Economy

Analysts: Hurricane Sandy could impact East Coast gas prices

California motorists are finally seeing gas prices retreat below $4 a gallon after disruptions at oil refineries in the state sent them soaring for months. | 10/30/12 06:59:57 By - Mark Glover

Plastic is winning the fight as preferred form of payment

If you're paying bills at the University of Kentucky, chances are you're no longer using a conventional paper check. Bank customers are saying a lingering farewell to their paper checkbooks and choosing electronic forms of payment, whether debit and credit cards or online withdrawals. They no longer get back a monthly packet of canceled checks along with their paper statements, which many view online. Great Britain already has set a sunset date for the use of paper checks: By 2018, consumers there will use other forms of payment exclusively. | 10/29/12 10:20:46 By - Cheryl Truman

Third-quarter economic growth bests expectations

The U.S. economy accelerated between July through September, growing at an annualized rate of 2 percent, the government said Friday in a report that slightly exceeded expectations. | 10/26/12 12:25:21 By - By Kevin G. Hall

How the NHL lockout impacts a local economy

Never mind that NHL team owners and players both are losers, so far, in a lockout that has canceled the Carolina Hurricanes’ first home game of the season – originally set for Friday night against the New York Rangers. | 10/26/12 07:10:55 By - Bruce Siceloff

New study shows early learning helps prevent crime

Four of Washington state's Benton County's top law enforcers joked and laughed while taking time Wednesday to read a book about police officers to preschoolers at Benton Franklin Head Start in Richland, but their visit was about a serious subject.The longtime cops and prosecutor spoke out about the lack of funding for quality early childhood education programs and how investing in kids can reduce crime and save money | 10/25/12 15:23:57 By - Paula Horton

Growing numbers in California's San Joaquim Valley choose to work from home

Up and down the central San Joaquin Valley, a growing number of people are taking advantage of technology that frees them from cramped cubicles, loud officemates and commuting to the office. | 10/25/12 14:49:30 By - Tim Sheehan

Trade gets short shrift in presidential campaign

Over the course of the long presidential campaign, neither candidate has offered much detail on how he’d boost trade, a main engine of economic growth and an increasingly important source of earnings for U.S. farmers and ranchers. | 10/24/12 19:03:21 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Internet allows even smallest businesses to go global, panel says

Business and government experts gather to ponder the changing face of trade and to examine how the Internet is shrinking the world for consumers and exporters. | 10/24/12 17:27:26 By - By Rob Hotakainen

U.S.-Panama free trade agreement goes into effect Oct. 31

A long-awaited free trade agreement with Panama that will reduce or eliminate tariffs on U.S. exports and provide access to the Central American country’s lucrative services industry is scheduled to go into effect Oct. 31. | 10/23/12 06:59:01 By - Mimi Whitefield

Housing, a forgotten issue in U.S. elections, still vexes economy

Lost in the campaign arguments over who’s to blame for a weak economy and sluggish hiring is what has and hasn’t been done to improve home sales and housing finance, key causes of the nation’s severe financial crisis and ones that continue to drag against a robust recovery. | 10/22/12 17:48:48 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Kansas and Missouri jobless rates show improvement

There were fewer unemployed people looking for work in Missouri and Kansas in September than in August, but the job creation picture was mixed. | 10/19/12 11:58:19 By - Diane Stafford

Social Security is main income for many older Californians

For the nation's 45 million elderly Social Security recipients, the bad news tempered the good: They learned this week that a 2013 cost-of-living increase will raise their monthly Social Security income – but by only a fraction. | 10/19/12 07:09:21 By - Anita Creamer

Ag secretary says U.S. needs to spend more to promote record-high farm exports

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Thursday that U.S. farm exports are on pace to set a record high in 2013 but that sales will suffer if Congress does not resurrect a $200 million-a-year foreign marketing program that expired Oct. 1. | 10/18/12 16:20:33 By - By Rob Hotakainen

U.S. traders eager to cash in on Russia pact, but it’s stalled in Congress

When Russia formally joined the World Trade Organization as its newest member in August, more than 150 countries began expanding trade with the ninth-largest economy in the world. | 10/18/12 16:04:43 By - By Rob Hotakainen

American Airlines to hire 1,500 flight attendants

With more than 2,200 flight attendants opting to take a buyout and leave American Airlines, the bankrupt carrier made an unusual announcement Wednesday: It needs to hire 1,500 flight attendants. | 10/18/12 07:18:58 By - Andrea Ahles

States diverting housing settlement funds to fill budget holes

It was supposed to provide a measure of restitution on behalf of homeowners who lost equity in the market collapse or lost their homes in the “robo-signing” foreclosure scandal. | 10/18/12 00:00:00 By - By Tony Pugh

The new ethanol: A debate over corn, oil and progress

The Obama administration must decide in coming weeks if it’ll temporarily lift requirements to blend ethanol into the nation’s gasoline supply. The issue has been largely dormant on the campaign trail, but it’s critical to the success or failure of the next generation of biofuel plants under construction today that won’t rely on corn to make fuel. | 10/17/12 16:46:39 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Coal-fired plants to shut down sooner in Kentucky

Kentucky Utilities and affiliated company Louisville Gas and Electric announced Monday that they expect to shut down three coal-fired electrical generation plants months ahead of schedule as part of their effort to comply with new federal environmental regulations. | 10/16/12 11:40:23 By - Scott Sloan

Romney, Obama offer differing visions on financial consumer protection

Just 15 months into its existence, the federal government’s newest consumer watchdog agency faces an uncertain future. | 10/15/12 15:51:33 By - By Lindsay Wise

Banker Jamie Dimon comes to Washington to criticize it

Jamie Dimon, America’s most celebrated banker, heaped criticism on regulators and politicians during a high-profile visit to the nation’s capital Wednesday, warning that overregulation is inhibiting business and that political stalemates threaten the economy. | 10/10/12 17:40:57 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Equifax settles charges of improperly selling consumer data

One of the nation’s largest credit reporting agencies has agreed to pay $393,000 to settle charges that it improperly sold lists of consumers who were late on their mortgage payments, government regulators announced Wednesday. | 10/10/12 15:31:20 By - By Lindsay Wise

Outlook upbeat for aerospace industry

The world aviation industry will continue to grow in the coming decades, creating business opportunities for the North Texas economy, speakers said Monday at an industry conference in Fort Worth. | 10/09/12 12:59:20 By - Bob Cox

Can the government ‘cook’ the unemployment numbers?

Critics charged Friday that the Obama administration cooked the books on the unemployment rate to help President Barack Obama. The charges are unfounded. | 10/05/12 18:07:24 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Unemployment rate drops to 7.8 percent

A sharp, unexpected drop in the unemployment rate Friday to 7.8 percent, a 44-month low, threatened to shake up the race for the White House and put the obscure Bureau of Labor Statistics in the crossfire amid unsubstantiated claims that the employment numbers are being cooked. | 10/05/12 16:30:56 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Lenovo to manufacture computers in North Carolina

Lenovo is portraying its relatively modest plans to manufacture personal computers in Guilford County, North Carolina – creating 115 jobs and investing $2 million – as a first step that could lead to much more. | 10/03/12 07:20:42 By - David Ranii

JPMorgan Chase is sued in 2008 Bear Stearns mortgage case

A civil lawsuit against investment giant JPMorgan Chase, announced Tuesday in Washington by New York’s top prosecutor, is aimed at the root of the nation’s brutal 2008 financial crisis. Consumer advocates, however, questioned why it took so long and why prosecutors didn’t bring a criminal case. | 10/02/12 17:48:48 By - By Kevin G. Hall and Lindsay Wise

Seasonal retailers can be holiday gift to landlords

'Tis the season — but which one?

Seasonal stores are now selling everything from Batman costumes to Santa Claus candy dishes. The stores are merging the seasons, figuring if they get a jump on the season — any season — they will get a bigger percentage of that holiday’s sales. | 10/02/12 16:38:32 By - Joyce Smith

FTC cracks down on energy-efficiency ads, including some by firms Obama touted

The Federal Trade Commission is cracking down on what officials say is deceptive advertising by energy-efficient window manufacturers, including two companies that President Barack Obama lauded as part of his administration’s “green stimulus” initiative. | 10/02/12 14:34:23 By - By Lindsay Wise

American Express, accused of wrongdoing, to refund customers

American Express has agreed to refund $85 million to 250,000 customers after an investigation uncovered numerous violations of consumer protection laws, ranging from illegal late fees to age discrimination against credit card applicants, federal regulators said Monday. | 10/01/12 18:21:20 By - By Lindsay Wise

Kirk: U.S.-Panama trade deal to go into effect soon

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said Friday that he expects the long-delayed U.S.-Panama Free Trade Agreement to go into effect shortly. | 09/28/12 17:40:33 By - Mimi Whitefield

California farmers examine climate change issues

If researcher's predictions hold true, California's San Joaquin Valley's multi-billion dollar agriculture industry will be hit with longer stretches of hot temperatures, fewer colder days and shrinking water supplies. | 09/27/12 12:31:57 By - Robert Rodriguez

For some California home buyers, better times mean bigger houses

For years now, urban planners have predicted that home buyers would opt for smaller houses in more urban-style neighborhoods when the real estate market recovers. That's true for some. But with housing the cheapest it has been in decades, some buyers are returning to the large suburban tract homes that were hallmarks of the housing boom. | 09/27/12 06:46:29 By - Hudson Sangree and Phillip Reese

Comcast to close all California call centers

In an abrupt announcement that caught state and local business officials off guard, cable giant Comcast announced Tuesday that it's closing all of its California call centers, including one in Natomas that employs about 300 workers. Why? That's the tricky question. | 09/26/12 06:52:50 By - Claudia Buck

