Housing starts were up 2.3 percent last month.
Housing starts were up 2.3 percent last month. - 
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The U.S. housing market: blooming... if not booming. U.S. existing home sales in August hit the highest level in more than two years -- up almost 8 percent. And home-builders started 750,000 houses last month (that's the seasonally adjusted number).  It's up 2.3 percent from the month before and up almost 30 percent from a year ago.

American Airlines is warning about 11,000 workers of possible job losses as a result of restructuring after the company filed for bankruptcy. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal this morning took a look at American's flight performance for the first few days this week, and it's bad: a third to half of their flights are arriving late. This week, American is also phasing in new work rules its pilots don't like much but the pilots' union denies its members are engaging in a work slow-down.

It's back-to-school today in Chicago. In the next couple of weeks, teachers will vote on the tentative contract deal reached between the union, negotiators for the school district and Mayor Rahm Emmanuel.

If you're not intimately familiar with the term "mobile payments," get ready to start hearing it a lot more. Basically, it means "paying for something with a smartphone." Right now, some of its biggest players are Google and a company called "Square." But today, there's news that Groupon (of "Daily Deal" fame) is getting in on it.

As part of our coverage of what matters to voters this election year -- we call it "The Real Economy" -- we've been visiting Loudoun County in the swing state of Virginia. The Census Bureau says it's one of the richest counties in the country, but not all residents weathered the recession the same.

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Follow Jeff Horwich at @jeffhorwich