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Outlook for U.S. Consumer Spending Brightens on Employment Gains
Post Date: 2012-03-12 12:43:53 by Brian S
Household spending may be about to pick up after stagnating for three straight months as employment and incomes climb and the weather turns more seasonable, giving the U.S. economy a lift. “The situation for consumers has improved significantly over the last several months,” said Harm Bandholz, chief U.S. economist at UniCredit Group in New York. “Spending is bound to accelerate, the most important driver being improvement in the labor market.” Employers boosted payrolls in February, capping the best six-month streak of job growth since 2006, Labor Department data showed last week. Consumer spending on utilities will probably return to normal after dropping from ...

Hiring Grows As Companies Hit Limits With Workers
Post Date: 2012-03-07 18:53:03 by Brian S
(03-07) 14:47 PST WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. companies will have to keep hiring steadily to meet their customers' rising demand. That's the message that emerged from a report Wednesday that employers are finding it harder to squeeze more output from their existing staff. It also helps explain why ADP, a payroll provider, estimated Wednesday that companies added 216,000 workers last month. Those findings reinforced confidence that 2012 will mark a turning point for the long-suffering job market and the economy. Applications for unemployment benefits have tumbled. Consumer confidence is at its highest point in a year. And the stock market has been on a tear since the year began. ...

U.S. Companies Added 216,000 Jobs in February, ADP Employer Services Says
Post Date: 2012-03-07 10:45:21 by Brian S
Companies in the U.S. added more workers in February than a month earlier, another sign of labor market strength, data from a private report based on payrolls showed today. Employment increased by 216,000 for the month after a revised 173,000 gain in January, according to figures from ADP Employer Services. The median estimate in the Bloomberg News survey called for a 215,000 increase this month. Further employment gains would help generate the wage gains necessary to sustain household spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy. Businesses added 225,000 jobs in February, and the unemployment rate held at 8.3 percent, economists project a Labor Department report will ...

America's Worst Anti-Business Climates
Post Date: 2012-03-06 21:57:21 by CZ82
America's Worst Anti-Business Climates By Ralph R. Reiland on 3.6.12 @ 6:07AM Some of them will surprise you. Here's a headline that's sure not to boost investment and job creation in Pennsylvania: "Wyoming First, Pennsylvania Worst In Business Taxes." Unfortunately, it's a headline that's easy to remember and it wasn't published only in the Pittsburgh Business Times or the Philadelphia Inquirer. It's a recent headline on the front page of Investor's Business Daily, read nationally by precisely the people who make the decisions about the location of job-creating capital investments and business expansions. "An executive looking for a ...

U.S. Tornadoes May Cost Insurers $2 Billion, Risk Modeler Says
Post Date: 2012-03-06 11:51:20 by Brian S
Tornadoes that slammed five states in the U.S. Midwest and South last week may generate as much as $2 billion in claims costs for insurers, risk-modeling firm Eqecat Inc. said. Tornadoes have killed 49 people in the U.S. this year, according to a statement issued yesterday by Oakland, California-based Eqecat. The tornadoes will probably bring claims of $1 billion to $2 billion, the firm said. More than 150 tornadoes touched down from Feb. 28 through March 3, most of them in Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois and Alabama, Eqecat said. The U.S. has experienced 272 tornadoes this year through March 4, more than twice the seven-year average for the period, according to the statement. ...

Bi-Fuel 2013 Chevrolet Silverado, Gmc Sierra Heavy-Duty Pickups To Run On Gasoline, CNG
Post Date: 2012-03-05 17:10:58 by Brian S
Natural gas may be the next fuel in the country’s portfolio of alternatives to combat dependence on foreign oil. General Motors announced today that it will begin taking orders for new bi-fuel compressed natural gas (CNG) versions of its ¾-ton Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups. The trucks have a large compressed natural gas tank in the bed that looks like a large toolbox. The CNG filler resides under a flap on the left side of the tank, above the rail of the pickup bed. A 6.0-liter V8 engine can be switched from running on CNG to gasoline and back via a switch on the dashboard. The CNG Sierra and Silverado will be only be available in extended-cab 2500 HD form, with ...

