Economy

Default or not, U.S. already has endangered its credit rating

Credit ratings agencies may not wait for a default to downgrade U.S. government creditworthiness. It’s a warning that politicians are showing just why U.S. bonds no longer are considered to be worthy of the gold-plated AAA status. | 10/15/13 18:44:26 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Airports seek improvement dollars elsewhere as federal fiscal woes deepen

The nation’s airports once counted on billions of dollars in federal grants to upgrade their facilities, but in an increasingly uncertain fiscal environment, some would prefer to leave the money on the table and leverage their own resources instead. | 10/14/13 16:21:51 By - By Curtis Tate

As cities improve rapid transit, buses get a new look

It’s the fastest, cheapest, most effective way to move large numbers of people in an urban area, some transit advocates have come to conclude. But it’s not a streetcar or light-rail system: It’s a fleet of buses that acts like one. | 10/11/13 06:21:06 By - By Curtis Tate

Lew frowns on prioritizing payments in debt default scenario

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew shoots down idea that government could prioritize who get paid during default scenario | 10/10/13 09:57:26 By - Kevin G. Hall

Stocks are up, interest too, as markets hinge on debt deal

Repercussions from the chance that the federal government may not be able to pay all its bills starting next week already are being felt across the U.S. economy. | 10/10/13 18:11:08 By - By Kevin G. Hall

USDA threatens to close 3 Foster Farms plants in salmonella outbreak

The U.S. Department of Agriculture gave a California poultry producer until Thursday to correct problems that led to a salmonella outbreak in 18 states, or be forced to shut down three processing plants. | 10/09/13 19:40:29 By - By Curtis Tate

Fed nominee Yellen will face questions about inflation vs. growth

Republican lawmakers raised concern Wednesday that President Barack Obama’s pick to lead the Federal Reserve might be too willing to tolerate inflation and too inclined to support economic stimulus efforts, but only a few signaled that they intend to oppose her confirmation. | 10/09/13 17:45:42 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Obama to name Janet Yellen as first woman to lead Fed

President Barack Obama will nominate Janet Yellen on Wednesday as the first woman to head the powerful Federal Reserve. If confirmed she’d become the world’s most influential banker. | 10/08/13 21:32:26 By - By Kevin G. Hall

What are options on debt default? Bad and worse

The federal government won’t automatically or immediately default next week if it hits the legal limit on debt without an agreement to raise it from Congress and the White House. | 10/08/13 17:06:54 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Economists want to know faster what’s happening in small business

Politicians extol the virtues of small businesses as an engine of the U.S. economy, but often leave out a very important flip side. They also have a shorter life span than larger firms, and thus toss more people into joblessness, making them disproportionately the generators of unemployment. . | 10/08/13 12:59:11 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Salmonella cases in 17 states may have started with California chickens

A federal agency said Monday that 278 people might have been infected with salmonella from Foster Farms chicken that was undercooked or improperly handled. | 10/08/13 06:45:47 By - By John Holland

Behind the scenes, business leaders press for immigration overhaul

While the immigration debate has been put on the back burner in Washington, national and local business heavyweights have been working behind the scenes – and using their financial might – to press House Republicans to bring legislation overhauling the immigration system to a vote. | 10/07/13 17:33:19 By - By Franco Ordonez

On Sunday shows, Treasury secretary warns of default

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew appeared on five major talk shows Sunday morning to try to press House Republicans on the dangers of default. | 10/06/13 10:16:16 By - By Anita Kumar

U.S. tobacco growers fear loss of cigarette sales in Europe

Jonathan Shell acknowledges that smoking isn’t good for you, but he says growing 190 acres of burley tobacco on his family’s farm in Lancaster, Ky., has provided a long list of benefits. | 10/04/13 13:31:13 By - By Rob Hotakainen

Manufacturing execs say they need trained workers

The National Association of Manufacturers on Thursday announced that GE Appliances President and CEO Chip Blankenship will chair a group of executives who will try to find solutions to what businesses nationwide say is a shortage of trained workers. | 10/03/13 16:55:52 By - By Renee Schoof

Plain English or wonk-speak is only 1st decision for next Fed chairman

Whoever chairs the Federal Reserve next year will have to decide a lot more than how to handle the economy. She or he will have to decide whether to talk in English or Fed-speak. | 10/03/13 06:00:00 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Shutdown leaves Wall Street ‘flying blind’

The partial shutdown of the federal government has brought to a near halt the flow of real-time statistical information about the economy needed by financial markets. | 10/02/13 15:16:12 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Shutdown harms economy; how much depends on how long

The partial shutdown of the government threatens self-inflicted harm to an anemic U.S. economy. | 10/02/13 06:34:37 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Holiday forecast is for modest retailer cheer

The holiday hiring season has started, and it looks as if it will be a challenge to match or surpass last year’s strong showing. The sluggish economy is growing, but well below its potential, and competition is fierce from online companies, which hire fewer workers. | 10/01/13 11:59:34 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Treasury sets Oct. 17 as drop dead date for default

The federal government will run out of money to pay its bills on Oct. 17 at the latest, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warned Wednesday in a letter sent to lawmakers asking for a speedy renewal of borrowing authority. | 09/25/13 12:35:51 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Can states protect kids from recreational marijuana?

When the U.S. Justice Department promised not to prosecute illegal marijuana sales planned to begin in Washington state and Colorado next year, its top lawyers demanded that the states reciprocate with a pledge to keep the drug away from minors. | 09/23/13 00:00:00 By - By Rob Hotakainen

Chase Bank, JPMorgan Chase to refund customers $309 million for unfair billing

Federal regulators on Thursday ordered Chase Bank and JPMorgan Chase to refund $309 million to more than 2 million customers for illegally billing them for credit-monitoring services they never received. | 09/19/13 18:47:21 By - By Lindsay Wise

Fed’s surprise move to continue boosting economy could extend low lending rates

The Federal Reserve’s surprise decision Wednesday to maintain a controversial bond-buying program keeping interest rates low to prop up the U.S. economy sparked a Wall Street rally. It also served notice that partisan politics and rising mortgage rates threaten an anemic recovery. | 09/18/13 14:32:50 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Feds still see wiggle room in Lummi Nation position on Washington state coal terminal

The Lummi Nation's position on the Gateway Pacific coal terminal seemed crystal clear in a July 30, 2013, letter to Col. Bruce Estok, district engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Seattle. | 09/18/13 12:12:13 By - John Stark

Household income, poverty hold steady, number of uninsured declines

The nation’s elevated poverty rate and stagnant median household income showed no meaningful changes in 2012, while the number and percentage of Americans without health insurance declined slightly from 2011, due mainly to higher Medicare rolls, according to a new U.S. Census Bureau report Tuesday. | 09/17/13 18:26:23 By - By Tony Pugh

Report: After a decline, budget deficit will start growing again

The federal budget deficit should shrink to 2 percent of the total economy by 2015, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday in a new forecast. The debt held by the public would fall as a share of the economy to a healthier – but still high – 68 percent not long afterward. The improving numbers are due to cuts in government spending and an improving economy, and they reflect short-term trends, the CBO said. Over a longer window, through 2038, the nation’s finances remain on perilous ground, the CBO said. | 09/17/13 17:24:36 By - By Kevin G. Hall and William Douglas

More media consumers are cutting the cable cord

The vast majority of Americans – 95 percent – still watch television using traditional cable or satellite options, according to Nielsen. But the number of households that choose to opt out of cable or satellite TV is on the rise, from 2 million in 2007 to 5 million in 2013, Nielsen’s data show. Rapid advances in streaming technology and faster broadband speeds make the transition easier than ever for those looking to “cut the cord.” | 09/16/13 17:51:28 By - By Lindsay Wise

