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03 Feb 2012 08:43


Biz: Jobs report: Economy knocks down unemployment expectations big time

  • 243,000 number of jobs added in January, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly report
  • 8.3% the current unemployment rate, which is like, way lower than it’s been in a long time source
  • » Beating expectations handily: Many experts were expecting an increase in jobs, but not one this high. This is not to say we don’t have a long way to go, just that this is a very good number, especially for the time of year, when the assumption is that seasonal jobs are ending. Even better: The economy added 200,000 more jobs last year than first thought. Sounds to us like things are starting to look up. Read the full report here.

15 Dec 2011 11:16


Biz: Christmas miracle? New unemployment claims hit 3.5-year low

  • 366,000 the number of people who filed for unemployment benefits last week — a number that’s been on the decline for months
  • 365,000 the number of people who filed during a week in May 2008, the last time that the jobless benefits numbers were quite this low source
  • » However: Don’t get too excited, guys. While the heavily-fluctuating number is certainly better than it’s been in a long time (and the unemployment number is at its lowest level in a long time), the comeback is far from here. Example: During the financial crisis, the U.S. lost roughly 8.8 million jobs; less than a third of those jobs have returned. On top of this, many are still unemployed, and their benefits could run out soon if Congress does not act on the extension for unemployment benefits. Yeah, sorry we have to be such downers, but let’s look in perspective here.

12 Dec 2011 23:31


U.S.: San Francisco’s new minimum wage sets the double-digit standard

  • $10.24 San Francisco’s new minimum wage source
  • » Happy New Year, indeed. Starting Jan. 1, San Francisco’s minimum hourly wage will jump above the $10 mark for the first time. That’s about $3 higher than the federal minimum wage and higher than anywhere else in the country, due to the fact that the progressive city ties its minimum wage to inflation and the quite-high cost of living in the area. But with wage hikes, various fees and the sagging economy, employers might have to start laying off workers again to keep up.

02 Dec 2011 12:39


Biz: Rosy, but not too rosy: Today’s jobs numbers show modest upswing

  • 8.6% jobless rate in November, the lowest since early ’09
  • positive The economy added many more private-sector jobs in November than in prior months — 120,000 new non-farm payrolls, to be exact. A sign of recovery?
  • positive On top of this, the revised jobs numbers from September and October show that things were rosier than first estimated, meaning it’s a more substantial upswing.
  • negative However, the drop in unemployment partly came from an overall shrinking of the labor force. In other words, fewer people are seeking jobs. Bummer. source
  • » Political ramifications: The jobs numbers aren’t at a point where people have reason to be dancing in the streets, but cautious optimism is the name of the game. The GOP’s election platform could waver if the numbers get any better. Hence this response from House speaker John Boehner: “Any job creation is welcome news, but the jobless rate in this country is still unacceptable.” What do you all think?

27 Nov 2011 20:34


Biz: How much did people spend over Black Friday weekend?

  • $52.4 billion spent on Black Friday weekend (whoa)
  • $45B the amount spent during Black Friday weekend last year; that’s a 16 percent jump, for those playing at home
  • 226M number of shoppers over Black Friday weekend; that’s also a huge leap from 2010, and a record number
  • $398 the amount spent per customer on Black Friday weekend — a jump of more than $40 from 2010 source
  • » A big win for retail, but for humanity … eh. The heavy spending this year came with a number of downsides, most notably in the form of a series of customers-acting-crazy moments. We covered a few of these over the weekend, including an overzealous pepper sprayer and a riot over $2 waffle irons. Sure, the economy needs a serious kick in the pants, but we hope we can get said kick in the pants while being nice to our fellow human beings. Fortunately, tomorrow is Cyber Monday, where the problems with physical shopping don’t exist. Unless you know a way to shut off your neighbor’s internet. In which case you’re evil and we don’t like you anymore.

24 Oct 2011 16:36


Biz: U.S. may be headed for a holiday season credit rating downgrade

  • The ‘not-so-super’ deficit commission is very unlikely to come up with a credible deficit-reduction plan. The committee is more divided than the overall Congress… The credit rating agencies have strongly suggested that further rating cuts are likely if Congress does not come up with a credible long-run plan. Hence, we expect at least one credit downgrade in late November or early December when the supercommittee crashes.
  • Ethan Harris, economist for Bank of America Merril Lynch • Speaking on the looming possibility the U.S. could suffer another downgrade to their credit rating, this one in late November or early December. The last downgrade to the U.S. rating was not without controversy — one U.S. official called it a “a facts-be-damned decision,” over an accounting error by Standard and Poor’s that incorrectly inflated their deficit projections by nearly $2 trillion. Whatever might cause a credit downgrade, though, that it’s a dire consequence to be avoided is not in dispute, and rumblings are growing louder that the U.S. may end up biting this bullet again soon. source

30 Sep 2011 16:52


Biz: Stock market suckage: A crappy quarter, put to bed by a crappy day

  • bad Today was not a good day for the stock market in general, with all three major indexes down more than two percent amid negative economic data from China, which raised fears that another economic slowdown was coming.
  • worse This is the final day of the quarter on Wall Street, and the results aren’t very good. The S&P, for example, lost more than 14 percent this quarter. Fears of an economic slowdown weighed on investors’ minds after the 2008 crisis. source

29 Sep 2011 10:50


Biz: Here’s another good-sounding economic story … with a catch

  • 1.3% the increase in U.S. gross domestic product in the second quarter, based on updated final numbers
  • 0.3% the improvement in that number from the initial estimates from the April-to-June quarter source
  • » Such evocative language in the source story: But before you get too excited about those three-tenths of one percent, just keep in mind the text that AFP used here: “The better-than-expected figure is unlikely to have a major impact on confidence in the enfeebled US economy, but tints the backdrop in a slight less gloomy hue.”

24 Sep 2011 13:21


World: Vladimir Putin may face tougher economic road second time around

  • The task of the government is not only to pour honey into a cup, but sometimes to give bitter medicine. But this should always be done openly and honestly, and then the overwhelming majority of people will understand their government.
  • Russian Premier Vladimir Putin • Explaining what might be coming next for Russians — that is, austerity measures. The former-and-likely-to-be Russian President grew greatly popular on the back of business-friendly economic measures (a flat tax!) that may not be easy to keep up in the current global economic climate. Will Putin, round two, prove to be as memorable as Putin, round one? source

20 Sep 2011 00:33


U.S.: Good news: Gas prices are down, but not from a year ago

  • $3.60 the average price of gasoline in the U.S.
  • -35¢ the decrease in price from May’s peak
  • +87¢ the increase in price from a year ago source
  • » What caused the increase? To put it simply, many analysts point to the civil war in Libya for inflating the price of gas, as it took 1 million barrels of oil out of the supply chain each day, raising the price of oil by $20 per gallon at its high point. The recent successes the rebels have had since NATO started its air strikes exactly six months ago tonight have helped to bring the prices down to more manageable levels. Seasonal factors are also at play, and with Labor Day behind us, gas prices should continue to decline through Christmas.