U.S. Unemployment Falls To 7%

WASHINGTON - A fourth straight month of solid hiring cut the U.S. unemployment rate in November to a five-year low of 7 percent. The surprisingly robust job gain suggested that the economy may have begun to accelerate.

It also fueled speculation that the Federal Reserve will scale back its economic stimulus when it meets later this month.

Employers added 203,000 jobs last month after adding 200,000 in October, the Labor Department said Friday. November’s job gain helped lower the unemployment rate from 7.3 percent in October.

The economy has now generated a four-month average of 204,000 jobs from August through November. That’s up from 159,000 a month from April through July.

U.S. Added Surprisingly Strong 204,000 Jobs In October

The U.S. added a surprising 204,000 jobs in October, meaning private-employer hiring much more than offset the effect on jobs from the 16-day government shutdown.

“Maybe the government should be shut down more often,” said Kenneth Mayland, economist at Clearview Economics, Pepper Pike, Ohio.

The Labor Department on Friday also revised September and August job gains by a combined 60,000.

The unemployment rate rose to 7.3 percent last month from 7.2 percent in September, said the agency.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/5031098-74/jobs-added-government#ixzz2k4vUYkAe 
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Signs Of Declining Economic Security Widespread

President Barack Obama announces the Economic ...

President Barack Obama announces the Economic Recovery Advisory Board. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WASHINGTON — Four out of five U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.

Survey data exclusive to The Associated Press points to an increasingly globalized U.S. economy, the widening gap between rich and poor and loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs as reasons for the trend.

The findings come as President Barack Obama tries to renew his administration’s emphasis on the economy, saying in recent speeches that his highest priority is to “rebuild ladders of opportunity” and reverse income inequality.

Hardship is particularly on the rise among whites, based on several measures.  Pessimism among that racial group about their families’ economic futures has climbed to the highest point since at least 1987.  In the most recent AP-GfK poll, 63 percent of whites called the economy “poor.”

Read more:  http://www.timesleader.com/news/news/710055/Signs-of-declining-economic-security-widespread

U.S. Economy Creates 195K Jobs In June

U.S. employers stepped up hiring in June, adding 195,000 jobs, above the median forecast in a Reuters poll, Labor Department data showed on Friday.

The unemployment rate held steady at 7.6 percent.

Economists were expecting 165,000 new jobs last month, according to a Reuters survey, slightly below the 175,000 positions created in May.  The government on Friday revised payrolls for April and May to show 70,000 more jobs created than previously reported.

The increase could draw the Federal Reserve closer to implementing a plan to start scaling back its massive monetary stimulus later this year.

Read more: http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/breaking/chi-june-jobs-report-20130705,0,1426956.story#ixzz2YCIf6SLc
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Gas Prices Soar Across U.S.

WASHINGTON – The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline has jumped 45 cents in the past 31 days, according to AAA, the fastest run-up since 2005.

Retail gasoline prices have climbed for 33 days in a row.  A month ago, a gallon of regular gasoline cost $3.30; on Tuesday it stood at $3.75 nationwide.

Gasoline prices have risen to within a nickel of $4 a gallon in the District of Columbia as pump prices nationwide have been marching higher – the result of refinery closures and maintenance, lower oil production by Saudi Arabia, market anxiety about tensions in Iran and Iraq, and guarded optimism about the prospects for economic recovery in the United States, Europe and China.

Read more:  http://business-news.thestreet.com/the-mercury/story/gas-prices-soar-across-us/1

U.S. Consumer Sentiment Improves In February On Job Outlook

NEW YORK, Feb 15 (Reuters) – U.S. consumer sentiment improved in February, buoyed by signs of increased hiring, though worries heightened about a decline in future income, a survey released on Friday.

The Thompson Reuters/University of Michigan’s preliminary reading on the overall index of consumer sentiment rose to 76.3 from 73.8 in January, topping economists’ forecasts of 74.8.

The barometer of current economic conditions rose to 88 from 85, while the gauge of consumer expectations rose to 68.7 from 66.6.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-allentown-us-economy-20130215,0,6427243.story

Confidence On Upswing, Mergers Make Comeback

The mega-merger is back.