Summers drops bid to head the Fed

Obama administration economic confidante Lawrence H. Summers said "any possible confirmation process for me would be acrimonious." | 09/15/13 19:10:40 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Claims of olive oil quality ripe for fraud, trade agency says

Olive oil debates might start reheating, with a long-awaited International Trade Commission study noting that a lack of standards enforcement has led to "a long history of fraudulent practices." | 09/13/13 16:17:16 By - By Michael Doyle

Study proposes tolling interstate system to pay for reconstruction

With large portions of the 46,000-mile Interstate Highway System wearing out and needing replacement, but with few federal and state dollars do it, one possible solution goes back to how most roads were originally built: tolls. | 09/13/13 06:03:41 By - By Curtis Tate

Housing could sputter when Fed takes foot off economy’s gas

The Federal Reserve could begin withdrawing unconventional life support for the U.S. economy as early as next week. It raises questions anew, especially for the housing sector, about what happens when an era of cheap borrowing costs comes to a close. | 09/12/13 16:01:17 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Little room to move on debt default debate

Absent a late-hour compromise on Capitol Hill, the U.S. government will run out of money to pay its debts and could begin defaulting on its obligations, piecemeal or all at once, around Oct. 18, according to a report Tuesday. | 09/10/13 17:01:39 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Bank of America to be dropped from the Dow

Bank of America Corp. will be removed from the Dow Jones Industrial Average beginning next week as part of a major shake-up of the stock market index. | 09/10/13 12:14:54 By - Andrew Dunn

Disappointing jobs growth points to weak autumn

A softer-than-expected August jobs report from the government Friday suggests that weak hiring may be the norm for the remainder of the year amid a still-impaired jobs market. | 09/06/13 15:46:28 By - By Kevin G. Hall

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Teen employment hits record lows, suggesting lost generation

For the fourth consecutive summer, teen employment has stayed anchored around record lows, prompting experts to fear that a generation of youth is likely to be economically stunted with lower earnings and opportunities in years ahead. | 08/29/13 14:45:39 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Imports threaten our way of life, Gulf shrimpers tell trade panel

The future of the U.S. shrimp industry and a way of life along the Gulf of Mexico are threatened if the government doesn’t set duties on the large volumes of foreign shrimp that are flooding the domestic market, shrimp producers told federal trade officials Tuesday. | 08/13/13 19:32:48 By - By Isabella Zhong and Rhyan Kronzer

Government’s suit against airline merger unlikely to change industry

In suing to block the proposed merger of US Airways and American Airlines, the Justice Department and six state attorneys general said they were acting to protect consumers from higher prices and fewer choices. But antitrust regulators voiced few objections to a series of mergers during the past decade that helped create the conditions they now find problematic. And industry observers say stopping the deal won’t lower fares, eliminate bag fees or restore service to smaller and medium-size airports where major carriers have cut back. | 08/13/13 18:53:43 By - By Curtis Tate

To some truckers, DOT rules to combat fatigue are tiresome

For commercial truck drivers such as Charles Ryser, when the wheels aren’t turning, you aren’t earning. Until July, Ryser and his father – who drive in a team from a base in Forsyth, Ga. – worked on their own terms. Charles took the day shift, while his father, David Ryser, got behind the wheel at dusk. But because of a Department of Transportation attempt to cut down on fatigued drivers, Ryser now has to comply with rules that lead to more downtime and force him to switch shifts regularly with his father, breaking him from his rhythm. | 08/13/13 14:44:04 By - By Ben Kamisar

Justice Dept. challenges US Airways, American merge

The U.S. Justice Department and six state attorneys general on Tuesday challenged US Airways’ proposed $11 billion merger with American Airlines, saying the combined company would reduce competition for consumers. | 08/13/13 12:35:36 By - Rick Rothacker

U.S. shrimp industry seeks relief from cheaper foreign imports

Domestic shrimp producers will find out Tuesday whether they’ll be one step closer to getting relief from the subsidized imports that have taken over about 75 percent of the U.S. market for the shellfish and that, the shrimpers say, cost them billions of dollars in lost revenue. | 08/09/13 16:27:17 By - By Isabella Zhong and Rhyan Kronzer

In effort to double exports, U.S. initiative targets big cities

Nestled in the westernmost part of North Carolina, which is best known for its wood furniture, Plasticard-Locktech International is at first blush an unlikely exporter. Its calling card is plastic cards, the kind that’s used to get into a hotel room or stuck inside a birthday card as a gift. But the company, now in its 25th year, with about 305 employees, is the kind of exporter the Obama administration is after in its ambitious plan to double exports to more than $3 trillion by the end of next year. | 08/08/13 13:36:08 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Industry wrote provision that undercuts credit-rating overhaul

Moments before the Senate passed a bill to overhaul the credit ratings industry seven years ago, sponsors took turns touting its promise for ending an entrenched oligopoly. The bill, they said, should break the vicelike dominance of three agencies in an industry that serves as a watchdog over the financial system. What’s escaped scrutiny until now, however, is that the law’s tough criteria defining when a newcomer could join the industry weren’t written by Congress. They were crafted by an official of one of the big three ratings agencies, McClatchy has learned. | 08/07/13 15:29:36 By - By Greg Gordon

Fines may not deter companies from manipulating markets

Officials in the nation’s capital and California’s hailed this week’s announcement of a $410 million settlement with JPMorgan Chase as a win for consumers and a warning to big companies that try to manipulate electricity markets not to do it again. | 08/02/13 18:03:15 By - By Curtis Tate

Most 2013 job growth is in part-time work, survey suggests

The July government employment report released Friday showed the job market treading water. And a closer look at one of the two measures the Labor Department uses to gauge employment suggests that part-time work accounted for almost all the job growth that’s been reported over the past six months. | 08/02/13 16:03:14 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Miami-Dade ports to return staffing to pre-sequestration levels

Miami International Airport and PortMiami were chosen Friday as one of five sets of ports around the nation to participate in a reimbursement program that will allow staffing at customs and immigration to return to pre-sequestration levels. | 08/02/13 15:59:50 By - Charles Rabin

Economy treading water as unemployment rate falls to 7.4%

162,000 jobs added in July. | 08/02/13 08:43:05 By - Kevin G. Hall

Google’s call for open Internet hedged in its own rules

When Google was just a mighty search engine, the company championed an open, unfettered Internet. Now that it’s selling ultra-fast broadband Internet and TV service in Kansas City, Mo., with plans to repeat the service elsewhere, the tech giant bars customers from hosting servers on the Google Fiber network without written permission. In some tech circles, that’s seen as at least a partial reversal by Google, one that might undercut the company’s position in coming regulatory battles over the concept known as net neutrality. | 08/01/13 16:32:49 By - By Lindsay Wise

U.S. economic recovery may be gaining steam

The U.S. economy is gaining momentum and is poised for a stronger recovery later this year, according to new data Wednesday from the Commerce Department. The numbers also showed that 2012 was stronger than had been estimated. | 07/31/13 16:15:58 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Economic data expected to show slow second quarter

When the Commerce Department releases its first-blush economic growth estimates for the second quarter of 2013 on Wednesday, it’ll likely show a U.S. economic recovery lumbering along at an anemic pace. | 07/30/13 16:40:33 By - By Kevin G. Hall

JP Morgan Chase’s alleged manipulation of electricity markets detailed

The federal regulator of electricity markets on Monday accused Wall Street powerhouse JP Morgan Chase & Co. of using multiple trading strategies to manipulate electricity markets in California and the Midwest for profit. | 07/29/13 19:13:26 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Illinois couple invents iSucker -- what does it do?

