The economy showed some signs of life yesterday as a couple of key economic measures were released.
The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday its pending home sales index rose to 101.7 in July from 99.3 in June, an increase of 2.4 percent and the highest reading since April 2010, the month a federal home-buyer tax credit was due to expire.
The data covers contracts signed on existing homes, not new home building. The housing market is a critical bellwether for the ARM industry and broader economy.
The Commerce Department Wednesday also upwardly revised its initial reading of GDP growth for the second quarter of 2012. The department’s Bureau Economic Analysis (BEA) said that the economy grew at a 1.7 percent rate from April through June, up from its previous estimate of 1.5 percent.
Although higher, the 1.7 percent growth rate still marks a period of tepid economic growth in the first half of 2012 after a robust showing in the fourth quarter of last year. Economists expect similar growth for the rest of the year, averaging around 2 percent, the same growth rate seen in the first quarter of 2012. For unemployment to decline, economists generally say GDP growth should be above 2 percent.