Kenya Lee, RN: The Path to Emotional Empowerment

Life has an unpredictable way of throwing obstacles in our path. For many, navigating these hurdles becomes a testament to their strength, resilience, and the power of transformation. One such story is that of Kenya Lee, RN, founder of Faith In Girls Inc. Her tale isn’t just one of personal triumph but of extending a helping hand to ensure others find their path too.

Born and raised in the bustling city of Detroit, Michigan, Kenya’s early life was marred by challenges typical to an urban childhood. Domestic violence, heartache, and the crippling pain of fetal maternal loss were some of the many battles she faced. Yet, rather than succumbing to these adversities, she harnessed them, transforming her pain into a powerful legacy that now serves as a beacon for countless other women.

Kenya’s career in nursing, spanning over two decades, has been primarily focused on public health nursing and mental health. Her extensive experience has afforded her a unique vantage point, allowing her to witness firsthand the emotional and mental health challenges many women face, especially in urban settings. These insights paired with her personal hardships led her to author “The Path to Emotional Greatness Yielding to Personal Transformation.” This inspirational workbook, a #1 New Release on Amazon, is more than just a recounting of Kenya’s journey. It offers practical strategies for women to achieve mental clarity and emotional well-being.

Kenya Lee, RN

In 2012, Kenya established Faith In Girls Inc. (FIG) with a vision of creating a world where women are emotionally empowered. This non-profit aims to address the glaring gaps in emotional wellness programs and resources available to women, particularly those in urban settings. One of FIG’s upcoming initiatives includes the launch of FIG University’s online course in 4-6 weeks. This course, focusing on emotional greatness, promises to equip women with actionable strategies to enrich their life experiences.

Apart from emotional wellness, FIG has also forayed into tangible empowerment. They have recently partnered with the Detroit Land Bank to rehabilitate homes. This initiative is a testament to Kenya’s commitment to building communities. By offering non-traditional purchase options and reduced home costs, this program ensures that women have a chance at homeownership, laying the foundation for a stable future for them and their families.

For those interested in learning more about FIG and its various initiatives, a fundraiser event is scheduled on August 26th from 4 pm-8 pm at Chroma Detroit, E. Grand Blvd. Attendees can register via Eventbrite at and can also sign up on the website,

Kenya Lee, RN

Kenya’s journey is a testament to the age-old saying, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” From her early days in Detroit to her present role as a women’s empowerment expert, Kenya has shown that with determination, resilience, and the right resources, it’s possible to overcome even the toughest challenges. She’s not just a survivor; she’s a beacon of hope and an embodiment of the transformation she wishes to see in the world. As she continues to forge her path, one message remains clear: Emotional wellness in women is paramount for a productive, fulfilling life.

How TikTok Helps Users Stay Updated on Fashion Week Trends

In an age where digital transformation defines how brands communicate and connect with their audience, TikTok has emerged as a pivotal player in the fashion industry. With its short video format and interactive features, TikTok has become a go-to platform for fashion enthusiasts to showcase and discover the latest trends. For influencers and brands looking to increase their reach, strategies such as finding the best place to buy TikTok likes have proven invaluable in drawing a wider audience. As Fashion Week events unfold in cities like Paris, Milan, and New York, how exactly is TikTok playing a key role in keeping users informed and excited? Let’s dive in.

Rapid Trend Updates in Real-Time

Gone are the days when fashion aficionados had to wait for monthly magazines or websites to update them on the latest runway looks. With its real-time content creation, TikTok ensures that the moment a model steps onto the runway, the look can be uploaded, shared, and made viral. This immediacy allows users to not only view but also react and adapt these trends in their personal style, all within the span of Fashion Week. It’s not just about witnessing the trends; it’s about participating in them, offering an unparalleled dynamic and engaging fashion experience.

Behind-the-Scenes Access

Traditionally, the inner workings of Fashion Week were reserved for the elite – top designers, models, and industry insiders. TikTok, however, has democratized this access. Now, users get a backstage pass, witnessing the buzz and preparations leading up to the big shows. Designers are sharing the creative process, from sketches to final fittings. This kind of insight fosters a deeper connection between brands and their audience, making Fashion Week more inclusive and engaging.

