[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/money/2009/08/20/news/companies/dvd_recall_walmart/walmart_durabrand_dvd_player.03.jpg caption="The CPSC and Wal-Mart recalled 1.5 million Durabrand DVD players because they have overheated and burst into flames."]
CNN Financial News Producer
The number of Americans who have fallen at least 30 days behind on their home loan payments inched up slightly between the first and second quarters of 2009, but jumped 44% compared on an annual basis.
That puts delinquencies at a record 9.24% of mortgages, according to the National Delinquency Report from the Mortgage Bankers Association. That represents more than 4 million of the 45 million borrowers covered by the report.
What the rate does not include, however, are loans already in foreclosure. Some 4.3% of all the mortgages are in that stage, up from 3.85% three months earlier and 1.55% from one year ago.
The combined percentage of loans past due and those already in foreclosure hit 13.16% during the quarter, the highest ever recorded by the MBA survey.
Weekly jobless claims rise
The number of Americans filing initial claims for unemployment insurance rose by 15,000 last week, surprising economists.
The Labor Department says the number of new jobless claims rose to a seasonally adjusted 576,000 last week, from a revised figure of 561,000.
Meanwhile, the number of people continuing to get benefits for one week one more rose by 2,000 to 6.24 million.
Workplace fatalities decline, suicides jump
This is something of a “good news, bad news, really bad news” story…
On-the-job fatalities dropped in 2008 - in part because the ongoing recession kept millions of workers at home.
Fatal work injuries totaled 5,071 in 2008, a 10% drop from 5,657 deaths the prior year.
The steepest declines were in the construction industry, in which fatalities declined 20% to 969 from 1,204 in 2007. In the sub-category of residential building construction, fatalities dropped even further, by 28%, to 93 deaths.
Workplace suicides, however, rose 28% to 251 deaths in 2008, the biggest increase since the bureau began tracking this information in 1992.
Wal-Mart recalling 1.5 million DVD players due to fire hazard
Wal-Mart is recalling about 1.5 million Durabrand DVD players because of a potential for the device to burst into flames, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said today.
Wal-Mart received 12 complaints of the DVD players overheating; in five of the cases, the overheating caused a fire that damaged property, according to a statement from the CPSC. No injuries have been reported.
The DVD players, imported from China, were sold at Wal-Mart stores from January 2006 through July 2009 for $29.
Consumers should stop using the DVD player immediately and return it to Wal-Mart for a full refund.
“Clunkers” headed for the junk yard
“Cash for Clunkers,” the successful federal program that has brought car buyers back to showrooms, is about to be scrapped. The Department of Transportation says the program will come to an end on Monday, August 24th at 8 p.m. EDT.
Auto dealers, among the biggest supporters of the program, are pulling out in large numbers, worried that they won't be reimbursed for the up to $4,500 they have advanced to each customer who trades in an old gas guzzler for a more fuel efficient model.
Dealers are complaining that slow processing of paperwork by the Department of Transportation has put them in a cash flow bind, requiring them to advance more than $1 billion so far.
They also worry that the delays in processing their applications could mean there are far more deals in the pipeline, a problem since the $3 billion allocated to “Cash for Clunkers” is already close to being exhausted.
According to the most recent DOT figures, there have been more than 457,000 deals so far, with claims of nearly $2 billion.
Gas prices drop
Gas prices declined 4-tenths of a cent to $2.624. This is the sixth consecutive decline.
The average price of a gallon of regular unleaded is down $1.49 (or 36.2%) from the record high price of $4.114 that AAA reported on July 17, 2008.
The highest gas prices are in Hawaii ($3.257). The cheapest are in South Carolina ($2.402).
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