Modesto explores energy efficiency loans for home, business

Mayor Garrad Marsh is backing a program for improving the energy efficiency of homes and commercial buildings in Modesto, California. | 09/25/12 17:54:59 By - Ken Carlson

Discover will refund $200 million to settle charges it tricked customers

Discover Bank will refund $200 million to more than 3.5 million cardholders to settle charges that its telemarketers used deceptive tactics to sell credit card “add-on” products, such as credit score tracking and identity theft protection. | 09/24/12 17:52:36 By - By Lindsay Wise

School lunch calorie limits leave bitter taste with some Kansas students

Some Kansas students and at least one political leader say new school lunch guidelines aimed at limiting calories and encouraging good nutrition are having an unintended consequence: Hungry kids. | 09/24/12 13:33:16 By - Suzanne Perez Tobias

Bank of America won't confirm report it's cutting jobs

Bank of America would not confirm Thursday published reports that the bank planned to eliminate 16,000 jobs across the company by the end of the year. | 09/21/12 07:21:31 By - Andrew Dunn

Seafood industry hauling in record numbers, according to report

U.S. commercial fishermen landed record amounts of fish last year, including in the Gulf of Mexico, where fisheries appear to have partially rebounded from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, according to a government assessment issued this week. | 09/19/12 19:09:27 By - By Erika Bolstad

U.S. oil boom comes with tradeoffs and an ugly underbelly

. Politicians are quick to extol the virtues of domestic oil drilling while ignoring the tradeoffs. Here in this fast-developing Western oil patch, the gritty side of America’s new oil boom is on display with rising crime, a slain schoolteacher, rents that have tripled and public resources stretched thin. | 09/19/12 12:45:49 By - By Kevin G. Hall

New Trans-Pacific trade deal ignites fears of job losses

With 1,350 employees in its five U.S. factories, New Balance is proud that it still produces 7 million pairs of shoes each year at its plants in Maine and Massachusetts, the last major athletic footwear company that still has manufacturing jobs in the United States. | 09/18/12 16:25:18 By - By Rob Hotakainen McClatchy Newspapers

White House: Looming federal budget cuts would be ‘deeply destructive’

President Barack Obama warned Friday that the federal government will face dire budget cuts – nearly 10 percent of the nation’s defense and domestic spending – unless Congress acts later this year to reduce the $16 trillion debt. | 09/14/12 20:41:08 By - By Anita Kumar and Kevin G. Hall

Fed’s new moves aside, tough economic sledding is ahead

Once Wall Street’s sugar high wears off from the additional measures the Federal Reserve announced this week, a harsh reality remains: Several economic indicators are flashing worrisome signals, and a slowdown in growth is expected for the rest of the year. | 09/14/12 16:24:23 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Some improvement in California foreclosures

Statewide foreclosure numbers released Thursday illustrated the depth of California's real estate crash. While August numbers for numerous Golden State jurisdictions and the state itself were a vast improvement over the recent past, many still ranked among the worst in the nation. | 09/14/12 07:04:31 By - Mark Glover

Fed takes additional steps to jolt growth and hiring

Offering the third incarnation of its unconventional efforts to spark economic activity, the Federal Reserve on Thursday announced a new round of controversial bond buying, sending stock prices soaring and triggering angry criticism from some lawmakers in Congress. | 09/13/12 18:57:43 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Ashley Eckstein’s ‘Her Universe’ a flourishing success among media fans

In June 2010, actress Ashley Eckstein, the voice of the Ahsoka Tano on the animated TV series “Star Wars: the Clone Wars,” opened a booth at the Celebration V convention in Orlando.

It was for her new company Her Universe, which aimed directly at an elusive demographic in the media fan-geek world — women.

Two years later, Her Universe is a success with licensing from “Star Wars,” “Battlestar Galactica” and “Star Trek.” Its shirts and jewelry are sold in stores like Hot Topics and online at ThinkGeek.com | 09/13/12 12:28:33 By - Tish Wells

Employer-based health insurance costs rise again

The cost of job-based family health insurance continues to tick upward in 2012, increasing faster than employee wages and overall inflation for the 13th straight year, according to a nationwide survey of businesses released Tuesday. | 09/11/12 20:09:45 By - By Tony Pugh

Amazon to start collecting sales tax in California

Spurred on by fanatically loyal shoppers like Christine Dugger of Sacramento, e-commerce giant Amazon.com is doing something it spent years trying to avoid. On Saturday, Amazon will begin collecting sales tax from California customers. | 09/11/12 06:42:07 By - Dale Kasler

Critics offer caution on consumer layaway programs

For cash-strapped parents determined to snag that trendy Furby robot or iPad Mini this Christmas, holiday layaways seem like a godsend: Reserve the toy now and pay later. | 09/11/12 14:57:59 By - By Lindsay Wise

Federal spending on popcorn promotion comes under fire

The issue is part of the talks as Congress tries to write a new farm bill that would determine how much taxpayers will pay for agriculture commodities. And while popcorn is a small-ticket item compared with wheat, rice, sugar and other mega-crops, opponents say it’s wrong to subsidize the advertising costs of any private business operating outside the United States. | 09/10/12 03:00:00 By - By Rob Hotakainen McClatchy Newspapers

Weak August hiring puts pressure on Fed, despite dip in jobless rate

Another subpar month of hiring reported by the government Friday puts more pressure on the Federal Reserve to take additional unconventional steps to jump-start a sluggish economic recovery, experts said. | 09/07/12 15:23:35 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Early signs of positive jobs report to launch campaign’s last stretch

A closely watched jobs report that the federal government will release Friday will get more scrutiny than usual, as it falls on the first day of the final stretch of the presidential election and comes amid several signs that hiring may be picking up. | 09/06/12 17:51:44 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Former WW2 POWs help feed hungry Kansas families

The first day of his capture — Jan. 8, 1945 — the Germans refused Willam Paschal, 19, food. Hunger tore at his belly, Paschal said, recalling imprisonment at Stalag IX-B after he was captured in France. It’s not the kind when your belly rumbles if you miss a meal, he said. Real hunger. Ravenous hunger. Decades-old memories of unceasing hunger and survival in WWII German prison camps prompted a group of Kansas men and women to help put food in the hands of Kansas families who might otherwise starve | 09/04/12 17:53:48 By - Amy Renee Leiker

On Labor Day, workers want politicians to know the only word that matters: ‘job’

Politicians the next few days in Charlotte, 23 miles from the kitchen at Jackson’s Cafeteria, will talk endlessly about the economy. The party will be different, but it will sound just like Republicans a week before in Florida. Nobody mentioned any of those politicians or policy advisors or bureaucrats on Sunday, the day before Labor Day, at Jackson’s Cafeteria in Rock Hill. Because the real world that people live in, the workers and even the small business owner, has nothing to do with these politicians who talk about working people but see right past them. | 09/04/12 17:20:22 By - Andrew Dys

Bernanke signals more stimulus, steps into election battle

A strong signal Friday from Chairman Ben Bernanke that more economic stimulus is on the way puts the Federal Reserve squarely in the middle of the fight for the White House in November’s presidential election. | 08/31/12 16:56:21 By - By Kevin G. Hall

U.S. airport terminals upgrade to first class

A year ago, a dingy, cramped and aging terminal greeted travelers to Sacramento International Airport. The utilitarian, 44-year-old building was designed for another era in air travel, one without long security lines and with in-flight dining. | 08/30/12 17:02:21 By - By Curtis Tate

U.S. flower growers fight to survive amid flood of imports

As she took a break on Monday from picking dahlias, zinnias and amaranths on her Jello Mold Farm in Mount Vernon, Wash., Diane Szukovathy wondered why, in her opinion, the federal government is working so hard to put other flower growers and her out of business by helping competitors thousands of miles away in the temperate regions of Colombia. | 08/30/12 17:02:02 By - By Rob Hotakainen

Tampa businesses give RNC mixed reviews

The Republican National Convention brought tens of thousands of visitors to Tampa and attracted worldwide attention, but with one day left many retailers are giving it mixed reviews, complaining that the rush of promised business failed to materialize. | 08/30/12 07:23:16 By - Franco Ordoñez

Bain, Romney have mixed record of profits, jobs and layoffs in North Carolina

Mitt Romney's business record, a central tenet to his campaign for the White House, is encapsulated in Bain Capital's investments in North Carolina. | 08/27/12 07:23:11 By - John Frank

New state laws make undercover probes of farm operations risky

The undercover investigator who secretly videotaped alleged animal abuses at a meat processing plant in California's San Joaquin Valley would have been a criminal for doing the same thing in Utah, potentially subject to a year in jail. | 08/24/12 17:29:17 By - By Michael Doyle

Many banks socking businesses with improper ‘FDIC’ fee

Despite an order last month from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to its 7,241 member banks to stop using its name on any fees charged to business account holders, many banks continue flouting the instructions and are socking businesses with extra charges, McClatchy has found. | 08/24/12 16:54:56 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Severe summer drought recalls damaging Dust Bowl days

Farmers in New Florence, Mo., a hardscrabble patch of the Midwest, know the discomfort of summer heat, they’ve suffered through dry weather before and they’ve certainly lived through the boom and bust cycles of modern farming. But they’ve never season a drought like the one that’s gripping much of the nation, and they’re seeing miserable growing conditions rivaled only perhaps by the Dust Bowl days of the 1930s. | 08/23/12 17:09:02 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Report: Middle class lost significant financial ground over last decade

America's middle-class earners lost significant ground during the last decade as their incomes dropped for the first extended period since World War II, according to a report released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center. The decade also saw a significant widening of the household income gap between the wealthy and the middle class, the old and the young, and people who are married vs. unmarried. | 08/23/12 07:13:41 By - Phillip Reese