Interactive Challenges and Hashtags

One can’t discuss TikTok without mentioning the power of challenges and hashtags. Many fashion houses and influencers initiate challenges that encourage users to recreate runway looks or add their personal twist to a particular trend. These challenges not only promote brand engagement but also allow for a creative interpretation of the latest styles, making fashion more accessible and fun. It forms a community where everyone from novice fashionistas to established designers can connect and inspire each other, propelling fashion forward in a collaborative way.

Fashion Reviews and Tutorials

For those who are curious about the intricacies of fashion – the fabrics, the cuts, the inspiration behind a collection – TikTok is a gold mine. Numerous fashion bloggers and experts dissect the runway trends, offering reviews and tutorials on how to incorporate these styles into everyday wear. This educational aspect of TikTok ensures that users are not just passive consumers but are empowered to understand and celebrate fashion in its entirety.

Diverse Voices and Perspectives

The beauty of TikTok lies in its global community. As Fashion Week trends are shared and spread, they are also interpreted and showcased by diverse users from different parts of the world. This global perspective ensures that fashion is not seen in a monolithic way but is appreciated for its universal appeal and diverse interpretations. Whether it’s a user from Tokyo giving a streetwear twist to a Parisian look or someone from Nairobi infusing local fabrics into a Milanese design, TikTok celebrates the global language of fashion.

The Business Impact: Brands and TikTok

More than just a platform for expression, TikTok is now a significant business tool for the fashion industry. Brands are utilizing TikTok to create hype before their runway shows through exclusive previews or behind-the-scenes content. They are also partnering with influencers, who play a crucial role in making trends go viral. This isn’t just about brand awareness; it translates into real commercial impact. TikTok’s ‘Shop Now’ feature allows users to directly purchase what they see in videos, turning viewers into customers. For designers and retailers, this is a monumental shift in how fashion is marketed and sold, emphasizing TikTok’s role not just in trendsetting but in industry innovation.


Furthermore, TikTok provides fashion brands with data and insights into consumer behavior. This information is invaluable, as it allows designers and marketers to tailor their collections and campaigns more effectively. They can pinpoint which trends resonate most with the audience and adapt their strategies accordingly. It’s a symbiotic relationship; TikTok gives brands a direct line to the consumer, while the platform itself becomes enriched with high-quality, engaging content that attracts more users. This cycle of interaction and engagement solidifies TikTok as not just a social media app but a pivotal part of the modern fashion industry’s ecosystem.

The Bottom Line

Fashion Week has always been an event that captivates the world. With platforms like TikTok, the allure and grandeur of these events are no longer restricted to a select few. By offering real-time updates, behind-the-scenes glimpses, interactive challenges, comprehensive reviews, and a celebration of diversity, TikTok ensures that Fashion Week is an experience shared, loved, and lived by all its users. As fashion evolves, so do the platforms that showcase it, and TikTok stands as a testament to this beautiful evolution.

How the Exterior of Your Premises Can Influence Your Business’s Image

In the competitive world of business, first impressions often dictate prospective clients’ perceptions. One critical aspect that businesses should not overlook is the exterior appearance of their premises. A well-maintained, aesthetically appealing exterior not only attracts customers but also communicates the organization’s values, attention to detail, and overall professionalism. This guide aims to explore how the exterior of your premises can significantly influence your business’s image and what you can do to ensure it leaves a positive, lasting impression. If you are interested in learning how to leverage the exterior of your premises for brand visibility and customer acquisition, read on! 

Key Elements to Consider for Your Business’s Exterior

When refining the exterior of your premises, there are several visual components to consider. From signage to landscaping, these elements can help create an inviting atmosphere for customers and potential partners alike.

Signage: A well-placed sign is one of the quickest ways to make your business stand out from the competition and effectively market your brand. Quality signage can help customers identify your location from a distance and interact with your business in an intuitive way. This is especially true if you have a unique logo or company name.

Landscaping: Investing in landscaping goes a long way towards improvements to the look of your building’s exterior. From flower beds to shrubbery, sprucing up your outdoor space can help create an inviting atmosphere. Additionally, for businesses located in busy urban areas, landscaping can help soften the visual impact of surrounding concrete and steel structures.