Orders to U.S. Factories Fall First Time in Three Months
Post Date: 2012-03-05 11:08:20 by Brian S
Orders to U.S. factories decreased in January for the first time in three months, a sign manufacturing is cooling at the beginning of the year. Bookings (TMNOCHNG) fell 1 percent after a revised 1.4 percent gain in December that was larger than previously estimated, figures from the Commerce Department showed today in Washington. The median of 61 economists’ projections in a Bloomberg News survey called for a 1.5 percent decline. Rising oil prices and the expiration of a tax credit at the end of 2011 that supported business investment represent a risk to American manufacturers. At the same time, the need to rebuild inventories and replace outdated equipment may help keep factories ...

U.S. Service Economy Grows to One-Year High as Orders Pick Up
Post Date: 2012-03-05 11:02:37 by Brian S
Service industries in the U.S. unexpectedly expanded in February at the fastest pace in a year as orders picked up for a fourth straight month. The Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing index climbed to 57.3 from 56.8 in January, the Tempe, Arizona- based group’s data showed today. Readings above 50 signal expansion, and the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was 56. A pickup in the services industries that make up almost 90 percent of the economy would strengthen the expansion, helping drive further labor market gains that will help sustain household demand. At the same, rising gasoline prices represent a risk to the recovery Federal Reserve ...

Housing in U.S. Lays Foundation for Recovery as Economy Coaxes Buyers Back
Post Date: 2012-03-02 17:12:07 by Brian S
Dan Kowalyshyn figures he owes about $200,000 more than what his four-bedroom house is worth today. It faces a cul-de-sac where three of the six homes have been lost to foreclosure since his $570,000 purchase in 2006. The software developer has decided to keep up on his mortgage payments because he sees signs of improvement outside his window. Trucks drive by to deliver lumber for houses being constructed by PulteGroup Inc. (PHM), KB Home and Meritage Homes Corp. (MTH) “Either those builders are insane or they’re getting some traction selling new homes,” Kowalyshyn, 40, said in a telephone interview from his house in Eastvale, California, 45 miles (72 kilometers) east of ...

GM suspending Chevy Volt production due to low demand
Post Date: 2012-03-02 17:00:21 by jwpegler
General Motors will suspend Chevrolet Volt production from March 19th to April 23rd in order to bring supply of the plug-in hybrid car in line with demand, according to the Detroit Free Press. Chevrolet sold 1,023 Volts in February, which up from 603 in January, but far from the 60,000-unit annual output originally planned for when the car was launched in December, 2010. Less than 8,000 Volts were sold in all of 2011. GM spokesperson Chris Lee told the newspaper that 1,300 employees at the Hamtramck, Michigan, assembly plant where the Volt is built would be temporarily laid off during the production freeze. Volt production was also halted for several weeks from late December until ...

Best U.S. Wage Gains in Almost Five Years Signal Higher Consumer Spending
Post Date: 2012-03-02 10:42:50 by Brian S
The biggest six-month increase in U.S. worker pay in almost five years helps lay the ground for a pickup in consumer spending, the largest part of the economy. Wages (GDPWWAGE) and salaries in the third and fourth quarters grew a combined $197.3 billion, the most since the six months ended March 2007, according to revised Commerce Department figures released Feb. 29. The report also showed the economy grew faster in the fourth quarter than previously estimated and Americans saved more. Rising incomes show the improving labor market will provide households the wherewithal this year to increase their purchases, which account for about 70 percent of the economy. The wage gains may help ...

As Gas Prices Rise, Detroit Is Ready
Post Date: 2012-03-01 19:22:03 by Brian S
(03-01) 16:18 PST DETROIT (AP) -- Gas prices are spiking. But this time, Detroit is ready. When prices soared in 2008, the city's three U.S. automakers were caught flat-footed. They didn't have competitive small cars and relied on trucks and SUVs for profits. When gas prices peaked at $4.12 in July of that year, sales from the Big Three plummeted more than 20 percent. That same month, sales of the fuel-sipping Toyota Corolla jumped 16 percent. Fast forward to February 2012. Overall U.S. auto sales rose 16 percent to 1.1 million last month, largely on the strength of Detroit's small cars. The annual sales pace hit 15.1 million, the best rate in four years. This time, the ...