For the corporate takeover business, the last half-decade was a fallow period.  Wall Street deal makers and chief executives, brought low by the global financial crisis, lacked the confidence to strike the audacious multibillion-dollar acquisitions that had defined previous market booms.

Cycles, however, turn, and in the opening weeks of 2013, merger activity has suddenly roared back to life.  On Thursday, Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate run by Warren E. Buffett, said it had teamed up with Brazilian investors to buy the ketchup maker H. J. Heinz for about $23 billion.  And American Airlines and US Airways agreed to merge in a deal valued at $11 billion.

Those transactions come a week after a planned $24 billion buyout of the computer company Dell by its founder, Michael S. Dell, and private equity backers.  And Liberty Global, the company controlled by the billionaire media magnate John C. Malone, struck a $16 billion deal to buy the British cable business Virgin Media.

Read more:  http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2013/02/14/confidence-on-upswing-mergers-make-comeback/?hp

House, Senate Approve ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Bill

Official portrait of United States House Speak...

Official portrait of United States House Speaker (R-Ohio). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  Well it’s about damn time!

WASHINGTON — Congress’ excruciating, extraordinary New Year’s Day approval of a compromise averting a prolonged tumble off the fiscal cliff hands President Barack Obama most of the tax boosts on the rich that he campaigned on.  It also prevents House Republicans from facing blame for blocking tax cuts for most American households, though most GOP lawmakers parted ways with Speaker John Boehner and opposed the measure.

Passage also lays the groundwork for future battles between the two sides over federal spending and debt.

Capping a holiday season political spectacle that featured enough high and low notes for a Broadway musical, the GOP-run House voted final approval for the measure by 257-167 late Tuesday.  That came after the Democratic-led Senate used a wee-hours 89-8 roll call to assent to the bill, belying the partisan brinkmanship that colored much of the path to the final deal.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=440254

Senate Leaders To Make Last-Ditch ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Effort

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama and U.S. congressional leaders agreed on Friday to make a final effort to prevent the United States from going over the “fiscal cliff,” setting off intense bargaining over Americans’ tax rates as a New Year’s Eve deadline looms.

With only days left to avoid steep tax hikes and spending cuts that could cause a recession, two Senate veterans will try to forge a deal that has eluded the White House and Congress for months.

Obama said he was “modestly optimistic” an agreement could be found.  But neither side appeared to give much ground at a White House meeting of congressional leaders on Friday.

What they did agree on was to task Harry Reid, the Democratic Senate majority leader, and Mitch McConnell, who heads the chamber’s Republican minority, with reaching a budget agreement by Sunday at the latest.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/local/sns-rt-us-usa-fiscalbre8a80wv-20121109,0,6642146.story

Gas Prices Falling This Holiday Season

Falling gas prices have brought a little bit of holiday cheer at the gas pump where many in the region had grumbled while the price of unleaded hovered around the $4 mark.

The average price of unleaded regular has dropped to $3.75 a gallon in the Buffalo area, down from $3.89 a month ago, according to GasBuddy.com, which tracks gas price trends across the country.  Nationally, the average price was down to $3.27 a gallon as of Saturday.

The downward trend can be attributed to two things, according to Gregg Laskoski, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/business/sns-mct-gas-prices-falling-this-holiday-season-20121216,0,1755611.story

Economy Remains Issue That Will Occupy U.S. Lawmakers, Several Observers Note

A nasty election season that ends with close results is not going to clear the muddy waters of American political discourse.

Many people likely thought that on Wednesday as the nation once again focused on serious yet divisive problems like the national debt and implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

The election gave President Barack Obama a second term but left control of the Senate and the House divided between Democrats and Republicans.

“The public re-upped on divided government,” said Glenn W. Richardson Jr., an associate professor of political science at Kutztown University.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=426030

More Expensive Gas Pushes US Consumer Prices Up

WASHINGTON (AP) – Higher gas costs drove up U.S. consumer prices in September for the second straight month.  Outside energy, there was little sign of inflation.

The Labor Department said Tuesday that the consumer price index rose a seasonally adjusted 0.6 percent last month, matching the August increase.  In the past 12 months, prices have increased 2 percent.  That’s in line with the Federal Reserve’s inflation target.