Lighting: Strategic lighting can be used to highlight your business’s entrance or other architectural features. Plus, good lighting can also contribute to a feeling of safety and assurance to customers arriving at your premises after dark.

Painting: A fresh coat of paint can do wonders for the exterior of your building. Not only does it give your business a brand-new look, but it also reinforces the overall professional atmosphere that you are seeking to create.

Find a Siding Contractor to Make Exterior Improvements

Once you have identified the areas of your premises that require improvement, it is time to find a siding contractor. Be sure to conduct thorough research before committing to any contracts or services. Look for reviews from past customers and ask questions regarding an estimated timeline for completion and any extra costs such as cleaning or hauling debris away. You should also do some comparison shopping to ensure you are getting the best value for your money. Whether you decide to consult pros at, for instance, or to look for a local contractor, make sure you find someone who can provide quality workmanship and excellent customer service. Remember that partnering with a siding contractor is an investment in both your business and its image. A professional job done right will leave customers with a lasting impression of your organization’s attention to detail and quality standards.

Maximize Your Brand Visibility Through Pavement Markings

If you have a parking lot, consider maximizing your brand visibility with pavement markings. Companies can get creative by having their logo or company name painted on the asphalt along with arrows directing customers to the entrance of their building. Applying pavement markings is an efficient way to make your business more visible and demonstrate your attention to detail at the same time. 

For instance, consider adding a unique curvilinear edge to your pavement markings to create a more inviting atmosphere and draw customers into the parking lot. This type of design could also be used to separate the parking lanes from other areas such as landscaping or sidewalks.

Exterior of Your Premises

Utilizing Window Displays for Business Promotion

Window displays are another great way to make your business stand out from the competition. Whether it is a storefront or an office building, window displays can be used to showcase products, promote sales and special promotions, or simply express your organization’s values and what it stands for. If you have a physical location where customers often visit, consider displaying items that represent your brand in a visually appealing manner. This will help customers remember your business and encourage them to return in the future. If you are running a promotion, make sure to include key details such as pricing and dates in your window display so that customers can easily access the information.

In conclusion, the exterior appearance of your business premises plays a vital role in shaping the perceptions of customers and visitors alike. It’s crucial to invest time and resources in making the exterior look as professional, inviting, and indicative of your brand as possible. This includes prioritizing signage, landscaping, lighting, painting, and window displays, among other elements. Consider hiring professionals, such as siding contractors, to ensure the job is done right and reflects your business’s high-quality standards. Additionally, innovative practices like pavement markings can further enhance your brand visibility. By paying attention to these details, you will not only attract more customers but also create a lasting, positive impression of your business. Remember, the exterior of your business is often the first interaction a customer has with your brand, make sure it’s a memorable one!

Employee Monitoring and Time Tracking: What Are the Benefits?

Are you looking for an effective way to manage your team while also gaining insights into their workflow? Have you ever thought of leveraging the power of employee monitoring and time-tracking solutions to better understand how productive your business operations are? If so, then this blog post is here to help. In it, we’ll explore the various benefits that can be gained from employee monitoring and time-tracking tools. We’ll examine why they should become a part of integral pieces in any well-rounded business strategy, as well as which features tend to get the most out of employees. Learn all about how these powerful tools can provide valuable information regarding operational efficiency and performance metrics — essential factors in making sure that businesses run smoothly!

Understand Your Employee’s Workload and Performance

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s crucial to keep tabs on your employees’ workload and performance. By effectively monitoring their work, you can ensure their productivity and the quality of their output. Monitoring helps you identify whether employees are overloaded or underutilized, which can impact their morale and work efficiency. Moreover, having access to this information helps with managing workloads and delegating responsibilities. In return, this fosters a healthy work environment and ensures that employees remain motivated to deliver their best work. Through monitoring, you can not only understand their work quality but also utilize their potential better, resulting in better outcomes for your business.

Improve Productivity

As technology advances, we have more tools to help us be productive, but it’s not always easy to know where we should focus our efforts. That’s where detailed tracking of time spent on tasks can come in handy. By tracking your time, you can identify inefficiencies, spot areas for improvement, and ultimately increase your overall productivity. With this information, you can make informed decisions about how to use your time more effectively. Whether you’re trying to meet a deadline or simply want to complete your work more efficiently, tracking your time is an important tool that can help you achieve success.