Bowties bring textiles back to heart of Rock Hill

Like most cottage industries executives, Ellie Stager started at home, finding time for her business in the late evening hours when her children were asleep. In March she moved her cottage industry to a cutting room created in a corner of a former courthouse. All the time, her focus has been on a men’s collars. Stager makes bowties. | 08/20/12 16:45:09 By - By Don Worthington

Some companies slash labor costs by flouting federal laws

As a commercial masonry contractor, Doug Burton prides himself on being exact. He counts bricks to calculate estimates. He knows each of his laborers by first and last name. He has memorized exactly what he’ll owe in taxes if he takes on an additional worker and knows week to week whether he can afford it. | 08/20/12 07:33:07 By - Mandy Locke

Alaska utility, Native corporation propose idea to cut rural energy costs

An idea studied years ago by an oil company for producing vast stores of North Slope natural gas without building a giant pipeline has emerged again, this time before state legislators trying to find relief for residents crushed by heating and electricity costs. | 08/15/12 06:51:00 By - Lisa Demer

California's gas prices soar after Chevron refinery fire

Gas prices in California are soaring a week after a fire damaged the Chevron refinery in Richmond, a critical piece of the state's supply chain. | 08/14/12 07:04:35 By - Mark Glover

Alaska targets Hawaii as a natural gas customer

For more than a year, some Alaska political leaders have been quietly pursuing an untapped market for the state's vast stores of natural gas: Hawaii. | 08/13/12 06:58:40 By - Lisa Demer

Looming defense spending cuts have some N.C. companies concerned

In battle, the U.S. military is a mighty force, strong and confident. In matters of money, though, it has turned skittish, delaying or canceling contracts for research, products and services it isn’t sure it will be able to afford after Jan. 2. | 08/10/12 07:18:56 By - Martha Quillin

Sens. Carl Levin, John McCain want United Technologies suspended from defense work

Two powerful U.S. senators want the Pentagon to consider suspending or blocking one of the nation’s largest defense contractors from government work because a subsidiary has admitted selling software to China that it knew would be used for military purposes. | 08/09/12 18:56:43 By - By Matthew Schofield

Farmer’s guilty plea may signal tough new attitude on fake organics

A major fertilizer producer from California’s San Joaquin Valley who pleaded guilty to fraud charges this week ran into what appears to be a newly aggressive federal effort to crack down on organic-farming cheaters. | 08/09/12 17:08:11 By - By Michael Doyle

Despite better housing market, economists see few hopeful signs for growth

Hiring picked up much faster in July than expected. Car sales remain solid. Home prices are climbing again in parts of the country. It all points to a strong second half of 2012, right? Not necessarily. | 08/09/12 15:02:19 By - By Kevin G. Hall

American Airlines pilots reject contract offer

American Airlines' stay in Bankruptcy Court could become longer after two of its major unions delivered a split decision Wednesday on new cost-cutting contracts. | 08/09/12 07:37:45 By - Andrea Ahles

In S.C., more move from welfare to work

An increasing number of South Carolinians are getting off welfare and into jobs, according to the S.C. Department of Social Services, which oversees the state’s welfare-to-work program. | 08/09/12 07:34:33 By - Gina Smith

California's gas prices may rise due to Chevron refinery fire

California drivers will soon feel the heat from the fire Monday evening in the sprawling Chevron refinery in Richmond.

Energy analysts expect gas prices to surge to $4 a gallon or more in the weeks leading up to the Labor Day holiday weekend. | 08/08/12 06:53:03 By - Mark Glover and Richard Chang

UC Merced arranging to let students pay in rupees

UC Merced soon will make it easier for some international students to pay for their tuition. Officials hope to implement a program in the spring semester that will allow students from India to pay for their college costs with rupees through Western Union Business Solutions | 08/07/12 12:34:31 By - Yesenia Amaro

During a brutal summer, midwest utilities keep the power flowing

July was brutal in the Midwest — 13 days with 100-degree-plus heat, and only two days had highs less than 90 degrees. Such a sweltering stretch typically has utilities issuing urgent pleas for energy conservation and, if customers don’t comply, threats of power cutbacks as demand outstrips supply. But listen to what area utilities are saying. | 08/07/12 12:20:05 By - Steve Everly

Stores hope tax-free days will boost sales

Back-to-school sales are expected to be strong this year, but that doesn’t mean the economy will get a passing grade. | 08/03/12 12:32:50 By - Joyce Smith and Allison Prang

Despite good July jobs numbers, economists worried about recovery

Stronger-than-expected July jobs number reported by the government Friday eased concerns about an economy slipping back into recession and gave wind to President Barack Obama’s re-election hopes. But economists warned that the road ahead is likely to remain bumpy. | 08/03/12 18:36:00 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Feds want Kentucky to charge coal industry more for cleaning up mines

Kentucky fails to make the coal industry pay enough to clean up the environmental wreckage it leaves behind, according to the U.S. Office of Surface Mining. Kentucky lawmakers said Thursday the criticism is another example of President Barack Obama's "war on coal." | 08/03/12 07:31:36 By - By John Cheves

Drought dragging down Midwest regional economy, study says

The relentless drought and deteriorating global economic conditions are combining to take a toll on businesses in a nine-state area that includes Kansas and Missouri, increasing concerns about another recession. | 08/01/12 12:34:22 By - Steve Rosen

SEC seeks new powers to regulate municipal securities markets

The Securities and Exchange Commission asked Congress for new powers Tuesday to bring the nearly $4 trillion municipal securities market under greater federal regulation and force better disclosure for ordinary investors. | 07/31/12 18:29:38 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Tech startups sprout on the Midwest's Silicon Prairie

There’s no drought in Kansas City — at least when it comes to tech start-up companies. The surge in aspiring companies won’t turn Silicon Prairie into Silicon Valley, but the area has shown it can produce tech leaders. | 07/31/12 12:51:51 By - Allison Prang

Miami’s international banking clients move money to protect financial privacy

Miami’s position as a hemispheric banking capital could be weakened as some foreign depositors close their accounts in U.S. banks to avoid new disclosure regulations. | 07/30/12 14:40:25 By - Anna Edgerton

Coal industry sheds jobs, leaving Eastern Kentucky economy in tatters

The impact of an estimated 2,000 mining layoffs this year is hitting home across the mountainous coal counties of Eastern Kentucky. The cutbacks will ricochet through the economy in an area where good-paying jobs, especially for people without college degrees, were in short supply even before hundreds evaporated. | 07/29/12 12:34:50 By - By Bill Estep

U.S. economy grows at sluggish 1.5% in 2nd quarter

The second-quarter economic slowdown reported by the government Friday points to an economy stuck in low gear as a new look at the recession – it wasn’t as deep as thought and the recovery’s been weaker than first believed – gave new urgency to the presidential campaign. | 07/27/12 15:52:57 By - By Kevin G. Hall

North Carolina wary of possible farm labor shortage

Across the nation, the number of seasonal agricultural workers is shrinking, costing billions. That’s largely the result of a diminishing number of migrant workers coming from Mexico. | 07/27/12 07:26:51 By - By Lauren Carroll

More S.C. kids living in poverty, study says

South Carolina ranks near the bottom – 43rd among the 50 states – in a ranking of children’s well-being. | 07/26/12 13:20:28 By - Gina Smith

U.S. slow to embrace anti-fraud chips in credit cards

At a bustling H&M clothing store in Toronto’s chic downtown area, Canadian shoppers rack up purchases on their debit and credit cards, unaware that they’re getting a level of protection that U.S. consumers lack. | 07/25/12 17:57:15 By - By Kevin G. Hall

It’s Greek (yogurt) to us

If you’re one of the few people who isn’t already in love with it, Greek yogurt is as thick as sour cream and has a flavor so distinctively tangy, you can feel your taste buds standing up at attention. Its sales figures make financial types stand at attention, too. | 07/25/12 13:16:18 By - Kathleen Purvis

North Kansas City may sell its hospital in wake of financial woes

As a tough economy wrecked municipal budgets across the country, North Kansas City seemed to be above it all, able to afford well-kept parks, a modern community center and even a community fiberoptic network. Now, that cash-rich reputation is history. Despite a gusher of gaming revenues from Harrah’s Casino, a spending spree has created a string of budget deficits. | 07/25/12 07:24:58 By - By Steve Everly and Allison Prang

Young adults weigh tradeoffs of home ownership

Tony Koonce, 25, bought a home in Twin Falls three years ago because his parents said it was a good idea. | 07/24/12 13:36:44 By - Sandra Forester

Drought's wide economic impact likely to last for years

Many experts monitoring the dry conditions and their potential effects on the larger economy resist easy comparisons to the Dust Bowl years. Across the United States, triple-digit temperatures back then were more frequent, the drought was wider, the rural topsoil was grossly eroded and the national economy was in worse shape than now. | 07/24/12 07:28:13 By - By Rick Montgomery and Ian Cummings

Activists seek increase in federal minimum wage

In an election year dominated by socioeconomic themes, it seems logical that raising the federal minimum wage would become a heated campaign issue in the battle for the presidency. Stagnating wages and the increasing concentration of wealth among the nation’s highest earners have prompted calls to boost the purchasing power of American workers. At $7.25 an hour, a full-time federal minimum-wage earner makes about $15,080 a year, which is below the federal poverty level for a two-person family. | 07/23/12 16:08:02 By - By Tony Pugh

U.S. drought could be boon for Washington state farmers

A drought that’s left many U.S. farmers praying for rain could be a blessing for Washington’s nearly $40 billion agricultural industry. | 07/20/12 13:40:42 By - John Gillie

At celebration for Britain's first F-35, Pentagon official warns of budget cuts

Pentagon officials will not be able to protect the F-35 program if Congress doesn't roll back huge automatic budget cuts mandated to take effect in January, the Defense Department's chief weapons buyer said Thursday in Fort Worth. | 07/20/12 07:19:12 By - By Bob Cox