U.S. Consumer Confidence Holds Near Four-Year High, Bloomberg Index Shows
Post Date: 2012-03-01 13:29:05 by Brian S
Consumer confidence in the U.S. held close to an almost four-year high last week as pessimism about the performance of the economy eased. The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort (COMFCOMF) Index was minus 38.8 in the period ended Feb. 26 after reaching minus 38.4, the highest level since April 2008, in the previous period. It marked the third straight week above minus 40, which is the level associated with recessions and their aftermath. The margin of error for the headline reading is 3 percentage points. For the fourth consecutive week, at least half the respondents viewed their personal finances as positive, a run that has been matched once since 2008. While job growth and higher stock values ...

Best February Auto Sales In Years
Post Date: 2012-03-01 11:59:34 by Brian S
Car sales were on pace for their best month in four years in February, despite the gas price spike. NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Higher gas prices did not scare consumers away from auto dealerships last month. On Thursday, General Motors (GM, Fortune 500), Ford Motor (F, Fortune 500) and Chrysler Group all reported improved February sales, with both fuel efficient models and large trucks posting big gains. Analysts are forecasting the best month for auto sales in four years in February, and the results from the U.S. automakers are a good start for the industry to hit those targets. Other automakers such as Toyota Motor (TM) are due to report results later Thursday. Industry experts and ...

Weekly Initial Jobless Claims in U.S. Drop to Lowest Level Since March ‘08
Post Date: 2012-03-01 11:55:43 by Brian S
The number of Americans filing first-time claims for jobless benefits fell to a level matching a four-year low, more evidence the labor market is healing. Applications for unemployment insurance decreased 2,000 in the week ended Feb. 25 to 351,000, Labor Department figures showed today. Economists forecast 355,000 claims, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. The number of people on unemployment benefit rolls fell, while those getting extended payments also declined. Firing is on a downward trend as employers gain confidence in the outlook for economic growth. A smaller number of job reductions also puts those companies in place to hire additional employees as ...

Chicago Business Barometer Jumps To Ten-Month High In February
Post Date: 2012-02-29 10:39:30 by Brian S
(RTTNews) - Business activity in the Chicago-area expanded at a faster than expected rate in the month of February, according to a report released by the Institute for Supply Management - Chicago on Wednesday, with the index of regional activity rising to a ten-month high. The report showed that the Chicago business barometer jumped to 64.0 in February from 60.2 in January, with a reading above 50 indicating an expansion. Economists had been expecting the index to edge up to a reading of 61.0. With the much bigger than expected increase, the Chicago business barometer rose to its highest level since coming at 67.6 in April of 2011. A significant acceleration in the pace of new orders ...

U.S. Economy Expands at 3% Annual Pace, Greater Than Economists Estimated
Post Date: 2012-02-29 10:30:57 by Brian S
The U.S. economy expanded more than forecast in the fourth quarter as companies rebuilt inventories in anticipation of growing demand. Gross domestic product climbed at a revised 3 percent annual rate, the most since the second quarter of 2010, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for no change from the previously reported 2.8 percent gain, according to the median forecast in the Bloomberg News survey. The revision reflected fewer imports and a smaller drop in non-residential investment. Income gains in the second half of 2011 were stronger than previously reported as employment growth accelerated, which may set the stage for ...

Dow Closes Above 13,000 for First Time Since ’08
Post Date: 2012-02-28 16:32:10 by Brian S
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose, closing above 13,000 (INDU) for the first time since May 2008, after a better-than-estimated consumer confidence report bolstered optimism in the world’s largest economy. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index increased 0.3 percent to 1,372.24 at 4 p.m. New York time, according to preliminary closing data. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 23.84 points, or 0.2 percent, to 13,005.35. The 30-stock measure turned lower at the close of trading yesterday after failing to hold above 13,000 for the third session in the past week. “The U.S. economy is in decent shape,” Malcolm Polley, who oversees about $1.1 billion as chief ...

American Confidence Climbs to Highest Level in Year on Job Growth
Post Date: 2012-02-28 16:26:46 by Brian S
Confidence among U.S. consumers climbed to a 12-month high in February, signaling household spending will help sustain the expansion. The Conference Board’s index increased more than forecast, to 70.8 from 61.5 in January, figures from the New York-based private research group showed today. Economists projected the gauge would climb to 63, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. Americans are growing more upbeat after unemployment fell to a three year low and stock-market rally boosted household wealth, helping them withstand lower home prices and higher gasoline costs. Another report showed durable goods orders declined in January by the most since 2009 after ...

