Seventy-six percent of workers drive alone to work. Another 11% carpool, and 5% take public transportation. Average time it takes for people in the nation to commute to work: 25.5 minutes.
More women (26.4 million) work in managerial and professional-related occupations than men (24.7 million).
Of the total American workforce, 10.1 million workers are self-employed and 5.9 million work from home.
There are 16.1 million labor union members nationwide. About 12% of wage and salary workers belong to unions, with Alaska, Hawaii and New York having among the highest rates of any state. North Carolina has one of the lowest rates at 3%.
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Lenders continue to reject borrowers with otherwise good credit when they diverge from the standard approval checklist.
Would-be borrowers facing the most problems include the self-employed.
One reason bankers are so nervous are the standards held out by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Not only are Fannie and Freddie demanding credit scores above 720, they are refusing to buy back defaults when the original mortgage application had small discrepancies from the norm. To avoid losses, lenders are being extra careful.
The result is that some borrowers are being rejected for problems that seem completely inconsequential.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, James R. Hagerty and Nick Timiraos (07/10/10)
First-time homebuyers in 2008 can take an income-tax credit on their purchase, thanks to passage in Congress earlier this year of the first-time home buyer tax credit.
The definition of first-time homebuyer is generous. To get the credit, the homebuyer cannot have owned a home in the previous three years. The home must be a principal residence and purchased between April 9, 2008 and July 1, 2009.
The credit is equal to 10 percent of the purchase price, up to $7,500. Single taxpayers with modified adjusted gross income up to $75,000 and couples with MAGI up to $150,000 will qualify for full credit. Singles with MAGI up to $95,000 and couples with MAGI up to $170,000 will get a reduced amount. Those with higher incomes don’t qualify.
If the amount of tax a homebuyer owes is less than the amount of the credit, they get to keep the difference in the form of an IRS refund.
The homebuyer must begin to repay the credit in two years in increments of about $500 a year over a 15-year period for those who received the full credit
Homebuyers who sell their home before the credit is repaid must pay off the loan with any profits. If they sell the home at a loss, the loan is forgiven.
[Editor’s Note: The credit is set to expire in mid-2009, although industry groups, including the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, are encouraging Congress to extend it. NAR is also encouraging Congress to make the credit available to all buyers and to eliminate the repayment requirement. More detail on how the credit works is available from NAR on REALTOR.org.]
Source: Chicago Tribune, Mary Umberger