Senate considers how to keep down college costs

Higher education experts on Thursday gave a Senate committee their suggestions for improving college affordability in the hopes those ideas could be adopted on a national level. | 07/19/12 18:25:55 By - By Kaz Komolafe

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau orders Capital One to refund $140 million to credit card customers

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Wednesday ordered Capital One Bank to refund about $140 million to 2 million customers, marking the new watchdog agency’s first major enforcement action since it began operating last year. | 07/18/12 17:35:59 By - By Rebecca Cohen

Bernanke voices opposition to Ron Paul’s Fed-audit bill

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, completing his second day of testimony on Capitol Hill, voiced his opposition Wednesday to a Republican-backed bill that would subject the Fed to outside auditors – and, he said, unhealthy political pressure. | 07/18/12 16:58:20 By - By Alex Kane Rudansky

Ben Bernanke suggests fraud in Libor interest rate

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress on Tuesday that a key global benchmark interest rate remains “structurally flawed” and acknowledged as indefensible the spate of banking scandals that have become near-weekly occurrences in recent months. | 07/17/12 18:14:06 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Major banks launch person-to-person payments

Three of the country’s biggest banks have moved into a segment of the consumer market that has been dominated by non-bank companies. In the past couple of months Wells Fargo & Co. has developed and rolled out a person-to-person payment system called ClearXchange that includes Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase. | 07/17/12 13:25:14 By - Jerry Siebenmark

Stocks are less alluring for young investors

Many young investors — confronting lousy markets and Wall Street scandals — aren’t embracing the stock market as eagerly as their predecessors did. Others, caught in the economic malaise with low-paying jobs or no job at all, simply don’t have money to invest. | 07/16/12 13:05:30 By - Mark Davis

Restrictions irk visitors, residents of North Carolina's Outer Banks

For a sea turtle looking to crawl ashore at night and bury a hundred eggs on the beach, this is a very good year at Cape Hatteras National Seashore. And things are looking up for the piping plover. These creatures and their vulnerable offspring have a new edge over beach drivers. Sweeping new rules took effect in February to restrict beach driving at the national seashore. | 07/16/12 12:31:26 By - Bruce Siceloff

Drought is harmful to your home, too

The danger waged by the ongoing drought is not limited to your plants and garden. It also can hurt your house. | 07/13/12 15:04:52 By - Will Buss

Wells Fargo pays $175 million to settle racial steering case

Wells Fargo Bank, the nation’s largest originator of mortgages, agreed Thursday to a $175 million settlement with the Justice Department, which alleged the bank steered minorities into more expensive subprime loans with higher interest rates when they qualified for lower ones. | 07/12/12 16:36:18 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Wind farms a cash crop for rural Kansas counties

Kansas is finally putting all that wind to good use. The Sunflower State is the second windiest in the nation, but for a variety of reasons hasn’t taken full advantage of that with the construction of wind farms. At the end of 2011, it ranked 14th nationally in commercial wind power generation, according to the American Wind Energy Association. That will change to an extent this year. | 07/12/12 13:26:53 By - Dan Voorhis

Midwest drought may spark food inflation

A punishing Midwest drought may lead to food inflation as the cost of corn soars and the price of a key feedstock for ranchers rises. Experts warn it could mean higher costs for everything from a hamburger to a gallon of milk in the months ahead. | 07/10/12 18:22:24 By - By Kevin G. Hall

NASCAR ticket revenue in sharp decline

The green flag dropped on Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 NASCAR race with all 57,000 seats in Daytona International Speedway’s backstretch grandstands empty. With decreased demand, NASCAR’s most famous track never offered those seats for sale, in stark contrast to the days when sellouts were routine at Daytona and most other tracks on racing’s premier Sprint Cup series | 07/09/12 12:51:56 By - David Scott and Andrew Dunn

'Reshipper' job schemes grow during tough economic times

In a depressed economy in which traditional jobs are hard to come by, landing a work-from-home job must seem like a real stroke of luck. Who wouldn't want to make extra spending money on his or her own time without having to travel to an office, sit in rush-hour traffic or even put on pants? | 07/09/12 07:08:45 By - Josh Kegley

3rd month of weak job growth isn’t good news for economy or Obama

A third consecutive anemic monthly jobs report Friday from the Labor Department signals trouble for the U.S. economy and could hurt the re-election prospects of President Barack Obama. | 07/06/12 15:24:18 By - By Kevin G. Hall and Curtis Tate

Large U.S. banks submit 'living will' crisis plans

In a doomsday scenario, Bank of America Corp. might dismantle some units, turn others over to regulators and transfer certain assets to a temporary bank that would ultimately emerge from the meltdown, it said in a plan released Tuesday. | 07/04/12 07:09:01 By - Kirsten Valle Pittman and Andrew Dunn

Advocacy group calls Goodwill's pay practices discriminatory

Goodwill Industries International takes pride in providing jobs to severely disabled people who might well not otherwise get work. One of its key tools is a little-known provision in federal law that lets it hire impaired workers at less than minimum wage. | 07/03/12 07:35:58 By - Patrick M. Walker

Dallas NAACP wants to shut down Texas lottery

The Dallas NAACP chapter wants the Texas lottery to close up shop. Members of the nation's oldest civil-rights group say they are frustrated by poor and minority Texans spending their money on tickets instead of necessities such as rent or health insurance, and they believe that the lottery isn't putting enough money into public education in the state. | 06/27/12 07:27:47 By - Anna M. Tinsley

Stockton, California to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy

Years after betting on a sustained housing boom to bankroll a waterfront redevelopment and dole out salary and benefit perks to city employees and retirees, Stockton cashed in its chips Tuesday in a plan that will lead it into bankruptcy. | 06/27/12 07:00:04 By - Peter Hecht

Coming ‘fiscal cliff’ in Congress affects hiring, even firing

Both major political parties talk a good game on the need to help create jobs. But their refusal to agree on a plan to stop the government from going over a “fiscal cliff” at the end of the year is driving American businesses to delay hiring and in some cases to actually trim their payrolls. | 06/25/12 17:09:43 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Credit card 'cloning' is a growing form of identity theft

Lexington, Kentucky, financial crimes detective Gene Haynes swiped a credit card through an innocuous black card reader known as a "skimmer." Less than a second later, two lines of illuminating text showed up in a Microsoft Word document on his computer screen. The mishmash of numbers and symbols was the visual representation of all the information stored on the card's magnetic strip. "That's all it takes" for a credit card to be compromised, he said. | 06/25/12 13:49:47 By - Josh Kegley

Fed extends Twist bond program, but delays further action

Shrugging off financial market pleas for more action, the Federal Reserve on Wednesday extended a controversial bond-buying program designed to lower interest rates but declined to expand into new areas even as it downgraded its forecast for employment and growth in the sluggish U.S. economy. | 06/20/12 19:08:02 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Fed expected to keep Twisting, but will markets shout?

Faced with a wide range of signs warning of an economic slowdown, the Federal Reserve is expected to announce Wednesday that it will extend a controversial bond-buying program even though there’s evidence that it isn’t always helping the Americans who most need assistance. | 06/19/12 17:11:03 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Euro fears mount in spite of Greek election results

Weekend election results in Greece did little to settle concerns about a Europe-driven global economic slowdown, with investors and analysts shifting attention Monday to Mexico, Spain and the United States for the next steps. | 06/18/12 18:29:28 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Mexico enters talks on joining Pacific trade pact

Mexican President Felipe Calderon on Monday hailed his nation’s entry into talks to join a pan-Pacific trade agreement as a route to steady economic growth for decades ahead. | 06/18/12 16:43:04 By - By Tim Johnson

SEC taps Thomas J. Butler, Wall Street veteran, to oversee ratings agencies

Consumer advocacy groups voiced concern over the appointment Friday of a Wall Street veteran to be the chief overseer of credit-rating agencies, which were found by two government inquiries to have been major causes of the 2008 financial crisis. | 06/15/12 19:40:05 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Coming weeks may prove crucial to world’s faltering economies

Europe’s problems are slowing the U.S. economic recovery and hurting growth in China. That in turn has caused China to cut imports of commodities from Brazil and elsewhere that had been needed to feed what been a prolonged Chinese boom. | 06/14/12 18:12:36 By - By Kevin G. Hall

JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon takes responsibility – but not blame – for $2 billion loss

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon told Congress on Wednesday that he bore ultimate responsibility for a $2 billion trading loss, but that the bank might financially penalize some of the executives involved. | 06/13/12 18:08:54 By - By Annika McGinnis

Exxon says it's moving to develop Alaskan oil and gas field

Exxon Mobil is on track to develop part of the huge, remote Point Thomson oil and gas field east of Prudhoe Bay, as required under a court settlement reached earlier this year with the Parnell administration, the company's senior manager on the project told state legislators Tuesday. | 06/13/12 06:54:12 By - Lisa Demer

JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon releases testimony before Senate hearing

Getting a jump on senators who are expected to pound him for massive trading losses, JPMorgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon released prepared testimony late Tuesday in which he tried to deflect criticism with a mea culpa and a wag of a finger at regulators. | 06/12/12 20:28:29 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Fed survey details middle-class pain

A new survey of U.S. family finances released by the Federal Reserve on Monday documents in painful detail just how deeply the so-called Great Recession and its aftermath has been felt in family budgets across America. | 06/11/12 18:50:59 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Central California growers struggle with farmworker shortage

Kevin Steward has spent more than a quarter-century in agriculture, much of that growing grapes for wineries. He's always been able to rely on seasonal workers to tend the vines and bring in the year's harvest. But this year, workers are harder to come by. | 06/11/12 13:32:26 By - Darrell Smith

Amazon may see sales tax windfall from California warehouses

After years of wrestling with state officials about Internet taxation, Amazon.com finally agreed last fall to begin collecting sales tax from its California customers. But some of that tax revenue, perhaps millions of dollars a year, could wind up back in Amazon's pocket. | 06/11/12 06:42:31 By - Dale Kasler