Use Apps To Track Performance, Payments, etc.

Most organizations now have a variety of apps and tools to track employee performance, payments, and more. These apps provide an efficient way to monitor the progress of your team members and ensure their objectives are being met. When looking for the best app for tracking work hours and pay, consider one that provides detailed tracking, as well as analytics and insights into employee performance. This type of tool can help you identify trends in how your team works and measure productivity over time. By understanding how each person is performing, you can make sure everyone is executing tasks to the best of their ability and addressing any roadblocks they might encounter.

Eliminate Human Error in Record Keeping

Manual record keeping is often prone to errors that can lead to discrepancies between expected time spent on tasks and actual results. By using automated tracking tools, this margin of error can be drastically reduced. Automated time-tracking solutions provide accurate and comprehensive data on how tasks were performed, which can be used to identify potential issues or discrepancies. This can help you take appropriate measures to ensure the accuracy of your records and eliminate any unnecessary mistakes in the future.

Improve Customer Service

Improving customer service is crucial for any successful business. One way to accomplish this is through detailed tracking, which can help companies gain a better understanding of customer demand. With a thorough understanding of what customers want and need, businesses can more effectively allocate resources to meet those requests. By using data to drive decisions, businesses can ensure that they are making the most of their available resources, leading to greater customer satisfaction. Ultimately, if a company can provide excellent customer service, it will reap rewards in terms of customer loyalty, positive word of mouth, and increased revenue.

Eliminate Overtime Abuse

As a business owner, it’s important to take care of your employees by ensuring they are not overworked and exhausted. Eliminating overtime abuse is a crucial factor in achieving this, and accurate tracking of hours worked can play a huge role in achieving it. By tracking employee work hours, you can keep a close eye on overtime instances and intervene when it’s not necessary. It’s not just about saving money; it’s about creating a positive work-life balance for your whole team. Accurate tracking of hours worked is the first step in eliminating overtime abuse and creating a thriving, happy, and healthy work environment.

Increase Employee Engagement

Keeping employees motivated and engaged is crucial for any organization’s success. One effective way to accomplish this is by showing employees that their hard work and effort are appreciated. Everyone wants to feel valued, and recognizing employees’ contributions will make them feel seen and heard. When employees feel appreciated, it boosts their confidence and sense of belonging to the company’s mission. In addition, tracking employees’ efforts accurately helps them see the impact they are making, providing them with a sense of purpose. By implementing these tactics, a company can increase job satisfaction, motivation, and overall engagement among its employees.

Employee Monitoring and Time Tracking

Strengthen Compliance with Labor Laws

Ensuring compliance with labor laws is essential not only for protecting workers’ rights but also for the smooth functioning of any organization. This is why monitoring and enforcement are critical elements of labor laws. It is the responsibility of businesses to follow labor laws to ensure they contribute positively to the economy while providing a healthy and safe work environment for employees. Regular monitoring ensures that businesses comply with labor laws, including minimum wage regulations, working hours, safety standards, and anti-discrimination policies. It also helps eliminate unfair treatment of workers that can lead to exploitation and abuse. Thus, strict and consistent monitoring is crucial to achieving an equitable and just work environment for all.

Monitoring employee performance and time tracking can be beneficial for businesses of all sizes. By understanding your employees’ workloads, improving their productivity, providing better customer service, eliminating overtime abuse, increasing engagement, and strengthening compliance with labor laws, you will have a clear path to success. Implementing an employee monitoring system also allows you to get a better understanding of how employees work, so you can set up goals for improvement and set proper objectives. Additionally, tracking employee hours worked correctly will help to ensure that labor laws are being adhered to at all times. By taking advantage of these benefits, you can maximize the effectiveness of your workforce and increase overall profits.

FedNow might be a double-edged sword

FedNow — Money transfers have evolved into one of the most convenient methods for sending allowances, loans, or salary. Because of advances in technology, there are an abundance of routes for money transfers, such as:

  • Banks
  • Online payment platforms
  • Specialized remittance services

Money transfers can range from local to international, allowing for a variety of financial transactions to be completed. It offers a convenient and efficient method of transmitting money, avoiding the need for real currency. However, not everyone has acclimated to the usage of money transfer services.