Mark Harris and Dana Askew-Harris, of St. Jacob, had a good time at the Cardinals baseball game July 6. Not only did the home team win, so did they. "Saturday was a great day," said Mark, 49. "We were selling iSuckers to everyone around us." | 07/29/13 15:24:25 By - Maureen Houston

In Missouri, President Obama focuses on the economy, especially the middle class

Diana Klosterman listened closely Wednesday, applauding as President Barack Obama spoke in a stuffy auditorium on the campus of the University of Central Missouri. Jobs? Check. The middle class? Check. More help for higher education? Check. Did she hear anything to suggest compromise with Congress is possible on those issues? | 07/25/13 17:40:41 By - Dave Helling

Financial regulators tame cheating ‘cheetah,’ fine, ban high-speed trader

Financial regulators on Monday took their first-ever action against a cheating “cheetah,” accusing a high-speed trader in oil and other commodities of deceiving the market and disrupting normal trading activity. | 07/22/13 16:39:18 By - By Kevin G. Hall

USDA tries new strategy to stem glut of sugar imports

U.S. sugarcane and sugar beet farmers are bracing for a flood – but not one caused by the weather. Rather, it’s a flood of imported sugar from Mexico. Record production and imports are poised to sweeten the U.S. market a bit too much. | 07/22/13 16:32:31 By - By Trevor Graff

Obama to lay out economic vision in speeches this week

President Barack Obama will travel to Illinois Wednesday to deliver what the White House is billing as a major speech on the economy in which he lays out a long term vision to lift up the middle class. | 07/22/13 06:33:19 By - Anita Kumar

Low-wage food workers stage one-day strike at Smithsonian museums

Jonathan Ross, a restaurant worker at one of the famous Smithsonian Institution museums, went on a one-day strike Thursday because he’s tired of trying to support himself and his 15-year-old daughter on $10,000 per year without benefits. | 07/11/13 17:08:52 By - By Kate Irby

U.S. reports strong job growth in June, 2 prior months

Hiring has broken out to a new, higher level as employers added a better-than-expected 195,000 jobs in June and the prior two months were revised upward, a government said Friday in a firecracker of a report. | 07/05/13 16:05:17 By - By Kevin G. Hall and Trevor Graff

Prosecutions of offshore banks may help turn tide against secrecy

From clandestine meetings to phony foundations described in federal indictments, the secret world of offshore banking and the lengths to which Americans have gone to avoid taxes point to the complexities Congress will confront as it embarks on comprehensive tax restructuring. Fully 45 percent of Americans who’ve taken advantage of the IRS’s tax amnesty program held accounts in Switzerland. | 07/03/13 16:39:23 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Troops allegedly misled by car loan program to get refunds

U.S. Bank and a Kentucky-based financial services provider agreed to refund $6.5 million to 50,000 military service members after federal regulators accused both companies of misleading borrowers about fees and costs associated with an auto loans program that targeted active-duty troops. | 06/27/13 18:42:15 By - By Lindsay Wise

U.S. consumers feel more confident, but are still cautious

Four years after the end of the Great Recession, the consumer is back – just not with a vengeance. Consumption continues to show improvement, and yet Americans still clutch their wallets. On the plus side, rising home prices, improving jobs numbers and a falling unemployment rate are bolstering how consumers feel about the economy. | 06/27/13 14:30:29 By - By Kevin G. Hall

As Chairman Ben Bernanke clarifies Fed’s moves, markets freak

The Federal Reserve is likely to begin tapering off its economic life support late this year and finish a controversial program of bond purchases by the middle of the next year, Chairman Ben Bernanke said Wednesday in remarks that triggered fear and loathing in financial markets. | 06/19/13 19:02:47 By -

Federal Reserve faces pressure to provide clarity in uncertain environment

Federal Reserve officials begin a pivotal two-day meeting Tuesday facing a dilemma. The economy is showing enough improvement to justify dialing back some of the Fed’s life support, yet financial markets are terrified of what might happen and are taking it out on the housing sector. | 06/17/13 17:44:48 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Americans throw away 90 billion pounds of food a year

The average American family of four wastes between $1,350 and $2,275 a year in food. Much of that ends up in the kitchen trash can: uneaten leftovers, milk past the expiration date and vegetables that go bad. In the U.S., all that waste adds up to 90 billion pounds of food a year, and the planet is paying a staggeringly high price for it. | 06/17/13 13:42:08 By - Bethany Clough

Tax writers Max Baucus, Dave Camp plan summer taxapalooza

The chairmen of the two tax-writing committees of Congress will hit the road together over the summer to promote a proposed revamp of the tax code, the two announced Friday. | 06/14/13 15:41:25 By - By Kevin G. Hall

High hopes for more exports, from chickens to cheese, as Obama heads to Europe

As President Barack Obama prepares to go to Northern Ireland on Sunday to promote a new trade pact with the European Union, hopes are running high for many U.S. businesses eager to squeeze more cash from one of the world’s most lucrative markets. | 06/14/13 15:36:41 By - By Rob Hotakainen and Lindsay Wise

New Hostess owner prepares to resume snack cake production in Columbus

The sweet aroma of snack cakes should once again be permeating the air around the Dolly Madison plant in Columbus, Georgia as Hostess Brands LLC prepares to relaunch production next month. | 06/12/13 17:47:35 By - Tony Adams

Banks profiting from overdraft coverage plans, federal agency says

Overdraft protection often is a better deal for banks than for consumers, a new study by a federal watchdog agency reveals. | 06/11/13 03:54:14 By - By Lindsay Wise

Many knowledge-based jobs go blue collar

When you think of jobs that require mastery of science or math, chances are you don't think of auto mechanics or construction. But a new study suggests you should think again. | 06/10/13 13:07:26 By - Kristin Rodine

Jobs report, Wall Street increase pressure on Fed to show its cards

Pressure built Friday on the Federal Reserve to signal whether it’s ready to begin scaling back its controversial economic stimulus efforts, after a status-quo May jobs report from the government sparked an unusual Wall Street rally. | 06/07/13 16:40:48 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Bankruptcy judge removes obstacle to American-US Airways merger

A federal bankruptcy judge sided Tuesday with American Airlines, overruling a U.S. trustee’s objection to the company’s plan to pay its chairman and CEO a nearly $20 million severance package. | 06/04/13 16:31:39 By - By Curtis Tate

IRS may have targeted conservatives more broadly

While the developing scandal over the IRS’s targeting of conservatives has largely focused on its scrutiny of groups with words such as “tea party” or “patriot” in their names, new examples could point to a secret political vendetta within the government against conservatives. | 05/30/13 17:27:00 By - By David Lightman and Kevin G. Hall

A year later, U.S. trade with Colombia grows while anxiety mounts

Colombian Ambassador Carlos Urrutia says there’s no doubt that his country’s trade deal with the U.S. has paid off. U.S. officials are equally excited, saying U.S. businesses have improved their sales to the South American country by 20 percent. But a year after the agreement took effect, the growth in trade is producing mounting anxiety in some quarters. | 05/23/13 12:02:00 By - By Rob Hotakainen

South Korea trade deal produces bleak first-year results for U.S.

