claims: After breaking down below the 400,000 barrier from October to March, claims have increased sharply to 432,500. A decline in the labor market puts the current recovery at risk.

Real Wages: In the most recent month, real wage growth contracted by 0.8 percent from a year ago and is being held down by rising energy and food prices.

Real Home Prices: Real home prices continue to decline, albeit at a slightly slower pace. Prices over the past three months have shown some stability but are still down 3.3 percent from a year ago. New home inventories are almost back to normal levels despite record low level of transactions.

SOURCE Deloitte

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