Miami condos: 'amazing turnaround' says Fed official

“In 2008 and 2009, what I was hearing was condo towers essentially being empty’’ in downtown Miami, Lockhart told a Broward County business group Wednesday morning. A recent survey shows something far different: about 90 percent of downtown’s condos are either rented or occupied by an owner. | 06/07/12 15:15:51 By - Douglas Hanks

Senator questions why refineries cut production

West Coast oil refiners cut gasoline production after a fire earlier this year at a Washington state refinery, creating a supply shortage that’s left West Coast motorists now paying very high prices at a time when the rest of the nation is seeing prices plunge, according to an influential senator and a veteran energy analyst. | 06/07/12 03:00:00 By - By Kevin G. Hall

CBO: Federal debt to exceed 70 percent of economic output

The amount of federal debt held by the public is projected later this year to surpass 70 percent of the nation’s annual economic output, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday in a report that spotlighted the stark choices policymakers face on taxation and government spending. | 06/05/12 18:03:49 By - By Kevin G. Hall

At state level, unemployment’s a glass half-full or half-empty

Two consecutive government reports showing dismal national hiring have renewed concerns that the U.S. economic recovery is stalling. A deeper dive into the state employment numbers, however, paints a more complex hiring picture, one that shows about half the nation returning to past robust employment levels and the other half not. | 06/05/12 15:05:48 By - Kevin G. Hall

New economy fallout – ‘wage theft’ from paychecks

For nearly a year, unemployed home health worker Leslie Gilbert of Grand Rapids, Mich., has fought to get more than $400 in unpaid wages from her former employer. | 06/04/12 16:44:54 By - By Tony Pugh

Florida marine industry back to building boats

Marine manufacturers across Southwest Florida are back to the business of building boats, with hopes a resurgence in buyer demand will leave the recession in their wake. | 06/04/12 12:47:20 By - Josh Salman

California's Central Valley farmers struggle with worker shortage

Kevin Steward has spent more than a quarter-century in agriculture, much of that growing grapes for wineries. He's always been able to rely on seasonal workers to tend the vines and bring in the year's harvest. But this year, workers are harder to come by. | 06/04/12 06:53:20 By - Darrell Smith

Dismal job growth shows U.S. economy slowing; jobless rate 8.2 percent

A dismal jobs report Friday rekindled fears that the economy is stumbling, sending stocks plunging, stoking talk of new life-support moves by the Federal Reserve and suggesting new political problems for President Barack Obama as he seeks re-election. | 06/01/12 17:42:35 By - By Kevin G. Hall McClatchy Newspapers

In Tacoma, liquor hoarded amid price worries

At Washington State Liquor Store 105 on Tacoma’s Sixth Avenue, one customer recently checked out with more than $1,700 in merchandise. Another, said store manager Nancy Dealba, bought more than $260 worth of whiskey, all in pint bottles, for his weekly card games. Those and other customers have nearly stripped the store bare of spirits. They’re betting that while privatization of liquor sales in Washington will make liquor available at hundreds more locations, it won’t make it any less expensive. | 05/31/12 16:02:16 By - John Gillie

Ex-offenders says housing, jobs are tough to find

For a brief moment, Tim Baker considered that death might improve his situation. "Suicide is natural for someone who is depressed," Baker said. | 05/29/12 07:38:29 By - Mitch Mitchell

Manufacturers push skills certificate as good jobs go unfilled

The U.S. unemployment rate remains above 8 percent, and every politician extols the importance of job creation. Yet each month thousands of manufacturing jobs are there for the taking — but companies are unable to hire sufficiently skilled workers. | 05/29/12 00:00:00 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Texas isn't ready for bigger ships from Panama Canal expansion

Texas and other Gulf states may not be ready when their ship comes in.

A massive expansion of the Panama Canal is on track to be completed in about two years, making it possible for huge ships often carrying goods from Asia to bypass their usual stops in the Los Angeles/Long Beach area and instead sail directly to Texas and other states along the Gulf of Mexico, as well as the East Coast. From there, the freight could be put on trains and trucks and shipped across the country -- potentially generating billions of dollars and creating thousands of jobs not only on the coasts but also in major inland hubs such as Dallas-Fort Worth. | 05/28/12 07:32:56 By - Gordon Dickson

Companies offer differing perspectives on Bain Capital

Four years ago, entrepreneur Jon Darbyshire needed help. His Overland Park company, Archer Technologies, was pulling down strong profits selling special risk management software to some of the biggest firms in the nation. He wanted to take cash out of the company, but he wasn't sure how. | 05/28/12 07:11:48 By - Dave Helling

After closing arguments, bankruptcy judge advises American to make a deal

As American Airlines took its final stand Friday in U.S. bankruptcy court, the judge finished the lengthy hearing on a surprising note by telling the courtroom that the airline and its unions needed to work toward a deal. | 05/25/12 17:28:51 By - By Maria Recio

Florida denying jobless benefits to thousands, groups claim

A national workers’ rights group has filed a federal complaint over Florida’s revamped unemployment compensation system, claiming that the Sunshine State has become the most difficult place in the nation for unemployed people seeking benefits. | 05/25/12 07:11:43 By - Toluse Olorunnipa

Workers picket Lockheed headquarters in solidarity with Fort Worth

The understated corporate neighborhood wedged between an interstate and the Washington, D.C., Beltway and home to Lockheed Martin Inc. took on a rowdy flavor Thursday with the shouting, chanting, sign-waving and heckling of more than 150 picketers supporting the International Association of Machinists’ strike. | 05/24/12 13:38:15 By - By Maria Recio

California sees sharp rise in million-dollar hospital bills

A million dollars can buy a mansion in one of Sacramento's nicest neighborhoods, near its best schools and parks. Or it can buy an ever-dwindling number of weeks in the intensive care unit of a local hospital. | 05/22/12 06:44:03 By - Phillip Reese

Chinese company buys Kansas City-based AMC theater chain

AMC Entertainment, a Kansas City fixture since 1920, has been purchased by a Chinese firm for $2.6 billion to create the world’s biggest movie theater operator. | 05/21/12 14:00:03 By - Kevin Collison

Europe’s economic troubles mount ahead of G-8

Europe’s deepening debt crisis is likely to play out on U.S. shores Friday as financial markets digest the downgrade of the creditworthiness of 16 Spanish banks and the arrival of France’s new socialist president at the White House for meetings with President Barack Obama. | 05/17/12 20:12:40 By - By Kevin G. Hall and Matthew Schofield

JPMorgan Chase CEO Dimon summoned before Senate committee

The Senate Banking Committee on Thursday summoned JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon to testify under oath about the huge losses his company suffered on an investment strategy that sank JPMorgan’s share price, heightened concerns about the efficacy of new regulations and tarnished the reputation of the nation’s star banker. | 05/17/12 18:52:40 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Fruit, vegetable farmers work to keep what they’ve sown

Eat your broccoli. After all, you might be helping to pay for it. | 05/17/12 14:51:13 By - By Michael Doyle

70 Bank of America branches have been closed or sold in 2012

Bank of America Corp. has closed or sold at least 70 branches so far this year, according to data compiled by SNL Financial, part of the bank’s plans to shed 750 offices over the next few years. | 05/17/12 07:13:48 By - Andrew Dunn

G-8 meeting at presidential retreat at Camp David, Md.

U.S. presidents have long sought relief from battles inside the Beltway and have entertained visiting heads of state at Camp David, the presidential retreat nestled in a mountain range in nearby Maryland. | 05/16/12 19:55:42 By - Lesley Clark

American Airlines pilots ask bankruptcy judge to keep contracts intact

American Airlines’ pilots union pressed its case Monday before the U.S. bankruptcy court, asking the judge not to abrogate its contract with the carrier and laying out its offers to cut costs that American had rebuffed leading up to the court hearing. | 05/14/12 18:43:33 By - By Maria Recio

More private colleges offering tuition discounts

The cost of a college education continues to increase faster than inflation; a phenomenon that's roiling family budgets and spurring calls for action on Capitol Hill. But with a little digging, parents and students can find cost-cutting deals and programs that make the paper chase a lot more affordable. | 05/14/12 16:47:34 By - By Tony Pugh

Gas prices this summer won't be as high as feared

Gasoline for your summer vacation isn’t going to be cheap, but it’s unlikely to be as expensive as once feared. The recent fall in gas prices has been fueled by a decline in oil prices of about $14 a barrel in the last several weeks. | 05/14/12 11:54:47 By - Steve Everly

IRS crackdown on foreign assets leading many to renounce U.S. citizenship

A growing number of U.S. citizens who live abroad and have bank accounts there are making a radical decision to avoid paying taxes: They’re giving up their U.S. citizenship. Last year, 1,780 Americans relinquished their citizenship to avoid disclosing foreign account information to the Internal Revenue Service. | 05/14/12 06:58:55 By - Alfonso Chardy

J.P. Morgan’s bad bet sparks firestorm over regulation

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.’s stunning after-hours announcement Thursday of a $2 billion loss on a complex bet sent shock waves through the nation’s capital Friday, as lawmakers blamed financial regulators for continuing to allow the same risky activity that nearly sunk the global financial system four years ago. | 05/11/12 17:18:53 By - By Kevin G. Hall

As Europe’s economic outlook darkens, U.S. risks grow

Most economists don’t expect Europe’s debt problems to sink the sluggish U.S. economic recovery, but clearly Europe has sent new headwinds our way, dragging down U.S. stock prices. If Europe’s crisis continues to deepen, it could cause market chaos globally, threatening our economy and others. | 05/11/12 15:29:46 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Hunting for Mother's Day? Spenders look for thrifty bargains