More than a year after it took effect, a highly touted trade deal with South Korea has failed to produce as expected for the U.S.: Exports are down, imports are up and the trade deficit with the Asian economic powerhouse has ballooned. | 05/22/13 16:19:10 By - By Rob Hotakainen

Kansas Food Bank distributed record number of weekend backpacks to hungry kids

The Kansas Food Bank gave out record numbers of Friday food packages to schoolchildren in Wichita and throughout the state this year as part of its Food 4 Kids program. | 05/15/13 13:10:36 By - Roy Wenzl

While Wall Street soars, jobs market still scarred

Don’t let the soaring stock market and applause from politicians over a slight dip in the unemployment rate fool you. A deeper dive into government data underscores just how bleak the picture still is in today’s labor market. | 05/09/13 15:22:31 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Senator Durbin wants proof that BRAC actually saved money

A U.S. senator wants the Air Force to prove it saved money by closing bases due to the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure process. "Base closure commissions are supposed to take the politicians out of the process. I think they've replaced politicians with other politicians," said Sen. Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois. | 05/09/13 13:34:36 By - Jennifer Bowen

Taker nation: Why federal spending is tough to trim

Some 24,000 people, give or take, live in Sumner County, a farming county south of Wichita on the Oklahoma border. Voters here elect reliably anti-tax and anti-spending lawmakers to the Kansas Statehouse. So it's likely most Sumner voters nodded in agreement last year when Romney called 47 percent of Americans "takers" - so reliant on federal aid that they couldn't be persuaded that runaway federal debt threatens economic freedom. Yet, as Vince Wetta suggests, Sumner County is a taker. | 05/09/13 13:11:50 By - Dave Helling and Steve Kraske

Washington looks for ways to ease student loan debt

The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Wednesday suggested possible ways to make private student loans more affordable and easier to refinance. | 05/08/13 18:19:00 By - By Renee Schoof

Olympia may see LED streetlights

Thousands of Olympia streetlights could be converted from the traditional yellowish, high-pressure sodium lights to whiter, energy-saving LED lamps, in a project estimated to cost nearly $4 million. | 05/06/13 15:28:13 By - Matt Batcheldor

Surprisingly good jobs report sends Wall Street surging

A surprisingly positive jobs report Friday showed that employers added 165,000 positions in April and the unemployment rate fell to a four-year low of 7.5 percent, sparking a day of milestones on Wall Street as investors looked past doubts about robust hiring in the months ahead. | 05/03/13 17:52:26 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Fed’s language shift signals Washington, sequester harming growth

The Federal Reserve, in a carefully worded shift in language, signaled new concern Wednesday that constraints on federal spending are slowing the economy. | 05/01/13 17:02:55 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Interior increases estimate of oil potential in Dakotas, Montana

The federal government is doubling its estimate of how much oil might be discovered and harvested in the booming area of the Dakotas and Montana, a region that’s already helping to drive the United States’ dramatic shift into a role as the world’s leading oil producer. | 04/30/13 17:32:18 By - By Sean Cockerham

Could Congress close Scott Air Force Base?

If you worry about Scott Air Force Base's future, then the Pentagon's most recent budget bill contains good news: The next round of Base Realignment and Closure, the process that Congress uses to decide which military bases to close, won't begin until 2015 at the earliest. | 04/29/13 13:25:20 By - Mike Fitzgerald

Economy grew at rate of 2.5% in first quarter, government report says

Results are an improvement over the prior three months but fell short of analyst expectations. | 04/26/13 08:53:51 By - Kevin G. Hall

Economists: Long-term joblessness is national emergency

Seemingly intractable long-term unemployment has become a national emergency that requires new and creative steps if it’s to be reversed before it does permanent damage, several high-profile economists warned Congress on Wednesday. | 04/24/13 19:17:18 By - By Kevin G. Hall

New measure of economy will include focus on government pensions

As part of a new push to broaden the way economic growth is measured, government statisticians will soon begin using a new accounting method that’s likely to spotlight the problem of underfunded pension funds, particularly those managed by state and local governments across the nation. | 04/24/13 16:20:47 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Sacramento airline passengers may face delays this summer due to sequester

The old adage "pack your patience" may be more true than ever this summer at Sacramento International Airport and other airports nationally - the result of federal budget cutbacks that went into effect this week. | 04/24/13 12:55:43 By - Tony Bizjak

Tri-City fertilizer plants vow safety after Texas explosion

As rescuers searched Thursday for survivors of a deadly Texas explosion, a supervisor at a Mid-Columbia fertilizer manufacturer emphasized that his company’s top priority is safety. | 04/19/13 14:34:28 By - Sara Schilling and Kai-Huei Yau

California farmworkers may win fast track to legal residency

As many as 400,000 California undocumented farmworkers may get a fast track to legal status under a potential landmark accord between the agricultural industry and the United Farm Workers union. | 04/18/13 14:57:01 By - Peter Hecht

Worker visas are big part of bill to revamp immigration

The proposed revamp of immigration laws that’s scheduled for release in the Senate on Tuesday would increase the numbers of, and ease the process of obtaining, visas for highly skilled workers. The legislation also is expected to propose expanding the caps for farm workers, and it would force all employers within five years to verify the immigration status of their employees. | 04/15/13 17:55:48 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Big-box stores offering loans, other financial services

Need to refinance your mortgage? Just put it on your shopping list next time you visit Costco, alongside the jumbo paper towels. Big-box retail stores offer a growing number of financial services, from check cashing and reloadable pre-paid cards to small business loans and life insurance. But they aren’t subject to the same federal oversight as banks, and they might not always provide the same consumer protections. | 04/15/13 15:50:07 By - By Lindsay Wise

Devil’s in the details – debt risks in Obama budget

Buried deep in the Obama administration’s four-volume budget released this week are long-term economic projections that underscore what could be steep costs for failing to get the nation’s finances in order. | 04/11/13 16:35:07 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Weak March jobs report sparks new debate over economy’s recovery

A disappointing March jobs report Friday, marked by a sharp slowdown in hiring and shrinking labor force participation, triggered new debate over the strength of the U.S. economic recovery. | 04/05/13 17:10:23 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Florida credit union wants to hire young, hip ‘spokester’

Wanted: “Spokester” to connect to young adults via social media and teach them about personal finance. Tropical Financial Credit Union in Miramar, Flor., launched a search Tuesday for a new “spokester” position. It’s the credit union’s attempt to market to the under-banked Millennial generation. | 04/03/13 13:34:25 By - Ina Paiva Cordle

DOE counterintelligence office in Richland, Wash. to close

Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., is asking the Department of Energy for information on why it closed the DOE field office in Richland doing counterintelligence work for the Hanford nuclear reservation. | 04/02/13 13:24:16 By - Annette Cary

Massive warehouses built in KC’s growing role as national distribution center

A new generation of huge distribution centers is sprouting from the fields of far southwest Johnson County along the Interstate 35 corridor, confirming Kansas City’s arrival as a major national logistical hub. | 04/02/13 12:53:13 By - Kevin Collison

Sequestration may mean hard times for Meals on Wheels

Freddie Neese does not want to live in a nursing home. The 66-year-old who has congestive heart failure and an enlarged heart said he's able to stay in his own home - for now - with help from programs such as Meals on Wheels. But this program both locally and nationwide will face tough financial times if, as expected, it becomes a victim of sequestration, the $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts triggered because leaders couldn't agree on a better way to cut federal spending. | 04/02/13 12:46:40 By - Anna M. Tinsley

Does crisis in Cyprus signal wider economic risks?

The conventional wisdom is that financial troubles in Cyprus have little bearing on the health of American banks and the U.S. financial system. That view may prove optimistic if problems in Cyprus spread to its neighbors. | 03/28/13 19:09:46 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Bank of America CEO Moynihan would run bank for 'the rest of my life'

Bank of America’s CEO, in an interview that aired Tuesday with public television’s Charlie Rose, praised the federal regulations that have been rolled out in the wake of the financial crisis and said banks must be run better in the future. | 03/28/13 07:14:43 By - Deon Roberts

Justice Department is investigating Shell’s Arctic drilling

The Coast Guard has asked the Justice Department to investigate possible pollution violations by both the drilling rigs Shell used in its botched efforts to explore for oil last year in the Arctic Ocean waters off the northern coast of Alaska. | 03/27/13 19:53:32 By - By Sean Cockerham

Bidding wars erupt in California housing market

As the spring home-buying season gets under way, bidding wars are breaking out on Sacramento's tree-lined streets. | 03/26/13 06:55:21 By - Hudson Sangree

Oil and electricity: A compare-and-contrast tale of 2 regulators

An obscure federal regulator of electricity markets has emerged as a tough cop on the beat, taking on Wall Street banks and big energy firms alike for market manipulation. That aggressive approach stands out when it’s compared with that of the regulator in charge of looking for manipulation in the oil and gasoline markets. | 03/25/13 16:40:31 By - By Kevin G. Hall