Excluding volatile food and energy costs, prices rose just 0.1 percent.  In the past year, so-called core prices have increased 2 percent.

Read more: http://business-news.thestreet.com/the-times-herald/story/more-expensive-gas-pushes-us-consumer-prices/1

Target Steals Title Of ‘Cheapest’ From Wal-Mart

English: Logo of Target, US-based retail chain

English: Logo of Target, US-based retail chain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  There is a very good video to watch if you click on the link below.

For the first time since October, Target gas reclaimed the title  of  “cheapest” from its fellow big-box retailer, Bloomberg reported, and the gap was the biggest its been in the two years the difference has been tracked.

That’s especially important in today’s economy, as cheap is exactly what consumers are looking for.  High unemployment, coupled with rising gas and food prices, means customers are as cash-conscious as ever.  And while retail sales finally improved in July, that was one of the first good signs for the sector in months.

Both companies have thus been trying to lure in those penny-pinching customers with discounts and slashed prices. The key to Target’s success in the pricing department  came from the addition of groceries to many stores, which cut into Wal-Mart‘s advantage on food prices.  The company has also added discount incentives through its REDCard.

Read more: http://money.msn.com/top-stocks/post.aspx?post=84caede6-927a-488e-842c-322ae9654306

Sparrows Point Purchased For $72 Million By Plant Liquidator

Steel mill workers were hoping for an operator, but none show at auction

BETHLEHEM STEEL PLANT AT SPARROWS POINT - NARA...

BETHLEHEM STEEL PLANT AT SPARROWS POINT – NARA – 546808 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A liquidation firm won the bidding for Sparrows Point, offering $72 million for the Baltimore County steel mill — less than a tenth of what the complex sold for just four years earlier — and realizing the worst fears of its roughly 2,000 employees.

Mill advocates vowed to push for a miracle to keep steelmaking going there.  The local United Steelworkers union had hoped for a steelmaker would buy and restart the mill — idled after owner RG Steel filed for bankruptcy in May.  But no steelmaking companies showed up to bid at the Tuesday afternoon auction in New York, said Joe Rosel, president of Local 9477 in Locust Point.

The mill’s general manager, Glenn Mikaloff, sent an email to managers late Tuesday that identified Hilco as the winner and the size of its bid.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/business/bs-bz-sparrows-point-sold-20120808,0,1409767.story

Consumer Sentiment Falls To 2012 Low

(Reuters) – Consumer sentiment fizzled in July, falling to its lowest level of the year, as Americans took a dim view of the employment situation and their income prospects, a survey showed on Friday.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan‘s final reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment fell to 72.3 from 73.2 in June. It was the second month in a row attitudes have soured and the lowest level since December.

But the level was a touch higher than economists’ expectations for it to be unchanged from July’s preliminary reading of 72.

“While consumers do not anticipate an economy-wide recessionary decline, they do not expect a pace of economic growth that could satisfactorily revive job and income prospects,” survey director Richard Curtin said in a statement.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/27/us-usa-economy-sentiment-idUSBRE86Q0T620120727

ZERO Job Growth Reported For August

For the first time since 1945 our country reported a net job growth of ZERO, for August! 2011  Unemployment remained at 9.1 percent.  Companies are not laying off or hiring.  We are in a holding pattern.  Hourly wages fell in August.

Consumer and business confidence has been shaken by the federal debt limit feud, the downgrading of our long-term debt and the financial crisis in Europe.  The result is a stock market drop.

Unless job growth is improved immediately, another recession is likely.

To read the entire article about our economic mess, click here,

http://www.centredaily.com/2011/09/02/2899388/hiring-standstill-points-to-growing.html#storylink=rss?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

Glum Econmic News For June

The economic recovery slowed down in June.  Consumer spending fell by .02 percent, which can be blamed in part on rising gas and food prices.  Workers saw incomes rise by only .01 percent, the smallest increase in nine months.  On a positive note, personal savings rose 5.4 percent.

Hiring in June was at the lowest level in nine months.  Only 18,000 net jobs were added and the unemployment rate rose to 9.2%.

Some economic forecasters are lowering their outlook for economic growth in the second half of the year from 2.5 percent to 2.0 percent.