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FYI

Briefly.....

With economic uncertainty and U.S. gas prices at their highest point ever, consumers are curtailing vacations and fun travel in favor of more staycations – good news for casual retailers. It’s a good time to encourage investment in their backyard oasis, something that will be here long after the gas has gone. According to Casual Living’s exclusive 2007 Consumer Buying Trends Survey, several consumers are doing just that — more than one-half of responding households with incomes of $75,000 or more purchased five-piece outdoor dining sets while 44% purchased landscape lighting, 38% bought a firepit/outdoor fireplace and nearly one-fifth obtained lamps.

Unemployment
Seasonally adjusted annual rate

National 2008
May 5.5%
April 5.0%


Consumer credit outstanding
Percent change at annual rate
Seasonally adjusted

2007 2008
Q2 Q3 Q4r Q1r Feb.r Mar.r Apr.p
r = revised; p = preliminary
Total 5.6% 8.2% 3.9% 5.1% 3.4% 6.2% 4.2%
Revolving 6.8 8.6 8.2 6.8 5.3 7.4 0.4
Nonrevolving 4.9 7.9 1.3 4.1 2.2 5.5 6.5


Covers most short- and intermediate-term credit extended to individuals, excluding loans secured by real estate.

Nonrevolving credit includes automobile loans and all other loans not included in revolving credit, such as loans for mobile homes, education, boats, trailers or vacations. These loans may be secured or unsecured.

Source: Federal Reserve

Housing
Unit Number in Thousands
Seasonally adjusted annual rate

Permits United States Northeast Midwest South West
April ’08 numbers are preliminary
Source: Bureau of the Census and National Assn. of Realtors
April ’08 978 109 160 493 216
Change from Apr. ’07 -34.3% -32.7% -29.2% -32.9% -41.0%
Starts
April ’08 1,032 89 158 516 269
Change from Apr. ’07 -30.6% -45.4% -23.7% -29.5% -30.1%
New home sales
April ’08 526 34 73 289 130
Change from Apr. ’07 -42.0% -58.0% -39.7% -41.7% -37.8%
Existing home sales
April ’08 4,890 870 1,100 1,920 1,000
Change from Apr. ’07 -17.5% -14.7% -19.7% -18.6% -15.3%


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