New home sales
decline in December
Sales of new homes fell in December, a drop that missed expectations and signaled the housing market slowed to end the year.
Sales of recently built homes dropped 7 percent from November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 414,000, the Commerce Department said Monday. November’s rate was also revised downward from 464,000 to 445,000.
New home sales had been strong recently despite weakness in other housing market indicators, such as sales of previously owned homes. New home sales fell in all regions except the Midwest, where they rose 17.6 percent from November. Sales dropped 8.8 percent in the West, 7.3 percent in the South, and 36.4 percent in the Northeast.
While December’s data represent a pullback, last year saw renewed interest among home buyers for new construction.
Sales of new homes rose 4.5 percent from December 2012. By year’s end, an estimated 428,000 new homes sold in 2013, 16.4 percent more than the previous year.
Court to consider
pot in workplace
Pot may be legal in Colorado, but you can still be fired for using it. Now Colorado’s Supreme Court has agreed to review a marijuana-related firing in a case that could have big implications for the state’s pot smokers.
The court agreed Monday to review the case of Brandon Coats, a quadriplegic medical-marijuana patient who was fired from his job at Dish Network in 2010 after failing a drug test. The company didn’t allege Coats was ever impaired on the job.
Dish Network argued medical marijuana use isn’t a “lawful activity” covered by a law intended to protect cigarette smokers from being fired for legal behavior off the clock. A Colorado appeals court agreed last year.
A Supreme Court hearing date hasn’t been scheduled.
Card breach doesn’t
change shopper habits
American shoppers say they are very concerned about the safety of their personal information after a massive security breach at Target, but many aren’t taking steps to ensure their data is more secure, says a new Associated Press—GfK Poll.
The poll finds a striking contradiction: Americans say they fear becoming victims of theft after the breach that compromised 40 million credit and debit cards and personal information of up to 70 million customers. Yet they are apathetic to try to protect their data.
In the survey, nearly half of Americans say they are extremely concerned about their personal data when shopping in stores since the breach. Sixty-one percent say they have deep worries when spending online, while 62 percent are very concerned when they buy on their mobile phones.
But just 37 percent have tried to use cash for purchases rather than pay with plastic in response to data thefts like the one at Target, while only 41 percent have checked their credit reports. And even fewer have changed their online passwords at retailers’ websites, requested new credit or debit card numbers from their bank or signed up for a credit monitoring service.