While Venmo and Zelle give fast solutions, the financial system has lagged. Most transfers use outdated technologies to handle the money, which might take hours or even days to complete. The Federal Reserve, on the other hand, is striving to change things.

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A new system

Later this month, the Federal Reserve will launch FedNow, a new system that would allow banks to instantaneously transfer domestic payments to one another at any time, from Saturday midnight through holidays.

Although the Fed has not specified a release date, it stated in June that FedNow will be available to the public in late July, after 55 banks, credit unions, and other providers were granted permission to utilize its services. As a result, businesses may instantly fulfill invoices, allowing employees and workers to get their compensation as soon as possible.

While everything appears to be going swimmingly, there are some possible hiccups. Customers, for example, might withdraw their entire balance from a bank in a split second, resulting in a bank run with no time for the government to intervene.

FedNow will begin with a $500,000 per-transaction cap, which might prevent major bank runs. However, it is possible that it will not be low enough to cause comparable runs on smaller banks.


FedNow is simply a network that allows banks to instantaneously move money between themselves and account holders from other banks. The Fed attempted to construct such a network at least twice before, both times failing. However, it appears that the moment has come because various real-time payment networks based on comparable architectures have shown to be effective.

The service’s impact will be determined by how quickly FedNow is adopted and the sorts of payment flows that produce the highest volume. According to Kevin Jacques, a Cota Capital partner, it will be mostly used for business-to-business payments. Meanwhile, customers and individuals might utilize FedNow to make monthly mortgage payments or other bigger payments instead of sending a wire transfer.

“We have a number of regional banks that are limited partner investors in our fund, and we make it a point to talk to the executives at those banks, and they seem to be taking a wait-and-see approach,” Jacques added.

“One thing they have to think through is, should they connect and integrate into FedNow or should they integrate into The Clearing House (a banking association and payment company owned by the largest and oldest commercial banks). It’s going to cost them money to make that integration, so they don’t want to do both.”

Potential downsides

FedNow might cause bank runs, which could be more damaging than a Silicon Valley bank failure. Account holders sought to transfer out $42 billion in other institutions in one day using SVB. Wires are now processed overnight, informing authorities of the amount leaving the bank when the bank shuts. They did, however, have the opportunity to interfere before the bank fell.

“If we switch to a system where that transaction happens instantly, regulators are going to have a lot less time to see what’s going on and to act and intervene,” Jacques explained.

“There will be times where regulators will need to intervene in the future, so our argument is for velocity controls. A lot of thinking should go into the transaction size limits.”

Velocity controls measure and limit the quantity of bank deposits that leave in a certain period of time.

Uncertainty for the Fed

While FedNow appears to be a solution, the Federal Reserve must address other issues, such as the unemployment rate in the United States.

The official unemployment figures released last Friday provided a mixed picture, as payrolls were fewer than projected. This suggests that the employment market slowed in June. That month, employment increases were about 100,000 behind the stronger-than-expected 306,000 in May, and fell short of experts’ estimates of 225,000 jobs. It is also the smallest monthly rise since the December 2020 dip.

According to Rucha Vankudre, senior economist for labor market analytics Lightcast:

“The job growth is slowing, but I don’t actually think that’s necessarily a bad thing. In some ways, this is great. We’re continuing to see the soft landing that we’re hoping for.”

However, uncertainty set in, and while employment growth slowed in June, salary growth remained consistent. The month-on-month growth in average hourly wages remained at 0.4%, the same as in May and 4.4% higher than in 2022.

“Wage growth ticked up and remains well above levels the Fed would be comfortable with in their efforts to bring inflation back to 2%,” said Joseph Davis of VanGuard.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has stated that further wage increases in a tight job market might contribute to inflation being elevated. Meanwhile, markets fell on Friday, wiping out previous gains and finishing the day and week on a sour note.