Consumers will spend more on Mom this year in an improving economy. But spending habits altered by the worst recession in a lifetime will still have them looking for deals as they prepare to celebrate Mother’s Day Sunday. | 05/10/12 17:46:51 By - Roddie Burris

California's Mother Lode region set for commercial gold production's return

The pursuit of gold – which propelled California to statehood more than 160 years ago – will soon return on an industrial scale to Amador County. Officials bill it as the first commercial underground gold mine operation in California's historic Mother Lode region in more than 50 years. | 05/10/12 06:57:19 By - Mark Glover

Tea-party lawmakers face quandary in House vote on export bank

A vote Wednesday in the House of Representatives to pour billions into a little-known federal bank illustrates the divide among tea party-backed lawmakers torn between upholding anti-government principles and helping American companies compete in foreign markets. | 05/09/12 19:06:09 By - By James Rosen

Europe elections aside, experts say austerity is far from dead

Even as France’s Francois Hollande proclaims that pro-growth measures can help rescue Europe from economic crisis, experts say that only Germany has the money needed to launch a major round of stimulus spending across the euro zone - and it has no intention of sending that much money around the continent. | 05/07/12 19:15:44 By - By Matthew Schofield

In South Carolina, gas 22 cents cheaper than 2011's

The price for a gallon of gasoline in South Carolina decreased by 6.6 cents last week to average $3.49 per gallon on Sunday, which is 22 cents lower than the same day a year ago, according to the website SouthCarolinaGasPrices.com. | 05/07/12 15:24:40 By - Tonya Root

4 years after Wall Street crash, regulation of financial markets is still spotty

Almost four years after America’s financial near-collapse, regulators are now empowered to police financial markets as never before. Yet some of the most important rules to curb Wall Street’s bad behavior have yet to take effect – and could be watered down. | 05/07/12 00:00:00 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Austerity backlash: Sarkozy out in France, ruling parties lose in Greece

French and Greek voters delivered a sharp rebuff to their governments in national elections Sunday, raising questions about the viability of the European Union’s austerity program intended to preserve the euro as Europe’s dominant currency. | 05/06/12 15:01:11 By - By Roy Gutman

Sarkozy loses in France; Greek voters also turn on leaders

Voters in France and Greece delivered a harsh judgment on their ruling parties in elections Sunday, ousting President Nicolas Sarkozy from power in France and severely punishing the two leading parties in Greece. | 05/06/12 12:08:38 By - By Roy Gutman

April jobs report suggests slowing economy; unemployment drops to 8.1 percent

Concerns that the U.S. economy’s recovery is stumbling intensified Friday with the government’s second consecutive subpar monthly-jobs report. | 05/04/12 17:54:29 By - By Kevin G. Hall

More research ahead in Alaska on new ways to extract natural gas

Will the world be tapping methane hydrates deep in the permafrost and off the edges of continents decades from now? Part of the answer will rest with research in Alaska. | 05/03/12 18:55:47 By - By Renee Schoof

Muddy outlook for Friday’s April jobs report

A spate of conflicting recent economic data leaves the outlook for Friday’s report of April jobs data clear as mud. | 05/03/12 15:13:14 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Mortgage servicers finally helping on some foreclosures, but problems remain

Nearly two years after the “robo-signing” scandal forced a reboot of the nation’s home-foreclosure process, mortgage servicers have begun the hard work of buffing up their industry’s tarnished image after years of making life miserable for Americans struggling to hold on to their homes. | 05/03/12 16:07:02 By - By Tony Pugh

As states seek funds for deeper ports, will ships come in?

A wider, deeper Panama Canal will open in 2014, meaning that bigger cargo ships filled with more containers of consumer goods can move directly to the population centers of the East Coast instead of stopping on the West Coast and sending the goods across the country. | 05/02/12 15:50:09 By - By Curtis Tate

Amazon.com agrees to begin collecting Texas sales taxes

Amazon.com and Texas Comptroller Susan Combs said Friday that the online retailer will begin to collect Texas sales taxes beginning July 1, in an agreement that Combs said “resolves all sales tax issues between Texas and Amazon.” | 04/27/12 14:50:29 By - Scott Nishimura

Weak growth of U.S. economy in first quarter renews fears of stalled recovery

The U.S. economy’s weaker-than-expected growth in the first three months of this year renewed concerns Friday that the nation’s fragile recovery might stall. Much of the drag against growth reported Friday came from falling government spending, which raises the stakes in the difficult political fight ahead over narrowing federal budget deficits and lowering the national debt. | 04/27/12 17:16:29 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Fed improves 2012 economic forecast, but not much

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday looked past recent soft economic indicators and raised its forecast for the U.S. economy, projecting stronger but still subpar growth this year. | 04/25/12 18:23:59 By - By Kevin G. Hall

EEOC revises rules on job seekers with criminal records

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission voted Wednesday to revise its long-standing guidance to employers on how to properly evaluate job applicants’ criminal histories in pre-employment screening. | 04/25/12 17:39:58 By - By Tony Pugh

Foreclosures drop in Sacramento, California area

A significant drop in foreclosures in the first few months of 2012 may be yet another sign that the Sacramento region, like the state as a whole, is emerging from its long economic ordeal. | 04/25/12 06:53:37 By - Hudson Sangree

American cites bleak finances in bankruptcy court

American Airlines on Tuesday made its most forceful case yet to terminate its labor contracts as the company’s top restructuring official laid out the airline’s bleak finances in bankruptcy court. | 04/24/12 19:11:03 By - By Maria Recio

American Airlines asks bankruptcy judge to ditch union contracts

More than 300 American Airlines’ transport workers and flight attendants rallied in protest in front of the U.S. bankruptcy court Monday where their company asked a judge to wipe out their labor contracts and unions touted a possible bid by USAirways Inc. to take over the Fort Worth, Texas,-based carrier. | 04/23/12 19:19:48 By - By Maria Recio

U.S. economy faces likely slowdown, big year-end decisions

Between now and the November elections, President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney will heartily promise that under their stewardship, the economy will get much better. Don’t bet on it, economists warn. | 04/23/12 14:29:38 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Debtors filing lawsuits over aggressive collection tactics

Kristy Schwarm was introduced to collection agencies after she bounced an $83.41 check at a Mendocino County FoodMaxx. She soon started receiving menacing letters on district attorney and sheriff's department letterhead, warning her she was under criminal investigation and threatening her with arrest. | 04/23/12 06:51:23 By - Marjie Lundstrom and Sam Stanton

Predicting job growth, U.S. businesses covet easier trade with Russia

After getting Congress to pass new trade deals with South Korea, Colombia and Panama six months ago, free-trade proponents have set their sights on Russia, eager to cash in on one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing economies. | 04/20/12 17:01:17 By - By Rob Hotakainen

Tourism rebounds in Washington State

Tourists spent a record amount of money in Washington state's Whatcom County last year, according to a new report. Spending by tourists hit $555.4 million in 2011, a 16.9 percent increase from 2010. | 04/19/12 12:58:14 By - Dave Gallagher

California's SynGen Inc. gets $5 million to develop stem cell harvesting system

Phil Coelho, president and CEO of SynGen Inc. in midtown Sacramento, is back in the regenerative medicine industry in earnest. | 04/19/12 07:10:21 By - Mark Glover

Mega Millions winners revealed in Red Bud

And the winners are...Merle and Patricia Butler, lifelong Red Bud, Ill. residents. Merle Butler just bought one $3 quick pick from the MotoMart in Red Bud. "We're big spenders," Patricia Butler said. | 04/18/12 12:34:49 By - Will Buss

Washington state retailers back bill requiring online stores to pay tax

Washington’s brick-and-mortar retailers are marking Tax Day today by pointing out that they support national legislation to ensure that online retailers don’t evade sales taxes on online transactions. | 04/17/12 18:18:44 By - Brad Shannon

Obama proposes new action on oil speculation

Utilizing the bully pulpit in an attempt to push down stubbornly high oil prices, President Barack Obama on Tuesday announced five steps to strengthen oversight of the financial markets where contracts for future delivery of crude are traded and proposed increased funding for regulators to monitor these markets. | 04/17/12 17:29:26 By - By Kevin G. Hall and Lesley Clark

An education revolution beckons in the digital age

Are we ready to quit letter grades? Dump standardized tests? Turn inside-out the role of schools as the authorities of knowledge? While educators try to imagine it, students who’ve already freed themselves are galloping through the digital world. | 04/17/12 16:20:42 By - Joe Robertson

'99 Percent Spring' protests gearing up locally, nationally

Occupy Wall Street encampments have been swept away in most cities, but their rationales live on in the “99 Percent Spring.” That’s the new shorthand for Occupy’s heir — an ongoing protest movement that covers a range of issues and actions. | 04/13/12 14:19:16 By - Diane Stafford

Alaska Railroad credit rating gets hit after Senate's $30 million funding cut

Moody's Investors Service has lowered the outlook for Alaska Railroad bonds from stable to negative, saying the U.S. Senate's move to gut the railroad's budget could leave it short of money to pay off debt. | 04/10/12 06:39:23 By - Sean Cockerham

White House report backs Obama push for tax on millionaires

Going on the offensive as the presidential campaign heats up, the White House released a report late Monday that champions legislation to force the wealthiest Americans to pay a greater percentage of their income in taxes. | 04/10/12 06:00:46 By - Lesley Clark and Kevin G. Hall

Consumer watchdog proposes crackdown on mortgage companies

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Tuesday will consider a host of new rules that would force the nation's mortgage servicers to provide greater accountability and transparency in their dealings with borrowers. | 04/09/12 22:00:29 By - Tony Pugh

Texas engineer, whose wife sent Obama his résumé, still unemployed

More than two months after President Barack Obama asked for Darin Wedel's résumé, the phone is quiet, e-mails are no longer flooding in and the long-sought-after job interviews -- which had begun to be scheduled -- have petered out. | 04/09/12 07:29:39 By - Anna M. Tinsley