Detroit Car Companies Race To Keep Up With Auto Sales
Post Date: 2012-02-27 12:33:27 by Brian S
DETROIT — Auto sales are growing so fast that Detroit can barely keep up. Three years after the U.S. auto industry nearly collapsed, sales of cars and trucks are surging. Sales could exceed 14 million this year, above last year’s 12.8 million. The result: Carmakers are adding shifts and hiring thousands of workers around the country. Carmakers and parts companies added more than 38,000 jobs last year, reaching a total of 717,000. And automakers have announced plans to add another 13,000 this year, mostly on night shifts. But there’s a downside. The newfound success is straining the factory network of the Detroit automakers, as well as the companies that make the thousands ...

Employment Forecast Raised by U.S. Business Economists
Post Date: 2012-02-27 11:56:59 by Brian S
Employment will improve more this year than economists previously estimated, helping the world’s largest economy to keep growing, a private survey showed. Payrolls will rise 170,000 a month on average in 2012, up from a November projection of 127,000, according to the results of a survey by the National Association for Business Economics issued today in Washington. Unemployment will average 8.3 percent, down from 8.9 percent in the prior forecast. The better outlook for jobs coincides with larger gains in business investment and homebuilding than were anticipated, the survey showed. At the same time, economists maintained forecasts for consumer spending, which may rise 2.1 percent, ...

Pending Sales of Existing Homes in U.S. Increase a More-Than-Estimated 2%
Post Date: 2012-02-27 11:42:54 by Brian S
The number of Americans signing contracts to buy previously owned homes rose more than forecast in January, indicating the industry that triggered the last recession is improving. The index of pending home resales climbed 2 percent after a 1.9 percent decrease the prior month that was smaller than previously estimated, the National Association of Realtors said today in Washington. The median forecast of 44 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a 1 percent rise. Buyers are returning to the market on the heels of faster job gains for three straight months, falling home prices and record low borrowing costs. At the same time, foreclosures are weighing on property values and ...

Fox Deception: Keystone XL Pipeline Would Lower Domestic Gas Prices
Post Date: 2012-02-26 10:04:54 by lucysmom
Tonight on Fox Business' Power And Money, David Asman hosted Joe Petrowski, President and CEO of Gulf Oil LP, to claim that because President Obama has decided not to immediately build the Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline and pursue additional domestic oil production, gas prices will increase as early as "the summer." Petrowski specifically asserted that building the pipeline could reduce gas prices in the long term by as much as "20 to 30 cents a gallon." However, according to researchers at the Cornell University Global Labor Institute, TransCanada, the proposed manufacturers of the pipeline, admitted that "KXL will increase the price of heavy crude oil in the ...

New reactor that consumes nuclear waste could power the UK for 500 years
Post Date: 2012-02-25 13:29:32 by jwpegler
Wherever nuclear power is concerned, nuclear waste presents a significant problem. The waste generated by nuclear power plants cannot be disposed of and is usually contained in steel drums and buried underground or held in secure facilities. In the wake of the Fukushima nuclear crisis in Japan, which was sparked by a powerful earthquake last year, many nations around the world have begun abandoning nuclear energy, but are unable to cut ties with nuclear waste. In the United Kingdom, the Department of Energy and Climate Change may have found a use for this waste. Researchers from GE Hitachi, a subsidiary of both General Electric and Hitachi, have developed a new nuclear reactor that ...

State Tax Revenue Rising At The Fastest Pace Since 2006
Post Date: 2012-02-24 11:23:40 by Brian S
For the past four years, U.S. states struggled to close more than $500 billion of budget shortfalls caused by the recession, ushering in tax increases, spending cuts and clashes with public-employee unions. With the economy recovering, officials gathering in Washington today for the National Governors Association winter meeting are beginning to face a welcome choice: how to spend extra money. Michigan (STOMI1) Governor Rick Snyder, whose state is rebounding with the automobile industry, may use a possible $670 million surplus to hire state troopers whose ranks thinned during the past decade. Colorado may set more aside for education. New Jersey’s Chris Christie is seeking to cut ...

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