Student loan forgiveness plan decision presents unique problem

Student loan — The United States was handed a blow on Friday when the Supreme Court decided to overturn President Joe Biden’s student debt relief proposal, which would have erased up to $20,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

Student loans are already likely to consume a substantial amount of budgets in the fall, when payments and interest accruals resume after a nearly three-year hiatus due to the epidemic. Biden also outlined initiatives to make the transition to payment resumption smoother, including the possibility of forgiving some of the debts. The ruling also indicates that outstanding loan sums are larger than they would have been had the court approved Biden’s initiative and payments started.

The White House claims that the student loan reduction proposal would have eliminated all debt for approximately 20 million people (45% of borrowers).

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Cautionary spending

Aside from the stress of student debt for millions of people throughout the country, the decision offers a problem for retailers since it adds another factor to predicting consumer purchasing behavior in the coming months.

With payments resumed, about 40 million Americans with student loans may face another financial challenge, despite their increased prudence. According to several studies, virtually all Americans have reduced their expenditure in some way. Customers, according to various shops, have shifted from high-priced products to lower-priced private-label brands.

The Supreme Court’s ruling comes at a difficult moment, particularly given the implications for shops. Student loan repayment will resume just in time for the busy back-to-school and Christmas seasons.

However, KeyBanc Capital Markets retail analyst Brad Thomas believes the loan adjustments will not determine whether the country enters a recession or not. He did, however, warn that it might have a psychological impact on Americans who are already burdened with hundreds of dollars in other monthly payments.

“It’s enough to potentially give us what could be an ugly and disappointing holiday season, relative to expectations,” said Thomas.

Pressure on consumers and companies

Inflationary pressures have forced Americans to pay more for food and housing, while fears of a recession have exacerbated consumer and business anxieties. Furthermore, government initiatives such as debt relief, which were designed to assist households in dealing with the epidemic, have suffered.

Budgets for programs aimed at low-income households have been boosted, including:

  • Expanded child tax credits
  • A robust Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
  • Stimulus checks

Consumers have spent their money on experiences rather than things since the cash injection ended, adding to the variables that might harm retail sales in 2023.

The suspension in student loan payments, according to Brad Thomas, was part of the pandemic tailwind for shops. Meanwhile, KeyBanc predicted that it might provide a 2% yearly headwind to retail sales in the next year if not compensated by greater incomes or further borrowings. During earnings calls in the spring, many retailers said that lesser tax returns resulted in weaker sales.

The figures vary depending on how much student loan debtors pay each month. The Bank of America Institute predicts that the average afflicted household will have to spend roughly $180 per month. Meanwhile, higher education consultant Mark Kantrowitz estimates that the average monthly price is roughly $350. Finally, KeyBanc has estimated an average monthly payment of $400 to $460.

Kantrowitz stated that there is little evidence on Americans spending money on student loans that they did not utilize, and he is dubious that payment resumption will have a large influence on stores. The analyst emphasized how the total represents only a small portion of the country’s gross domestic product.

“The impact on retailers is, yes, it’s going to be a negative, but it’s not going to be a huge decrease,” explained Kantrowitz. “It is a mild decrease.”

According to Brett House, an economics professor at Columbia University’s business school, the adjustments to student loans are manageable in comparison to the challenges individuals face due to inflation. The House also stated that many Americans had gotten increases after the payments were halted in 2020.

Companies impacted

The student debt relief decision may have a greater impact on certain firms than others. Several of the firms exposed sell discretionary goods. Analysts at Wells Fargo also believe that experience-driven businesses are vulnerable.

Meanwhile, due to their popularity among recent graduates and newly hired people, Barclays identified the following brands as the most vulnerable:

  • American Eagle Outfitters
  • Figs
  • Urban Outfitters

Target has been identified as a store that will be pressured by KeyBanc and many equities research companies. They noticed a decline in sales while attracting young, college-educated clientele.

However, retailers may not have factored in consumers beginning student loan repayments in their estimates for this year, and several large companies in the industry have yet to remark on the potential consequences. At the end of the retail earnings cycle, the decision was made to discontinue the prolongation of the student loan pause.

While some stores may suffer until payments resume, experts and executives are confident that customers will continue to spend money on flights and dining out.

Mortgage rates linger below 7% in latest report

Mortgage — The economy has been on an inconsistent flow since the pandemic, with inflation striking a major blow in 2022. As a result, several industries have also felt the effects of the Federal Reserve’s persistent efforts to curb inflation. Although there have been moments of relief, inflation remains.