New transmission lines funnel wind-generated electricity out of Kansas

Kansas can’t become the “Saudi Arabia of wind” – the words of Gov. Sam Brownback – without more giant transmission lines to carry all that wind-generated electricity out of western Kansas. | 03/25/13 14:04:22 By - Dan Voorhis

For borrowers, frustrations still linger one year after mortgage settlement

A year ago, a $25 billion settlement ordered banks to do a better job helping troubled homeowners, and to end the stories of borrowers trapped in a confusing web of mortgage negotiations leading to foreclosure. | 03/25/13 07:20:20 By - Andrew Dunn

Meals on Wheels in Bradenton, Fla., anticipates funding cut impact by October

Bradenton Mayor Wayne Poston and Palmetto Mayor Shirley Groover Bryant drove off Wednesday morning to deliver hot food from Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee on Ninth Street East in Bradenton to bolster awareness of homebound senior hunger. | 03/21/13 12:16:06 By - Vin Mannix

Federal workers union protests in Beaufort over sequestration cuts

Civilian union workers from Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island rallied Wednesday near Beaufort City Hall against the federal budget cuts known as sequestration. The cuts could mean furloughs for hundreds of non-military workers in Beaufort County. | 03/21/13 12:06:48 By - CASEY CONLEY

California agencies for seniors expect sequester budget cuts

Agencies that serve seniors in the Sacramento County region are bracing for the hit: Federally funded programs for older adults - including the popular senior nutrition program - face automatic, across-the-board budget cuts as a result of the sequester. | 03/21/13 07:03:53 By - Anita Creamer

Fed sees improvement, risk in U.S. economy

The Federal Reserve upped its forecast for the U.S. labor market Wednesday, but Chairman Ben Bernanke cautioned that ongoing political battles over federal spending are creating headwinds and led the central bank to revise its forecast and project slower growth. | 03/20/13 18:45:01 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Is government spending ‘crowding out’ private sector? No

Republicans like to say that federal spending is “crowding out” investment by the private sector. That’s scary sounding, but it isn’t actually happening. | 03/20/13 16:21:52 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Federal cuts place UC Merced research funds in jeopardy

One long-term effect of deep federal budget cuts could be that some research projects won't get done, at California's UC Merced administrator warned Tuesday. | 03/20/13 12:55:41 By - Yesenia Amaro

Sequester hits home: civilian workers at Scott AFB set to receive 30-day furlough notices

More than 4,500 Scott Air Force Base civilian workers will receive 30-day notices in the mail by the end of the week informing them they will be taking one-day-per-week of unpaid vacation between now and September because of the federal budget sequester. | 03/20/13 12:02:28 By - Mike Fitzgerald

DOE employers at Hanford face pink slips from sequestration

Hanford workers to be laid off because of budget cuts caused by sequestration should begin being notified Monday. Department of Energy contractors were continuing to work on adjusted budgets late last week, including the number of layoffs that would be required. | 03/19/13 15:34:15 By - Annette Cary

Mobile wallet technology raises privacy, security concerns

Your smart phone already serves as a portable office, media player, newspaper, GPS, camera and social network hub. Now it can replace your wallet, too. | 03/18/13 19:39:45 By - By Lindsay Wise

Sequester cancels Air Force air crew 'rodeo' in Washington State

The Pentagon is cancelling a well-loved Air Force competition at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state this summer, grounding the air mobility “rodeo” to save money | 03/14/13 18:09:33 By - Adam Ashton

Sequestration results in suspension of military tuition assistance program

Automatic defense spending cuts has resulted this week in the suspension of the military tuition assistance program for service members for the rest of fiscal year 2013 for most branches, including the Air Force. | 03/13/13 12:49:39 By - Rick Plumlee

Two tons of California's Hearst Castle oranges to go to the needy

Hearst Castle landscaping staffers are plucking citrus from 120 trees, most planted about eight years ago to replace a decorative entry-to-the-estate orchard reduced by age to a scant, scruffy bunch of misshapen, dying trees. State Parks donates the bounty to the 3-year-old GleanSLO program, now part of the Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County. | 03/13/13 12:33:44 By - Kathe Tanner

Pricey gas, more jobs equal boom for mass transit – mostly

Mass transit ridership increased nationwide last year, according to new numbers Monday, an indication that more people are going back to work and high gasoline prices are changing how they get there. However, a closer look at the ridership report reveals that while many transit systems posted large gains, others saw a decline, reflecting the unevenness of the economic recovery. And declines in the state, local and federal tax revenues that support transit systems have forced many of them to cut back service. | 03/11/13 16:45:52 By - By Curtis Tate

Farm labor shortage looms as California workers age

Vicente Contreras is 70 years old – and "no más," he insists with a smile – and he says he is still fit and hearty enough to perform the hard labor of California's farm fields. | 03/11/13 06:44:11 By - Peter Hecht

Agriculture's Vilsack defends cuts to meat and poultry inspections as part of sequester

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack reached out to local media around the country on Thursday to defend plans to furlough meat and poultry inspectors for 11 days spread through July and August as part of the federal sequester. | 03/08/13 17:10:49 By - Dan Voorhis

Federal cuts mean fewer low-income families will get housing assistance

Local housing agencies are preparing for federal budget reductions by freezing waiting lists already clogged by thousands of applicants and, in Fort Worth, even canceling vouchers already issued to clients who are still searching for apartments. | 03/08/13 16:19:18 By - Alex Branch

TRANSCOM commander: Sequester already starting to hurt military readiness

Gen. William M. Fraser III, the chief of U.S. Transportation Command, based at Scott Air Force Base, warned Thursday night that the federal budget sequester -- the $85 billion in automatic across-the-board budget cuts -- is already starting to hurt military readiness one week after it began. | 03/08/13 15:52:48 By - Mike Fitzgerald

Jobs are up; now, will Washington help or hurt economy?

The stronger-than-expected gain of 236,000 jobs and a four-year-low unemployment rate of 7.7 percent suggested an accelerating economy Friday. The question is whether politicians will ram a stick into the spokes of growth. | 03/08/13 16:49:17 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Sequestration may cost Washington state tens of millions

Budget gurus for the state of Washington are still calculating the actual effects of the federal spending cuts known as sequestration, but what is known is that vulnerable populations – the disabled, seniors, poor preschoolers – will feel the brunt. | 03/08/13 07:35:03 By - Brad Shannon

Sequester's budget cuts spell uncertainty for Sacramento, Calif.

In Washington, the across-the-board budget reduction triggered by the failure of Congress and the White House to reach a deal on federal spending is called the sequester. | 03/08/13 07:06:03 By - Peter Hecht

Report finds insurers unready for climate change-related disasters

The insurance industry is ill-prepared to handle climate change-related disasters, regulators and industry watchers warned Thursday, saying the business hasn’t evolved enough in the face of rising sea levels and extreme weather fueled by climate change. | 03/07/13 17:51:45 By - By Erika Bolstad

With natural gas so abundant and cheap, should U.S. export it?

