A jump in sales of previously occupied homes and further gains in home construction suggest the U.S. housing recovery is gaining momentum.
The pair of reports Wednesday follows other signs of steady progress in the housing market after years of stagnation.
We have a real housing recovery taking root, and that has positive implications for the broader economy, said Sal Guatieri, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets.
Sales of previously occupied homes rose 7.8 percent in August from July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.82 million, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday. Thats the highest level since May 2010, when a federal homebuying tax credit boosted sales. Also, U.S. builders broke ground on 2.3 percent more homes and apartments in August than July.
GM offers customers touch-screen help
New-car smell? Check. Shiny paint job? Check. Complex touch screens and audio systems you cant figure out how to use? Check.
These systems are often the biggest source of frustration for new car buyers. So General Motors Co. says its trying hard to make sure customers know how to use the electronic gadgets by training them at dealers and then offering help after a car is sold. The automaker says it will call customers after a purchase to see if they are having problems with the technology and may even make home visits.
The screens and audio systems are so complicated and sometimes work so poorly that they held down the auto industrys overall quality score in this years J.D. Power and Associates initial quality survey. At GM, the touch-screen efforts are part of a push to boost overall quality and make people more likely to return to dealers to buy another GM product.
FDA may review arsenic levels in rice
The Food and Drug Administration may consider new standards for the levels of arsenic in rice as consumer groups are calling for federal guidance on how much of the carcinogen can be present in food.
So far, FDA officials say they have found no evidence that suggests rice is unsafe to eat. The agency has studied the issue for decades but is in the middle of conducting a new study of 1,200 samples of grocery-store rice products – short and long-grain rice, adult and baby cereals, drinks and even rice cakes – to measure arsenic levels.
Rice is thought to have arsenic in higher levels than most other foods because it is grown in water on the ground, optimal conditions for the contaminant to be absorbed in the rice. There are no federal standards for how much arsenic is allowed in food.
T-Mobile appoints new chief executive
T-Mobile on Wednesday named the former CEO of Global Crossing, John Legere, as its new chief executive.
T-Mobile USA, which is based in Bellevue, Wash., is the U.S. cellphone business of Germanys Deutsche Telekom AG. The countrys fourth-largest wireless carrier, it has been struggling to compete against its larger rivals.
The 54-year-old Legere takes over the post from interim CEO Jim Alling. He had served in that position since late June, when former CEO Philipp Humm resigned. Alling will now return to his role as chief operating officer.
Humm had taken the reins in November 2010.