Existing home sales in the region increased 23.9 percent in July, compared with the same period a year ago, a report Thursday from the Upstate Alliance of Realtors showed.
Upstate, which tracks data from Allen, Adams, DeKalb, Huntington, Noble, Wells and Whitley counties, said 751 homes sold last month, up from 606 in July 2012. The average July sale was $129,913, a 2 percent decrease from $132,518 in the same month last year.
Local real estate agents have attributed brisk home sales this year to rising customer confidence and low mortgage rates.
Indiana sets record for exports in 2012
Indiana set a state record last year for exports, selling a total of $34.4 billion in goods to customers outside the U.S., the Indiana Business Research Center announced Thursday.
The Hoosier States 6.6 percent annual growth in exports was 50 percent higher than the national export growth rate of 4.4 percent, IU officials said. As a region, Midwestern experts increased by 6.1 percent in 2012 as compared to 2011.
Relatively speaking, exports are more important to Indiana than other states: Its dependency on exports ranks 11th nationally, the research center said in a news release announcing the release of Global Positioning: State of Indianas Export Activity, 2013.
Canada is the largest customer of Indiana-made products, accounting for $11.9 billion of the states exports last year. Vehicles and parts continue to be the largest category of goods that Canadian customers buy from Indiana, the report said.
Manufacturing output slips 0.1 percent
Output at U.S. factories declined slightly in July, reflecting a drop in auto production. The decline was expected to be temporary given the banner sales year automakers are having.
Manufacturing output edged down 0.1 percent in July compared with June, the Federal Reserve reported Thursday. It was the first drop since declines in March and April.
Julys weakness reflected a 1.7 percent fall in the output of motor vehicles and parts. That decline should be reversed in coming months as automakers ramp up production for the new model year.
Consumer prices up, inflation stays mild
U.S. consumer prices rose only slightly last month as gas costs increased more slowly. Overall, the figures showed that inflation remains mild.
The Labor Department said Thursday that the consumer price index rose 0.2 percent in July after a 0.5 percent increase in June. Gas prices rose just 1 percent after jumping 6.3 percent in June. Excluding food and gas costs, which are volatile, core prices also rose 0.2 percent in July.
Over the past 12 months, consumer prices have risen 2 percent. Core prices have increased 1.7 percent in the past 12 months, still below the Federal Reserves 2 percent inflation target.
Fewest since 2007 seek jobless benefits
The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits dropped 15,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 320,000, the fewest since October 2007 – a sign of dwindling layoffs and steady if modest job growth.
The Labor Department said Thursday that the less volatile four-week average fell 4,000 to 332,000, the fewest since November 2007 and the fifth straight decline.