One of the most glaring issues in the economic landscape today is the increase in mortgage rates.

On Thursday, it was reported that the rates rose for the third consecutive week. However, one key takeaway from the increasing rates is that it remains under the 7% threshold.

Read also: CPI set to influence the Fed’s 2023 plans for inflation

The news

On Thursday, Freddie Mac released some new data that showed the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaging 6.96% in the week ending August 10. The latest update showed that it had gone higher than the 6.90% from a week earlier. In 2022, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage had been significantly lower at 5.22%.

The Federal Reserve’s historic rate-hiking campaign has led to elevated mortgage rates, bringing home affordability to its lowest level in the past couple of decades.

People looking to buy a home will find it is more financially straining due to the added cost of financing the mortgage. In addition, homeowners who had locked in lower rates are now hesitant to sell. As a result, prospective buyers are stuck in a dilemma of having to deal with low inventory and high costs.

Since the end of May, rates have continued to rise above 6.5%. The recent average rate is on-level at a peak since November.

“There is no doubt continued high rates will prolong affordability challenges longer than expected,” said Freddie Mac.

“However, upward pressure on rates is the product of a resilient economy with low unemployment and strong wage growth, which historically has kept purchase demand solid.”

To elaborate, the average mortgage rate is derived from the mortgage applications Freddie Mac receives from a number of lenders across the United States. The survey covers borrowers who have excellent credit scores and put 20% down.

Employment and inflation data

After the Federal Reserve pointed out that it relied on jobs and inflation data during its July monetary policy meeting, the rate stayed elevated this week.

Markets were eager to see the July inflation report released on Thursday morning, which showed that inflation soared to 3.2% annually compared to the 3% annual increase in June. The recent update indicated that it was the first time inflation picked up since 2022. In addition, the data showed shelter costs contributing 90% of the total increase in inflation last month.

“July’s Consumer Price Index holds significant importance for the Fed’s upcoming decision,” said economist Jiayi Xu.

Xu added that the faster pace of price increases could fuel the Fed’s concern that inflation will continue to linger longer than expected. The Federal Reserve will also take the upcoming August employment and inflation data into consideration before the next policy meeting in September.

Furthermore, Xu noted that the latest jobs report provided mixed signals regarding the labor market as a smaller number of net new jobs were added while the unemployment rate dipped.

“While July’s jobs report itself is very unlikely to have a direct impact on the Fed’s upcoming decision, the decline to a 3.5% unemployment rate may imply that more significant slowing is needed to align with the Fed’s projected year-end rate of 4.1%,” she said.

Mortgage affordability problems persist

Keeping Current Matters chief economist George Ratiu said that borrowing costs will stay high until financial markets receive an “all clear” signal from the Federal Reserve.

Although the Fed isn’t responsible for setting the interest rates that borrowers pay directly on mortgage, they are still a prominent influence. For example, mortgage rates track the yield on 10-year US Treasuries that move based on anticipation of the Fed’s actions, what they do, and investors’ reactions.

Mortgage rates rise when Treasury yields shoot up, and they follow suit when they go down.

Ratiu said that mortgage rates are currently running higher than they should be in relation to the 10-year Treasury. He also pointed out that the spread between the 30-year fixed rate mortgage and the 10-year Treasury is around 300 basis points. The level has been scarcely seen in the past 50 years, mostly showing up during high inflation and economic turbulence.

“In the absence of the elevated risk premium and hewing closer to a historical average of 172 basis points, today’s 30-year fixed mortgage rate would be around 5.7%,” said Ratiu.

The Mortgage Bankers Association said that homebuyers are still sensitive to elevated interest rates, alluding to a drop in mortgage rates applications last week.

“Due to these higher rates, there was a significant pullback in mortgage application activity,” said MBA president and CEO Bob Broeksmit. “Both prospective buyers and sellers are feeling the squeeze of higher rates as well as low housing inventory, which has prompted a pronounced slowdown in activity this summer.”

George Ratiu said that sales of existing homes have been lagging despite real estate markets benefiting from more people getting employed and receiving improved paychecks this year.