California government hiring slowed in 2011

California state government hired 25 percent fewer employees last year, according to new payroll figures, although departments still added thousands of workers while squeezing their budgets during the economic downturn. | 04/09/12 06:35:29 By - Jon Ortiz

College seniors face better job prospects but continued angst

Meredith Ballard is an economics major at Colorado College. But when she began her senior year last fall, she started feeling she was spending more time traveling to job interviews than going to class. | 04/08/12 20:02:12 By - Meghan Farnsworth

Three Big Oil companies agree to settle ‘hot fuel’ lawsuits

Three of the biggest oil companies in the country have agreed to settle lawsuits accusing them of profiting from “hot fuel” — gasoline and diesel sold without adjusting the volume for temperature. | 04/06/12 13:26:36 By - Steve Everly

Employers add jobs, but not many, though jobless rate dips

A sharp slowdown in hiring during March, reported Friday by the Labor Department, renewed concern that the U.S. economy is still failing to fire on all cylinders. The question is whether March’s weak jobs report is the start of a trend. | 04/06/12 08:52:58 By - Kevin G. Hall

In California, Aetna raises health insurance rates for small businesses

Despite criticism from California's state insurance commissioner and several statewide consumer groups, Aetna said Thursday it's going ahead with a recent hike in health care premiums for small businesses. | 04/06/12 06:43:02 By - Claudia Buck

Spending hike sought to help end veterans' homelessness

Darren Spencer, a 39-year-old Army veteran from Tacoma, Wash., found himself homeless after losing his $15.45-an-hour job as a furniture mover a year ago. He takes pills for his depression and has trouble hearing. He has no car, and his unemployment benefits ran out in December. | 04/05/12 14:44:49 By - Rob Hotakainen

Finance expert says speculators are behind high oil and gasoline prices

Financial speculators are gambling on oil the same way they gambled on the housing market a few years ago — a frightening prospect for the fragile economy, a Democratic congressional committee was told Wednesday. | 04/04/12 18:30:04 By - David Lightman

Across America, public-sector job cuts take a heavy toll

Yes, the economy's growing, the unemployment rate is inching down and America is feeling a little bit better about itself. But don't think for a minute that all the lost jobs aren't still taking a severe toll all across this nation — especially all the chopped government jobs. | 04/04/12 18:09:17 By - Tony Pugh

Health insurers push back on consumer rebate letter

Thanks to hefty profits and a requirement in the health law that takes effect this year, insurers will send subscribers hundreds of millions of dollars in rebate checks this August. But the industry and the Obama administration are at odds over proposed language in a letter that's to go out with the checks, as well as who's to be notified. | 03/29/12 17:11:34 By - Jay Hancock

Big Oil pushes small operators aside in Kansas

Among all the smiles over the black gold rush in southern Kansas, one group stands grim-faced: existing Kansas oil and gas producers. | 03/29/12 15:21:02 By - Dan Voorhis

Bank of America CEO Moynihan's pay rises to $7.5 million in 2011

Bank of America Corp. paid chief executive Brian Moynihan about $7.5 million in salary, stock and other compensation in 2011, up significantly from $1.2 million the year before, the bank said today. | 03/28/12 13:23:31 By - Kirsten Valle Pittman

Ky. Power's decision to stick with coal leads to tense case

Kentucky Power's request for state permission to retrofit its aging coal plant, which is the subject of upcoming public hearings, has surprised some in the industry and led to a tense debate before the state Public Service Commission. | 03/28/12 12:19:09 By - Scott Sloan

American Airlines seeks to reject union contracts

Less than two months after American Airlines asked workers to accept $1.25 billion in cost cuts, the airline asked the Bankruptcy Court in New York on Tuesday to allow it to reject collective bargaining agreements with its major unions so it can move forward with its proposed restructuring. | 03/28/12 07:19:48 By - Andrea Ahles

Poll: Americans' optimism on economy is growing slowly, but gas prices pinch

Americans are increasingly optimistic about the economy, but they're feeling strained by rising gasoline prices, according to a new McClatchy-Marist poll. | 03/27/12 17:25:00 By - Lesley Clark

Schools across the country bring iPads to the classroom

On a warm spring morning, a pair of first-grade boys enter the computer lab at Jamestown Elementary, a traditional-looking red-brick neighborhood school that's educated generations of students. The first-graders take a black cart, big enough that they both could fit in it, and push it down the hall to their classroom. It contains an Apple iPad for every student in their class. This school is anything but old school. | 03/27/12 15:20:57 By - Curtis Tate

California's housing slump isn't going away

The wreckage of California's real estate crash is still washing up on the shoreline. California, Florida and Illinois accounted for more than a third of the nation's 1.6 million housing units classified as shadow inventory in January, according to CoreLogic, a Santa Ana-based mortgage-tracking company. | 03/22/12 06:55:02 By - Mark Glover

Alaska oil producers say tax cuts must be 'meaningful'

The Alaska state Senate's oil-tax reform bill slogged through another day of hearings Wednesday, this time with testimony from representatives of the three big Alaska producers who all said the tax cuts in the measure were too miserly to spur additional development. | 03/22/12 06:43:15 By - Richard Mauer

What's in a wine label? Notes of bureaucracy

Pimpnho raspberry wine is not, perhaps, everyone's picture of good taste. Still, regulators gave the sassy beverage label out of Lodi, Calif., a go-ahead several years ago. Much tamer names, too, win approval, such as the green light that Wavelength got in January. | 03/21/12 06:24:06 By - Michael Doyle

Feds work to check tax fraud, help identity-theft victims

The IRS and federal investigators say they've redoubled their efforts to combat tax fraud from identity theft, a crime they call "epidemic" in Florida that's spreading nationwide. | 03/20/12 17:46:13 By - Erika Bolstad

Have background checks for job candidates gone too far?

Justin D'Heilly never saw it coming. He was working as a Domino's Pizza delivery driver in St. Paul, Minn., in 2009 when he pulled over to take a call from his manager, who told D'Heilly he could no longer drive for the company. | 03/20/12 15:39:28 By - Tony Pugh

79,000 unemployed South Carolinians to lose long-term jobless benefits

Extended federal unemployment benefits are being phased out for almost 80,000 jobless workers in South Carolina despite the state’s high 9.3 percent jobless rate. | 03/16/12 06:55:27 By - Kristy Eppley Rupon

Report: Bank of America, Wells Fargo leaders knew of foreclosure issues

Bank of America Corp. vice presidents knew employees were signing foreclosure documents without verifying their accuracy, and some vice presidents signed thousands of documents per month themselves, according to new federal reports based on employee interviews. | 03/14/12 06:48:08 By - Andrew Dunn

Fed gives green light to 15 banks, improved take on economy

Hours after upgrading its view of the economy Tuesday, the Federal Reserve announced that 15 of the 19 largest U.S. banks had passed tough stress tests that showed they'd be able to weather another catastrophic economic slump. | 03/13/12 19:27:03 By - Kevin G. Hall

Chinese maker of offshore wind turbines, sets up U.S. base in Raleigh

A Chinese wind turbine manufacturer today announced the opening of a research-and-development facility in Raleigh in anticipation for demand for its offshore turbines in this country. | 03/13/12 14:09:36 By - John Murawski

Wells Fargo, Bank of America may be fined for foreclosure errors

Bank of America Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co. could face million-dollar fines if more than 1 percent of their foreclosure sales are found to be in error going forward, according to legal documents outlining the $25 billion mortgage settlement. | 03/13/12 06:42:11 By - Andrew Dunn

Economic, political pressures redo dream of homeownership

Despite all that has crashed down in recent years, Americans by their nature still want to be owners, not renters. Opinion polls make that clear. And homeowners with equity do tend to lead happier lives, much evidence shows. | 03/12/12 12:40:28 By - by Rick Montgomery

New State Department visa rules concern Alaska's seafood industry

The State Department is moving to halt visas that allow foreign students to work in U.S. manufacturing jobs, which Alaska seafood processors say could create an employment crisis going into the summer season. | 03/12/12 06:07:37 By - Sean Cockerham

Money markets, largely unchanged since 2008 crisis, remain big risk

Plain-vanilla money market funds, part of the skeletal structure of American finance, may be a $2.7 trillion disaster hiding in plain sight. | 03/11/12 14:07:10 By - Kevin G. Hall

Port of Tacoma lands three major shipping lines

Tacoma could regain its crown as Puget Sound’s largest container port thanks to a Thursday decision by a group of three container shipping lines to forsake the Port of Seattle in favor of the Port of Tacoma’s Washington United Terminal. | 03/09/12 16:04:25 By - John Gillie

Economy continued strong jobs growth in February

The government reported Friday a second straight month of strong employment growth in February, with new jobs spread broadly across many sectors, which underscores that the nation's economic recovery is gathering steam and raises hopes for stronger hiring in coming months. | 03/09/12 08:49:42 By - Kevin G. Hall

Obama orders oil-speculation task force back into action - but it says it never stopped

President Barack Obama this week ordered his much-publicized Oil and Gas Price Fraud Working Group back to work. He created it last April to get to the bottom of soaring gasoline and oil prices. | 03/08/12 17:28:38 By - Kevin G. Hall and Lesley Clark

Study: older workers are exiting fast, shrinking the labor force

New research challenges the conventional wisdom that the unemployment rate is falling because workers have given up looking for a job and have exited the labor force, and the rate likely will climb again once these discouraged Americans renew their search for a job. | 03/07/12 15:23:49 By - Kevin G. Hall

Gulf state governors ask Obama to keep C-130s in Fort Worth

Fierce opposition to an Air Force proposal to permanently ship a squadron of Texas Air National Guard C-130s from Fort Worth to Montana continues to blossom across the Gulf Coast. | 03/07/12 07:29:09 By - Chris Vaughn

