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In yet another positive economic indicator, the Census Bureau released new data on Wednesday showing energizing news for the housing market.

The housing recovery surged in September, fueled by a rate of home building at its highest point since 2008. Housing starts in the U.S. grew by 15 percent from last month as 872,000 homes began construction. Additionally, building permits for privately-owned houses swelled by 11.6 percent relative to August, at an annual rate of 894,000.

Mortgage rates are now at record lows, and with the third round of quantitative easing (QE3) announced by the Federal Reserve last month — a plan to buy $40 billion in mortgage-backed  securities each month indefinitely — rates will likely remain low in the near future.

The latest report from the Department of Commerce is a boon to the labor market, which will likely see construction jobs slowly tick back to pre-recession numbers. Construction employment suffered particularly as a result of the housing bubble that popped in 2007.

Last week, JPMorgan Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon released a statement expressing newfound confidence in the recovery.

“Importantly, we believe the housing market has turned the corner,” he said. “In our Mortgage Banking business, we were encouraged that credit trends continued to modestly improve.”

Prior to the housing report, U.S. banks were already benefiting from the recovery. The Wall Street Journal wrote, “The recent pickup in home prices and the growing sense that housing has finally bounced off a bottom should increase lending activity.”

Given the huge contribution of real estate to the gross domestic product—as much as 18 percent—a stabilizing housing market has the potential to have significant effect on jobs and the economy.

The strong housing numbers are just the latest recent piece of good economic news; in October alone, unemployment fell to 7.8 percent, jobless claims dropped to their lowest level in four years, and consumer confidence rose to a five year high.

 

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Sen. Ted Cruz

A group of lawyers has submitted a 15-page ethics complaint to the State Bar of Texas demanding an investigation of Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) for his “leading role” in the far-reaching Republican effort to keep former President Trump in power despite his reelection loss.

The complaint — filed by the 65 Project, an organization of lawyers seeking to hold attorneys accountable for lending a hand in pro-Trump efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 elections — called for an examination of Cruz’s conduct in the weeks before Election Day in 2020 and on January 6, 2021, the day of the Capitol insurrection.

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The House Select Committee, a bipartisan congressional panel looking into the Capitol insurrection, sent a letter on Thursday requesting an interview with a House Republican, Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA), who it said led a tour through parts of the Capitol complex on January 5, 2021 — the day before a pro-Trump mob stormed the halls of Congress.

In the letter to Loudermilk, the select committee’s chairman and vice-chairwoman, Reps. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and Liz Cheney (R-WY), said the panel had seen evidence that “directly contradicts” the claim made by Republicans on the Committee on House Administration — “of which you’re a member” — that they had reviewed security footage of the days before the Capitol attack and concluded that “[t]here were no tours, no large groups, [and] no one with MAGA hats on.”

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