The National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) is a monthly composite index that tracks the health of and the outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry.
The RPI stood at 101.0 in July, down from 101.3 in June. The above-100 reading indicates economic expansion in the restaurant sector, but at a slower pace. This is the 17th consecutive month the index has been in expansion.
The Current Situation Index stood at 100.7, down from 101.3, and was its 5th consecutive month in expansion. The Expectations Index stood at 101.2, down from 101.7, and was in expansion for the 21st consecutive month.
Total miles traveled on all roads and streets were an estimated 261.7 billion miles in June, the U.S. Department of Transportation reports. This is a 1.4% increase from the 258.0 billion miles traveled in June of 2013.
The rolling 12 month total of vehicle miles driven is 2.973 trillion miles. That is 2.2% below the high of 3.039 trillion miles in November of 2007.
The map from the release shows that, year over year, travel increased in all five U.S. regions in June.
Total U.S. construction spending during July was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $981.3 billion. That is 1.8% above the revised June estimate, and 8.2% above the July 2013 estimate.
Private residential construction spending was at an annual rate of $358.1 billion, which is 0.7% above the prior month and 8.0% above the same month a year ago.
Private nonresidential construction was at an annual rate of $343.6 billion, which is 2.1% above the prior month and 14.1% above the same month a year ago.
Public construction spending was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $279.7 billion, which is 3.0% above the prior month and 2.1% above the same month a year ago.
In the middle of a savage civil war, a team of scientists in Syria has been quietly rescuing tiny bits of a global treasure: seeds with genetic roots running back to the beginning of civilization.
Most of the seeds, which could prove crucial to feeding millions of people as the world’s climate warms and deserts spread along with pests and diseases, are now in safe storage behind heavy steel doors, deep in a mountainside in Norway’s High Arctic.
The struggle to rescue the Syrian seeds is part of a worldwide effort to preserve and nurture the genetic heritage of plants that feed us today, along with strains abandoned by commercial farmers long ago or others that only grow wild.
Norway’s ‘Doomsday Vault’ holds a priceless treasure: Seeds
Here’s how it could play out, according to Silvercrest’s Chovanec.
“When property developers can’t get more credit, they have to slash prices to unload their unsold inventories (and pay back their debts), which gives investors second thoughts about whether to continue plowing their money into property,” he said.
“Sales dry up, prices fall, new [housing] starts dry up, construction dries up, sales of construction equipment, concrete, and steel dry up, land sales dry up, local government revenues disappear and they can’t pay their debts … in other words, falling asset prices undercut the basis for both past and future lending, and you’ve got a real system-wide problem,” Chovanec added.
China real-estate: A bubble bursting
In late 2008, financial stress became widespread and perceptions of risk hit new highs. Concerns related to contagion among countries also had an increasing effect on premiums and increased the financing cost for many economies. The response to this problem was austerity – to stress the importance of getting the fiscal situation, and thereby the levels of debt of those countries with this problem, under control.
The returns to that effort, however, remain obscure. For example, some countries with increasingly large debt-to-GDP ratios benefit from historically low risk premiums, while several countries that applied radical measures to reduce their public debt still have to finance their debt at very high interest rates. France, for example, has a public-debt-to-GDP ratio that is expected to reach 91.8% in 2014. In July 2014, the country raised nearly €3.4 billion in ten-year bonds at the historically low rate of 1.77%.
Structural reform lowers country risk
“Temp jobs really don’t do much for you,” he said, complaining about the lack of benefits. “I get only 20 to 25 hours a week — they keep telling me things are going to pick up.” Mr. Fields, 45, had started with 40 hours a week, but now his part-time hours make it hard for him to support his wife, who has returned to school, and their 8-year-old son.
“Everywhere I look for jobs today, it’s all temporary,” Mr. Fields said. “The temporary agencies have picked up all the contracts.”
Steven Greenhouse - The Changing Face of Temporary Employment