“The challenge comes mainly from too many buyers chasing not enough available properties,” he added.

With history as his reference, Ratiu noted that mortgage rates usually cool off once inflation subsides, experiencing a six-to-eight-month lag.

Theaters are witnessing a new revival in 2023

Theater  — There has been a shift in the box office, which is seeing Marvel and Disney losing its grip on the audience’s attention. While the entertainment titan’s grip on the industry had been strong for over a decade, two movies have come out on top, yielding a power and excitement that hadn’t been felt in a long time.

Barbie and Oppenheimer have both dominated the online world for weeks in anticipation of their premiere, and once they came out to theaters, the two movies quickly became the queen and king of cinema. Such is their power that they have dominated the box office, raking in jaw-dropping revenue..

Read also: 3 ways the Fed’s latest hike rate can affect you

Barbeinheimer on its second week

Social media dubbed the double premiere of the Greta Gerwig and Christopher Nolan films as “Barbenheimer,” which quickly gained traction months ago. And so far, Barbenheimer has lived up to its hype, even as it went into the second weekend.

“Weekend two proves the outpouring of interest in ‘Barbie’ and ‘Oppenheimer’ a week ago was not a fluke,” said Comscore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian.

“Both films put up second weekend numbers that would have been considered solid as debuts and reflect two of the best sophomore session holds in box office history.”

Barbie enjoyed continued success, with domestic screenings raking in $93 million in gross revenue. Internationally, it brought in over $122 million, which saw the film become the No. 1 release worldwide.

The Margot Robbie-led film is the largest domestic second weekend performance for studio Warner Bros.

Meanwhile, Oppenheimer continued to hit high numbers. According to estimates from media analytics company Comscore, the Cillian Murphy-led film had a domestic total of $46 million. As a result, Oppenheimer has generated a worldwide total of almost half a billion dollars.

Distributor Universal estimated that the film would become director Christopher Nolan’s largest non-superhero film of all-time across 40 regions. It is also tipped to be his biggest film ever in 28 regions.

The amount of revenue Barbenheimer is bringing in indicates that there is renewed energy, excitement, and appetite for the movie theater experience after the pandemic prompted many studios to resort to streaming.

“Barbenheimer was never going to happen on your TV,” said National Association of Theater Owners president and CEO Michael O’Leary.

“You have to go into the theater to experience it.”

A rejuvenated box office and lively theaters

While the hype surrounding Barbenheimer has been a massive boost to revenues, repeat viewings have also contributed to the box office earnings.

According to midwest-based chain B&B Theaters, more than 2,100 people watched Barbie in the last two weekends while almost 500 returned for Oppenheimer across its 55 theaters.

For most people, Hollywood and the movie industry are one and the same.O’Leary noted that the United States has always had a sense of a strong movie theater culture.

Following the pandemic’s disastrous impact on theaters and public screenings, he said that people are eager to sit in a theater with a world-class projection screening the movie, surrounded by an atmospheric sound system, and enjoying an immersive experience with others.

O’Leary also said that Barbie and Oppenheimer will only trigger more people to return to the theaters by reminding them of how good the theatrical experience can be.

“It’s a reawakening,” he added.

“At their core, consumers want to go see a compelling story, they want to be entertained,” explained O’Leary. “If stories resonate with people… they tell other people.”


The reception for Barbie and Oppenheimer has been overwhelmingly positive, but analysts have also chalked up a line that could hinder the momentum. As the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes continue, the financial successes are still overshadowed.

“There’s pressure to resolve (these labor disputes) because the possibility of revenue is built on the foundation of having movies and actors to promote them,” explained Dergarabedian.

“For now we have high-profile films, but that pool will be drying out.”

Furthermore, the production limbo created by a lack of negotiations on the studios’ side is creating a domino effect which could see the release date for several projects to be postponed. Boxoffice Pro chief analyst Shawn Robbins said that for the second half of 2023 and the entirety of 2024, theater chains would have to keep a “weather eye on the horizon for problems beyond their control.”

“While it’s important to celebrate the good times right now and realize they can be a barometer for the future, it’s just as important to recognize the fight for equality by so many who play a part in creating the content we see on our screens, large and small,” Robbins added.