1/ The U.S. economy grew in the third quarter, marking its first increase in 2022 after two straight quarters of decline. GDP, a sum of all the goods and services produced from July through September, increased at a 2.6% annualized pace for the period. However, the inflation-adjusted GDP last quarter was about the same as where it was at the end of 2021. The Commerce Department also reported that consumer spending – which makes up more than two-thirds of the economy – grew but at a slower pace than in the prior quarter, and investments in residential housing fell at an annual rate of about 26%. The Federal Reserve, meanwhile, has raised interest rates five times this year and is set to do so again next week and in December as inflation remains near a 40-year high. (Politico / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / Washington Post / New York Times / CNBC / NPR / CNN)
2/ Mortgage rates topped 7% for the first time in 20 years and is “leading to greater stagnation in the housing market.” A year ago the rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage averaged just over 3%. Mortgage applications, meanwhile, fell 42% from a year earlier despite home prices falling at a record pace. The Case-Shiller home price index showed that single-family home prices decline 2.6 percentage points from July to August – the largest decline in the history of the index, which debuted in 1987. Prices, however, are still up 13% compared to a year ago. Sales of newly built homes dropped nearly 11% in September from August – the fourth time in 2022 that new-home sales fell by 10% or more from the prior month. “As inflation endures, consumers are seeing higher costs at every turn, causing further declines in consumer confidence this month,” Freddie Mac said. “In fact, many potential homebuyers are choosing to wait and see where the housing market will end up, pushing demand and home prices further downward.” (NBC News / NPR / Washington Post / New York Times / Bloomberg / CNN / Wall Street Journal)
3/ Americans die younger in conservative states, while states with more liberal policies are associated with lower mortality rates. Researchers analyzed mortality rates for all causes of death in all 50 states from 1999 to 2019 among adults aged 25 to 64. The study found that states with more liberal policies related to education, health care, gun safety, labor, economic taxes, and tobacco taxes were associated with lower mortality rates among people aged 25 to 64. The analysis simulated changing state policies to fully liberal could have saved more than 171,000 lives in 2019, while changing them to fully conservative may have cost over 217,000 lives. (USA Today / The Guardian / The Hill)
4/ More than 100 lawsuits have already been filed to challenge the Nov. 8 midterm elections that are still 12 days away. The legal challenges, reportedly largely organized by the Republican National Committee and its allies, have targeted mail-in voting rules, early voting, voter access, voting machines, voting registration, how mismarked absentee ballots are counted, and access for partisan poll watchers. The Democrats, meanwhile, have focused their legal efforts on voting access and helping those denied a chance to vote. Meanwhile in Arizona, two people armed with handguns and wearing tactical military gear and face masks showed up at a ballot drop box during early voting last week. (Associated Press / Bloomberg)
poll/ 40% of 18-to-29-year-olds said they will “definitely” vote in the Nov. 8 midterm elections – on pace to match or exceed the record-breaking 2018 youth turnout in a midterm election. Young voters also prefer Democratic control of Congress 57% to 31%, while 12% remain undecided. (Harvard Youth Poll)
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