Two more pieces of data to add to the economic mix:
-- Builders started work on 5.7 percent more housing units in September than in August, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development report. The number of "housing starts," 594,000 at an annual rate, were still down 5 percent from August 2010. But, The Associated Press notes, the pace was the fastest in 17 months — "a hopeful sign for the struggling housing market."
-- Consumer prices rose 0.3 percent in September from August, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Excluding the volatile food and energy sectors (to get a feel for what the "core" rate of inflation is), prices were up 0.1 percent.
That news about the consumer price index, by the way, means that Social Security recipients will get a 3.6 percent increase in their benefits next near. Their cost-of-living increase is tied to the CPI.