The natural gas boom in North Texas is sputtering, with the number of rigs working the Barnett Shale recently hitting a 10-year low. It’s an issue elsewhere, as well, as the glut of domestic energy that’s transforming America drives down the price of natural gas and makes drilling less profitable. | 03/07/13 15:43:21 By - By Sean Cockerham

Idaho National Laboratory could feel sting of sequester

Cuts of more than $19 million are expected at the Idaho National Laboratory as a result of the budget reductions that went into effect last Friday | 03/06/13 11:39:00 By - Rocky Barker

Americans’ reaction to sequestration might change course of politics

Already, a decade of budget deficits run up in war and economic crisis has saddled the government with a $16 trillion debt, a bill that will force the country to come to grips with how much government it wants and how much it wants to pay for it at the very time the aging baby boomers put new strains on the budget through such vast programs as Medicare and Social Security. Now the government is about to start cutting spending in some programs, offering a first look at how the American people will react. | 03/01/13 18:46:37 By - By David Lightman

U.S. oil is booming, led by Texas and North Dakota

U.S. oil production has soared to heights not seen in 20 years, largely driven by an explosion in crude harvested from Texas shale rock. | 03/01/13 06:29:21 By - By Sean Cockerham

Army bracing for budget cuts: Training, child care and more to be impacted by April

Forced Army budget cuts will show themselves in military communities like the South Sound in slashed paychecks to furloughed employees and reduced opportunities for private companies to work on bases, senior Army officers said in a Wednesday news conference. | 02/28/13 13:45:23 By - Adam Ashton

Sequestration may leave some Florida agencies with uncertain future

Uncertainty was the word Wednesday as the Friday deadline for $85 billion in automatic federal spending cuts crept closer. | 02/28/13 12:41:55 By - CARL MARIO NUDI and SARA KENNEDY

WWU pledges to offset potential financial aids cuts from sequester

Western Washington University students receiving federal financial aid will be able to continue getting the same amount of funding through the 2013-14 school year, even if their aid is affected by automatic federal spending cuts that could kick in Friday, March 1. | 02/28/13 12:38:13 By - Zoe Fraley

Plagued by problems, Shell pulls out of Arctic drilling – for now

Shell is dropping plans to drill in the Arctic waters off Alaska this year after a 2012 drilling season marred by equipment failures and ongoing investigations by the Coast Guard, Interior Department and the Department of Justice. | 02/27/13 18:38:45 By - By Sean Cockerham

Lawmakers worry hub airports might lose in American-US Airways merger

Members of Congress expressed misgivings Tuesday about a proposed merger between American Airlines and US Airways, pressing company officials about whether the $11 billion deal would preserve competition and jobs and keep fares from rising. | 02/26/13 17:21:37 By - By Curtis Tate

Kansas could lose millions with sequestration cuts

Kansas will lose at least $79 million in funding for the state’s military bases and face about $10.8 million in cuts to education this year if Congress and the president can’t reach agreement to head off automatic budget cuts scheduled to begin Friday, according to a new White House report. | 02/26/13 14:02:09 By - Dion Lefler

Sequester could hurt Washington state's Olympia Airport

The air traffic control tower at Olympia Regional Airport is among hundreds of towers at regional airports throughout the country that could close as a result of the federal government’s “sequestration,” the term used to describe $85 billion in automatic spending cuts. | 02/26/13 13:41:30 By - Rolf Boone

Benning: ‘Tough choices’ ahead as civilians may face furloughs

With the U.S. government moving quickly toward automatic budget cuts that kick in this Friday, Fort Benning held a town hall meeting for its civilian workers on Monday, while other federal agencies pondered the impact on their operations. | 02/26/13 13:30:45 By - Tony Adams

Labor and business reach rare agreement on immigration

Two of the nation’s most powerful interest groups – labor and business, often at loggerheads – have come to a rare agreement on the guiding principles for handling future low-skilled immigrant workers. | 02/22/13 07:33:32 By - By Franco Ordonez

Is this the best time to cut spending and raise taxes?

Economists warn that the $85 billion in across-the-board cuts in federal spending set to start taking effect March 1 would stunt growth and slow hiring. Less clear is how long it would take to feel the benefits from the tough-love approach. | 02/21/13 17:24:03 By - By Kevin G. Hall

'Backpack' program sends school kids home with food for weekend

Blessings in a Backpack began with two schools in 2005 and now serves nearly 62,000 students in 437 schools in 42 states and three other countries - Canada, Colombia and Haiti. Britta and her husband, Jeff Foster, began the program at Woodrow Elementary in Modesto, Calif., when the school year started in August. | 02/21/13 12:53:05 By - Sue Nowicki

Banks report $350 million in N.C. mortgage relief

The five banks involved in a sweeping national mortgage settlement reported providing $350 million in mortgage relief to 7,500 borrowers in North Carolina through the end of last year, according to a report released Thursday by the settlement’s monitor. | 02/21/13 12:36:33 By - Andrew Dunn

$11 million stock bonus goes to Bank of America CEO Moynihan

Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan’s stock bonus nearly doubled this year, to $11 million, reflecting a steep share price rise and the board’s apparent confidence in Moynihan’s progress on the bank’s legal issues and capital position. | 02/20/13 07:21:53 By - Andrew Dunn

They’re drilling, baby, drilling – and gas prices still going up

They’re baaaacccck. Like locusts ravaging fertile crops, gasoline prices are soaring again and eating away at the purchasing power of ordinary Americans. And again, financial speculators appear to be a big part of the story. | 02/20/13 13:09:52 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Maker’s Mark missed the mark with consumers, backpedals to protect brand

Talk about diluting the brand.

Thousands of bourbon drinkers told Maker’s Mark that it bottled a big mistake when it reduced the alcohol content — to 84 proof from 90 proof — in its signature whiskey. | 02/19/13 07:17:59 By - Diane Stafford

Kentucky suffers as coal use rises everywhere but in U.S.

Eastern Kentucky coal country is filled with people competing for nonexistent jobs, tied to the area by family and unable to sell their homes even if they want to leave. | 02/15/13 13:00:00 By - By Sean Cockerham

Southern governors implore Interior nominee Sally Jewell to drill off their coasts

The governors of South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia are pushing President Barack Obama’s choice for interior secretary to abandon federal opposition to drilling off the Atlantic Coast, where production has been blocked for decades. | 02/14/13 18:33:10 By - By Sean Cockerham

Consumers coming back, but they may not run up credit cards

A number of economic indicators point to an increase in consumption suggesting that the consumer, who drives much of the U.S. economy, is willing to loosen the purse strings. Less clear, however, is to what degree Americans are willing to take on more debt and spend more freely. The psychological scars left by the financial crisis of 2008 and the Great Recession remain. | 02/14/13 17:29:28 By - By Kevin G. Hall

American, US Airways announce $11 billion merger

American Airlines and US Airways officially announced an $11 billion merger on Thursday morning. The new company, which will be based in Fort Worth, will have more than 6,700 daily flights to 336 destinations in 56 countries, the carriers said. | 02/14/13 12:42:18 By - Andrea Ahles

Foreclosures hit six-year low across nation

Foreclosure activity in January dropped to its lowest level nationwide since June 2006. | 02/14/13 07:09:51 By - Steve Rosen

Russia signs deal for stake in Alaska’s natural gas wealth

Russia’s state-owned oil company is poised to play a major role in developing America’s Arctic natural gas under a new agreement to give the company a stake in a huge Alaskan project. | 02/13/13 17:55:16 By - By Sean Cockerham

Health care to cost some young Idahoans more

A 32-year-old owner of a small software company pays $275 a month for his and his wife's health insurance. A Boise State University business student sends about $130 of her student-loan money to her health insurer each month. These Idahoans could pay much more for health insurance next year, in part because of new federal rules that affect how much insurers can charge people based on age for coverage they buy on their own for themselves and their families. Known as "age band compression," this shift will transfer some of the costs of health insurance from older Americans to people in their 20s and 30s. | 02/12/13 12:20:56 By - Audrey Dutton

How Pinterest powers Charlotte's wedding industry

Gone are the days when a bride-to-be strolled into Amy Craparo’s The Wow Factor Cakes with a blank slate and a couple of magazine clippings. Now, brides in the throes of wedding planning come to her Park Road bakery armed with their smartphones and tablets open to their new primary source of inspiration: Pinterest, a social media site that allows users to maintain virtual pinboards with images from the web. | 02/12/13 12:10:26 By - Caroline McMillan