N.C. banks consider options over TARP bailout debt

The federal government's interest in ending its politically unpopular bank bailout program has Triangle community banks pondering how the government's plans might affect them. | 03/07/12 07:16:45 By - David Ranii and Andrew Dunn

Safety concerns rise as ‘fracking’ grows in Kansas

The national debate over fracking has darkened a good-news story for the country: horizontal multistage hydrofracking has reversed the growth of imported oil and natural gas, created hundreds of thousands of American jobs and, in the case of natural gas, dramatically cut prices. | 03/05/12 14:26:20 By - Dan Voorhis

For some, electric cars are the way to go

Brent Beasley loved his Chevy Volt electric car even before gasoline seemed headed for $4 a gallon. Now he's enjoying it even more. | 03/05/12 13:09:03 By - Box Cox

South Florida's economy feeling hints of recovery from recession

About three years ago in the depths of the recession, contractor George Cuesta was hoping to land a small hotel renovation job in South Beach. He didn’t get it, but nobody else did either. The gutted building sat idle off 22nd Street when the funding fell apart, as pigeons nested on the exposed beams inside and vandals spray-painted the cinderblock walls. | 03/05/12 06:56:49 By - Douglas Hanks

Ohio economy has highs, lows as Super Tuesday approaches

When Ohio Gov. John Kasich broke with tradition last month to deliver his annual state address in Steubenville, it was an unexpected nod to the quiet river city's growing buzz as a new-millennium boomtown. | 03/02/12 17:13:24 By - Tony Pugh

French ambassador: Charlotte's 'on the map' for business

French-American relations are at a high point, and North Carolina is poised to reap the benefits, France's ambassador to the United States said Thursday in Charlotte. | 03/02/12 12:26:10 By - Jim Morrill

Even after uproar over $5 debit fee, Bank of America considers other fees

Angry customers protested, pushed back and ultimately prevailed in the fight last fall against Bank of America Corp.'s planned $5 debit card fee. But four months later, the Charlotte lender is still considering fees for other services that could boost profits — and deliver the latest blow to the bank's public image. | 03/02/12 07:10:30 By - Kirsten Valle Pittman

California Gov. Brown seeks Chinese investment for projects

California Gov. Jerry Brown talks a lot these days about China, ever since his visit last month with the nation's president-in-waiting, Xi Jinping. During Xi's visit, Brown said the state will open trade offices in Shanghai and Beijing. Last weekend, the Democratic governor, who rarely travels, said he will lead a delegation there, likely this year. | 03/02/12 06:43:27 By - David Siders

Whatever happened to task force on oil speculation?

When oil and gasoline prices soared last April, President Barack Obama announced to fanfare that the Department of Justice would lead a task force designed to root out manipulation of the oil market and gouging of consumers at the gas pump.

Since then the group has met only a handful of times and has never reported to the public. | 03/01/12 19:46:43 By - Kevin G. Hall

Many Texans may be on a diet, but the trucks on their highways certainly aren't.

Many Texans may be on a diet, but the trucks on their highways certainly aren't. A record 58,514 oversize/overweight permits were issued in January, according to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. The previous one-month high was 57,139, in August, the agency said Tuesday. | 02/29/12 12:56:41 By - Gordon Dickson

Lower natural gas revenues cut into Texas governments revenues

Local Texas governments, bolstered by more than $1 billion from the Barnett Shale over the past four years, are adjusting to diminished windfalls as the lowest natural gas prices in a decade have slowed drilling and reduced royalties. | 02/29/12 12:47:00 By - Jack Z. Smith

Profits up, revenue down as banks lumber along

U.S. banks ended 2011 on a roll, a government regulator reported Tuesday, with profits up sharply from a year earlier and over the entire year. | 02/28/12 17:58:23 By - Kevin G. Hall

In southern Kansas, an energy trove awaits ... maybe

The whiff of another oil and natural-gas boom is wafting around southern Kansas, but it’s too early to tell whether it will become a reality. | 02/28/12 12:30:30 By - Steve Everly

California AG Harris wants halt to foreclosures

California Attorney General Kamala Harris on Monday called on mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to temporarily suspend all foreclosure sales statewide. | 02/28/12 06:45:59 By - Rick Daysog

Federal judge weighs whether to let regulators rein in oil speculators

A federal judge on Monday refused to halt efforts by a key regulator to limit excessive speculation in the trading of oil contracts — which is driving up oil and gasoline prices — but hinted that he might soon rule in favor of Wall Street and let speculation go unchecked. | 02/27/12 18:39:27 By - Kevin G. Hall

Companies find bigger returns in smaller stores

Bigger is not always better. Just ask the biggest retailers in the country — and their customers. The recession and the growth of online shopping have conspired to cut chains down to size. One strategy they’ve employed has been to close underperforming stores. But Best Buy and an increasing number of companies are trying another strategy, too — going smaller | 02/22/12 12:22:55 By - Joyce Smith

Stanford report: California pension costs outpace spending for schools, public safety

California cities and counties have seen pension costs rise 11.4% per year since 1999, more than twice the rate of spending on education and public safety, according to a Stanford University report released Tuesday. | 02/22/12 12:09:35 By - Kurtis Alexander

Once again, speculators behind sharply rising oil and gasoline prices

U.S. demand for oil and refined products - including gasoline - is down sharply from last year, so much that United States has actually become a net exporter of gasoline, unable to consume all that it makes. Yet oil and gasoline prices are surging. | 02/21/12 17:53:07 By - Kevin G. Hall

U.S. Treasury, banks look for TARP exit plan

The federal government's desire to end the politically unpopular bank bailout program could change how a number of Charlotte-area community banks pay back their share. As the nation heads into a presidential election year, the U.S. Treasury has begun communicating with community banks around the country as it plans an exit from the Troubled Asset Relief Program. | 02/21/12 07:10:21 By - Andrew Dunn

Kentucky phone companies push to end basic service

Kentucky's telephone industry wants the option to end basic phone service in less profitable parts of their territories if other communications options, such as cell phones or the Internet, are available in the area. | 02/17/12 07:14:49 By - John Cheves

New consumer bureau targets bill collectors, credit bureaus

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau wants to place debt collectors and credit bureaus under federal supervision for the first time, after an explosion in complaints about their practices. | 02/16/12 18:07:30 By - Tony Pugh

Santorum's plan to help manufacturers leaves questions unanswered

Thanks in part to his pro-manufacturing message, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum's poll numbers are soaring in the blue-collar states of Michigan and Ohio, which soon hold GOP presidential primaries. | 02/16/12 17:34:19 By - Kevin G. Hall

Indiana's new right-to-work law could prompt copycats

When Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels signed legislation this month making Indiana the nation's first new right-to-work state in more than a decade, it turned up the heat on a long-simmering debate about the true intent and impact of the controversial anti-union laws. | 02/16/12 15:47:41 By - Tony Pugh

'Land bank' a possible help in foreclosures in Kansas City

A study last year by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City found that Johnson’s neighborhood is far from unique. All told, it found there were 12,000 vacant residential properties in Kansas City. In some areas, the vacancy rate ranges as high as 25 percent. To help deal with the crisis, Kansas City-area lawmakers are once again pushing an idea that they contend could have a dramatic impact on blighted neighborhoods throughout the community — the creation of a land bank. | 02/15/12 12:41:16 By - Jason Hancock and Mike Hendricks

Consumers could face all-time high gas prices by Memorial Day

It's only mid-February, but energy analysts already are warning of a perfect storm that could drive gasoline prices to all-time highs when the weather warms up. | 02/15/12 06:52:22 By - Mark Glover

Along with love, Valentine’s Day means billions in commerce

If you pay attention to the Twittersphere, Hallmark Cards invented Valentine’s Day to sell cards. Wrong — by about three centuries. | 02/14/12 12:45:01 By - Diane Stafford

Obama's budget frames election choices, doesn't solve long-term problems

President Barack Obama's proposed federal budget is more campaign commercial than governing document. His $3.8 trillion budget for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1 — and blueprint for the coming decade — is filled with promises sure to appeal to voters that he wants to win for his re-election in November, such as new spending to hire teachers and tax increases on the wealthy. | 02/13/12 17:43:45 By - Steven Thomma and David Lightman

China looks to spur consumer spending to maintain growth rate

China's government, which has overseen enviable economic growth for the past three decades by pushing huge volumes of exports, is searching for ways to get its own people to buy more things in hopes that will help sustain its economic miracle. | 02/13/12 15:11:38 By - Mark Melnicoe

Almost half of Kentucky county's children on school meals

Kentucky's Fayette County's public schools are closing in on a milestone that no one is happy about. District figures show that, as of January, 49.4 percent of students enrolled in the Fayette County Public Schools were receiving free or reduced-cost school meals, based on their families' low incomes. | 02/13/12 13:59:28 By - Jim Warren

California's mobile hospitals are losing funding and time

In a cool, 18,000-square-foot warehouse tucked in an industrial Sacramento-area neighborhood sits millions of dollars in equipment California leaders hope never to use. In the heady days of the housing bubble when the median home price in California was $576,000 and the general fund enjoyed a surplus in 2006, the state spent $18.3 million on three mobile hospitals for use in massive emergencies. | 02/13/12 06:56:16 By - Kevin Yamamura

Obama budget projects $1.3 trillion deficit this year

President Barack Obama expects the federal budget deficit to reach $1.33 trillion this year, administration officials said Friday evening, the fourth straight year of trillion-dollar deficits. | 02/10/12 20:30:06 By - Steven Thomma

Union Pacific plans billions in infrastructure investment

Union Pacific said today that it plans to hire thousands more workers and invest several billion dollars this year, which marks the railroad’s 150th anniversary. | 02/10/12 14:01:40 By - Jerry Siebenmark

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