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TAB News Briefs
Aug. 6, 2009
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Single Family Construction Spending Grows for First Time in 40 Months
from Builder Online
For the first time in more than three years, spending for single-family construction grew in June on a monthly basis, increasing 2.4 percent compared to May. This translates into a seasonally adjusted level of $93.5 billion, which is 51.1 percent below June 2008's level, according to figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau. It represents the first increase in this category in 40 months, according to Patrick Newport, U.S. economist of IHS Global Insight, who predicts single-family construction will continue to grow in the months to come. More


Amarillo Top in Housing
from The Amarillo Globe News
Housing Predictor calls Amarillo the most promising housing market in the country. But is the Florida-based online real estate research firm right? "I have no idea if it's the hottest market in the country, because I don't know about all the other markets, but I don't doubt that Amarillo's market is going to be relatively strong," said Jim Gaines, a research economist with the Texas A&M University Real Estate Center. More

Hutchison Picks, Chooses Issues on Key Senate Panel
from The Dallas Morning News
Legislation to permit law enforcement to jam prisoners' cellphone calls easily cleared a Senate committee on Wednesday, the latest example of how Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison has used her seniority to push Texas-centric issues that translate directly to her run for governor. More

New Jobless Claims Drop More Than Expected
from The Associated Press via The Dallas Morning News
The number of newly-laid off workers seeking unemployment insurance fell last week, the government said Thursday, fresh evidence that layoffs are easing. The Labor Department said that initial claims for jobless benefits dropped to a seasonally adjusted 550,000 for the week ending Aug. 1, down from an upwardly revised figure of 588,000 in the previous week. More

Despite Guaranty Woes, Texas Banking Still Looks Stable
from The Houston Chronicle
Only one of the 69 banks that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. shut down this year hailed from Texas. That's a far cry from the 1980s banking crisis in which 349 banks closed in Texas and another 79 required additional assistance from the FDIC between 1980 and 1989, according to its data. More

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Perry Quick to Accept Invite to Debate Primary Rival Hutchison
from The Dallas Morning News
Gov. Rick Perry jumped early and accepted two debates for the Republican primary, indicating Tuesday that he is eager to test Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison on state issues and paint her as a Washington insider. The acceptance came even before sponsors of the debates had met with the campaign, established dates or considered venues – and for an election seven months away. More

Petitions for U.S. Worker Green Cards Down Sharply
from The Houston Chronicle
The number of petitions from employers trying to bring foreigners to work permanently in the U.S. has declined dramatically over the last two years, an Associated Press review of government data has found. With the nation facing a deep recession and high unemployment, the government has received about half the number of employer-sponsored applications for work-based green cards in fiscal years 2008 and 2009 than it did in each of the previous years. More

Austin Considers Strengthening Historic Preservation Rules
from The Austin American-Statesman
The Austin City Council will hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 6, and possibly vote on rules that supporters say would make it easier to preserve the character of old neighborhoods. Others say the changes, written at the City Council's request, would impinge on individual property rights, spur neighborhood tiffs and be used as a tool to stall redevelopment of old neighborhoods. More

Cash for Clunkers and the Governor's Race
from The Austin American-Statesman
The U.S. Senate is expected to vote today on extending the "cash for clunkers" program that provides incentives for turning in older cars for newer ones that have better gas mileage. Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison says she will vote against providing more money. Gov. Rick Perry doesn't get a vote, but his campaign told reporters that he also does not think the Senate should extend the program. More

Volunteers Building Home for GI Wounded in Iraq
from TThe Fort Worth Star-Telegram
More than 100 volunteers and workers began construction on a home for Army Spc. Brett Wolf, 25, and his wife, Kelly, about 13 miles northwest of Weatherford as a part of the Homes for Our Troops program. Wolf suffered severe arm and face injuries and his legs were amputated above the knee after the Sept. 11, 2007, blast. More

Government Mortgage Partners Accused of Abuses
from The Associated Press via The Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Billions of dollars the government is spending to help financially pressed homeowners avert foreclosure are passing through - and enriching - companies accused of preying on the people they’re supposed to help, an Associated Press investigation has found. More

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