American-US Airways merger announcement expected on Thursday

A potential merger deal between American Airlines and US Airways remained in a holding pattern Monday, with an announcement possible Thursday, sources said Monday. | 02/12/13 07:21:01 By - Andrea Ahles

1 in 3 Illinois residents live in poverty

New statistics from a Chicago-based social research group reveal that one in three Illinois residents are living below or near the poverty line. According to the Social Impact Research Center, a program of Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights, almost 1.8 million, or 15 percent, of Illinoisans live in poverty. Another 2.2 million Illinois residents, 17.9 percent, have incomes between 100 percent and 199 percent of the poverty level. | 02/11/13 12:43:32 By - Will Buss

Public broadcasting stations are feeling funding pinch

Little by little, Kansas public broadcasters feel the pinch of state budget cuts. At High Plains Public Radio in Garden City, the air sometimes goes dead or programs play twice on consecutive days. In Kansas and across the country, public broadcasters find statehouses reluctant to help with the bills for two reasons: There’s simply less money to spare, and Republican-dominated legislatures see the radio and TV stations as too liberal. | 02/11/13 07:16:37 By - Brad Cooper

Miami hotel selling green cards, seeking EB5 investment visas

If David Hart gets his way, South Beach’s 42-room Astor Hotel will be on a hiring spree this year as it adds concierge service, a roof-top pool, an all-night diner, spa and private-car service available 24 hours a day. | 02/11/13 06:59:14 By - Douglas Hanks

JCPenney speeds up shopping with 'libby'

Standing in checkout lines at JCPenney stores in the Tri-Cities and across the nation could soon be outdated thanks to something many of us already have in a pocket or purse, an iPod Touch. | 02/08/13 12:56:03 By - Loretto J. Hulse

Texas' Rick Perry takes jobs fight to Jerry Brown's home turf

As the Rick Perry-Jerry Brown spitting match entered its fourth day, the Republican governor of Texas announced Thursday that he will travel to California to recruit businesses from the Golden State. | 02/08/13 12:49:56 By - David Siders and Phillip Reese

Idaho businesses look to China for opportunities

Idaho companies like J.R. Simplot and Micron Technology have benefited from the emergence of China as a global economic giant. | 02/08/13 12:17:15 By - Rocky Barker

McClatchy Company's fourth-quarter profits fall

Soft holiday advertising hurt The McClatchy Co.'s fourth-quarter results, and the cost of refinancing its debt left the newspaper chain with a loss. | 02/08/13 07:03:56 By - Dale Kasler

Merger of American-US Airways may be announced soon

A merger between American Airlines and US Airways could be announced as early as next week as the two companies move closer to finalizing details of a deal, sources familiar with the negotiations say. | 02/07/13 07:37:16 By - Andrea Ahles

U.S. penalizes British bank for LIBOR market-fixing; internal messages reveal scheme

U.S. and British regulators announced a $612 million settlement Wednesday with Royal Bank of Scotland, with the global bank acknowledging that it had manipulated key benchmark interest rates to benefit its trading positions in unregulated markets. | 02/06/13 17:59:11 By - By Kevin G. Hall

U.S. suit against Standard & Poor’s raises stakes for Wall Street

The Justice Department’s filing of a multi-billion-dollar fraud lawsuit against the Standard & Poor’s rating agency this week culminates a massive, multi-year federal investigation code-named “Alchemy,” but it’s only the start of a more public legal battle joined by at least 16 state attorneys general. | 02/05/13 18:53:28 By - By Michael Doyle, Greg Gordon and Kevin G. Hall

Housing’s growing recovery still a long way from normal

By most economic measures, the moribund housing sector seems to have turned a corner and is now firmly in recovery. For many homeowners, however, it may still feel like a statistical rebound because an improving housing sector is not the same as a healthy one. | 02/05/13 15:42:12 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Is U.S. suit against rating agency S&P actually retaliation?

Trying to get ahead of a potentially explosive story, credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s announced Monday that the Justice Department had informed the company that it’s the subject of a civil lawsuit for the AAA ratings it gave to complex bonds in 2007 that later turned out to be junk. | 02/04/13 19:13:01 By - By Kevin G. Hall and Greg Gordon

Healthcare experts see bumpy road ahead: 'Shift happens'

The healthcare industry in South Florida, like the rest of the country, faces huge challenges in the year ahead as major federal reforms kick in, experts told about 700 people at a University of Miami conference on Friday. | 02/02/13 15:09:13 By - John Dorschner

Duke Energy will close two aging coal plants in April

Duke Energy will close two of its oldest coal-fired power plants, Riverbend west of Charlotte and Buck in Rowan County in April, two years ahead of schedule. Both plants date to the 1920s and had been planned for retirement in 2015. | 02/01/13 12:58:47 By - Bruce Henderson

U.S. economy adds more jobs but remains sluggish

January’s employment numbers marked another month of consistent but unremarkable gains, pointing to a more-of-the-same economy for the foreseeable future. | 02/01/13 22:11:09 By - By Kevin G. Hall

N.C. Gov. McCrory's comments link college funding to employment

Should public universities and colleges in North Carolina be judged and funded primarily by how well they groom students for the job market? | 01/31/13 07:23:29 By - Caroline McMillan

Mixed signals: GDP down, stocks at 5-year high

The U.S. economy shrank slightly in the final three months of 2012, yet stocks are within striking distance of all-time highs. Is the economy stronger than the statistics say it is, or are financial markets getting ahead of economic fundamentals? | 01/30/13 19:06:44 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Court decision throws future of consumer protection agency in doubt

A cloud of uncertainty hovers over Washington’s newest consumer watchdog agency. | 01/30/13 18:05:37 By - By Lindsay Wise

DNC's economic impact for Charlotte, N.C. totals almost $164 million

September’s Democratic National Convention injected $91 million in new spending into the local economy, for a total economic impact of nearly $164 million, according to a consultant’s report released Monday. | 01/29/13 07:13:29 By - Steve Harrison

Air Force belt tightening likely to hit Scott hard

Some of the tightest austerity measures in a generation have led top Air Force commanders to cancel air shows and other unnecessary flight operations, to freeze civilian hiring and to prepare for unpaid furloughs for thousands of civilian workers. | 01/28/13 15:22:33 By - Mike Fitzgerald

Higher taxes on top earners hurt chances for lower taxes on business

Despite bipartisan desire to help U.S. business compete better against foreign rivals with lower taxes, the window appears to be closing for a comprehensive revamp of how business is taxed. | 01/23/13 15:43:21 By - By Kevin G. Hall

U.S. shrimp processors seek federal help to slow imports

They survived hurricanes and oil spills, but Gulf Coast shrimp processors say there’s no way they can battle foreign governments to stay in business. | 01/15/13 15:25:08 By - By Rob Hotakainen

Payroll tax change surprises many workers

The first paycheck of 2013 contained a nasty surprise for many workers: a tax hike that shrank their take-home earnings by 2 percent or more. | 01/14/13 06:48:01 By - Dale Kasler

Bank of America settlement questioned by watchdog group, N.J. Sen. Menendez

Watchdog group Public Citizen and a U.S. senator are calling for an investigation into Bank of America’s settlement with mortgage giant Fannie Mae in a dispute involving $1.4 trillion in loans. | 01/11/13 07:11:09 By - Andrew Dunn

Campbell Soup Co. workers in Calif. prepare for layoffs

The first group of Campbell Soup Co. workers, 290 in all, will lose their jobs by Feb. 1 as part of the gradual shutdown of the company's plant in south Sacramento. | 01/11/13 06:53:55 By - Mark Glover and Darrell Smith

As new fiscal crises near, Democrats seek more tax increases

In case you thought there was no risk of your taxes going up again, think again. Washington isn’t done with you yet. | 01/09/13 16:16:35 By - By Anita Kumar and Kevin G. Hall

