Roundup: $90M sawmill project / US home sales / Banking industry 

    Project projections: Plans are moving forward for a $90 million dollar sawmill project that could bring nearly 100 jobs to St. Helena Parish. The new sawmill is expected to employ 95 workers full time by 2022 and create 120 construction jobs at the site near Greensburg, according to state economic development documents. Florida Parishes Forest Products LLC filed an economic incentive agreement with the state in early August, including a request that would exempt the mill from property taxes for up to its first 10 years. Read the full story. 

    July gain: Sales of new homes jumped again in July, rising 13.9% as the housing market continues to gain traction following a spring downturn caused by pandemic-related lockdowns. The Commerce Department reported today that July’s gain propelled sales of new homes to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 901,000. That’s a far bigger number than analysts had expected and follows big increases in May and June. The government report has a high margin of error, so the July figures could be revised in the coming months. Read the full report. 

    Profits decline: The U.S. banking industry’s second quarter profits fell by 70% from a year ago, the FDIC said this morning, as low interest rates and the economic turmoil of the COVID-19 pandemic weighed heavily on big and small banks alike. Total bank profits across 5,066 insured institutions were $18.8 billion, compared with profits of $62.5 billion in the same period a year ago. This was the second consecutive quarter of steep profit declines as banks set aside billions to cover potentially bad loans back in April. Read the full report.