Washington insider Jacob Lew widely expected as next treasury secretary

President Barack Obama is expected to name longtime Washington insider Jacob “Jack” Lew on Thursday as his next treasury secretary, a pivotal post as negotiations commence over raising the nation’s debt ceiling and staving off controversial scheduled cuts in federal spending. | 01/09/13 17:49:30 By - By Kevin G. Hall

California insurance commissioner calls Anthem Blue Cross rate hike 'excessive'

Making his case yet again for regulatory authority to reject "excessive" rates, California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones on Tuesday singled out Anthem Blue Cross Life and Health Insurance Co. for slapping "unreasonable" rate increases on more than 250,000 small-business policyholders. | 01/09/13 06:56:14 By - Mark Glover

Growth in health care spending remains at record low in 2011

Total U.S. health care spending hit $2.7 trillion in 2011, making for a three-year run of record-low annual spending growth after the onset of the Great Recession. | 01/07/13 19:25:54 By - By Tony Pugh

Mortgage settlement will send billions to struggling homeowners

Almost 4 million homeowners might receive cash compensation and mortgage relief in a multi-billion-dollar settlement with 10 major banks, government regulators announced Monday. | 01/07/13 18:41:45 By - By Lindsay Wise and Kevin G. Hall

If debt ceiling deal fails, U.S. could delay tax refunds

Absent an early deal to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, the federal government could run out of ways to pay creditors and Social Security recipients by mid-February, earlier than expected, according to a new analysis released Monday. | 01/07/13 17:19:11 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Lexington, Kentucky, mayor says pension costs have 'spiraled out of control'

For every $5 the city of Lexington spends, $1 goes to its public pension obligations, proof that "our pension costs have spiraled out of control," Mayor Jim Gray said at a news conference Monday. | 01/07/13 16:22:21 By - John Cheves

Bank of America to pay Fannie Mae $10 billion

Bank of America will pay mortgage giant Fannie Mae $3.6 billion and buy back more than 30,000 loans to resolve a long-running dispute between the two, the bank announced Monday. The Charlotte bank will pay more than $10 billion in total. | 01/07/13 13:13:51 By - Andrew Dunn

Employers held steady in December; more of the same expected

December marked another lukewarm month of hiring, the government said Friday in an employment report that suggested the economy had weathered “fiscal cliff” uncertainty but probably will muddle along for some time with subpar growth. | 01/04/13 17:41:08 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Economists: U.S. economy is held back by failure to reach overarching deal

Although the nation avoided a fiscal crisis this week, some economists say the failure to come up with an overarching deal that addresses federal spending and the debt ceiling continues to hold back the U.S. economy. | 01/04/13 07:29:35 By - David Ranii

Lincolnton Furniture Company, praised for bringing jobs back to US, closes

Lincolnton Furniture Company closed abruptly Thursday just one year after it was hailed by President Barack Obama as an example of the recovering U.S. economy. | 01/04/13 07:25:09 By - Cameron Steele

With tax deal, U.S. is off the cliff but not out of the woods

A day after the nation edged away from a fiscal cliff that had threatened economic doom, the realization that other ominous fiscal battles loom tempered any sense of celebration Wednesday in the nation’s capital. | 01/02/13 18:55:32 By - By David Lightman and Kevin G. Hall

Missouri misses out on millions in uncollected Internet sales taxes

Missouri is among half of U.S. states that are missing out on millions of dollars in tax revenue that could be collected on Internet sales. | 01/02/13 13:22:58 By - Diane Stafford

California's commercial real estate market starting to stir

Sacramento's long-depressed housing market started ticking up early last year. Now the commercial real estate market, which has suffered from plunging rents and soaring vacancies, is stirring as well. | 01/02/13 06:50:08 By - Hudson Sangree and Phillip Reese

Tentative fiscal cliff tax deal would touch everyone

Rich and poor, young and old alike would be affected by the tentative deal to ease or avoid the effects of the fiscal cliff. | 12/31/12 23:09:25 By - By Kevin G. Hall

New Year means tax increases to pay for health care law

The tax man is coming in 2013. And he’s wearing surgical scrubs and has a stethoscope around his neck. | 12/31/12 18:48:56 By - By Tony Pugh

Senate passes fiscal deal, fate uncertain in House

The Senate passed an agreement early Tuesday to solve the nation’s threatening fiscal crisis, a last minute plan to avert sweeping tax increases for most Americans and postponing cuts to government spending that economists say could have triggered a recession. | 12/31/12 18:47:59 By - By Anita Kumar and William Douglas

Fiscal crisis is the new normal in Washington

They don’t manage crises. They manage BY crisis. The tortured bargaining by Washington politicians to avoid the higher taxes and drastic spending cuts due to take effect this week aimed at best at a small and temporary fix – and provided a vivid reminder why the American political system is badly broken. | 12/31/12 18:47:33 By - David Lightman

Kansas City-owned farm turns waste into revenue

Don’t be surprised that you didn’t know Kansas City owns a farm — and a cutting-edge farm at that.

Danny Rotert, a longtime political insider to Kansas City government, had never heard of it until a couple of months ago. | 12/31/12 07:06:15 By - Karen Dillon

Another ho-hum year for the economy likely in 2013

For the third straight year, economists are only a bit more optimistic about prospects for growth and hiring than they were 12 months earlier. | 12/31/12 00:00:00 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Fiscal cliff clouds otherwise improving climate

Consumer confidence plunged sharply in December thanks to the political drama unfolding in the nation’s capital. | 12/27/12 15:52:56 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Economic wave may course through icy, but melting, Arctic

In a twist to the debate over global warming, melting Arctic sea ice is making it easier to transport the fossil fuels that produce the planet-warming gases, which appear to be causing it to thaw in the first place. | 12/26/12 14:41:27 By - By Sean Cockerham

Housing short sales on the rise

Short sales of homes – where the seller owes more than the home is worth – have surged this year in the Carolinas, driven by interest from investors, a streamlined process and an expiring U.S. tax credit. | 12/26/12 07:24:50 By - Kerry Singe

Will retiring boomers be a drag on economy? Many say no

With millions of baby boomers reaching retirement age, fears are mounting of the economic impact if they follow the pattern of previous generations by curbing spending and draining Social Security and Medicare benefits. | 12/24/12 00:00:00 By - By Franco Ordonez and Casey Conley

California utilities are benefiting from cap-and-trade program

Most businesses say California's new cap-and-trade program, designed to curb greenhouse gas emissions, is a job killer that will suck billions of dollars out of the economy. | 12/20/12 06:47:18 By - Dale Kasler

2 million will lose jobless benefit if Congress fails to act

Ever since she lost her graphic design job at a printing company in April, Dorothy Winn of Fresno, Calif., has been looking for that elusive “next job” and wondering how long she can hold on without it. | 12/18/12 18:58:23 By - By Tony Pugh

Interest in revising Social Security grows as part of budget talks

A Republican “fiscal cliff” proposal to change the way that cost-of-living adjustments are handled in federal programs has sparked renewed interest in a broader overhaul of the way Social Security benefits are calculated. | 12/13/12 17:53:08 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Koch Industries to expand Wichita headquarters

Koch Industries is ramping up its hiring and plans to add a 210,000-square-foot building to its 37th Street North headquarters campus, the company said Thursday. | 12/13/12 12:03:08 By - Jerry Siebenmark

Estate tax drama builds on edge of ‘fiscal cliff’

Glen Cope owns 500 head of cattle on about 2,500 acres near Aurora, Mo. Like most farmers and ranchers he's worried about the weather, the price he gets for his product, and the cost of fuel and feed needed to run his operation. But as 2012 winds to a close, Cope -- and his neighbors -- say they're more worried about what might happen to their farms and families when they die. | 12/12/12 13:28:17 By - Dave Helling

Fed's bond buying will continue until jobless rates drops

Offering greater clarity to financial markets and politicians, the Federal Reserve on Wednesday took the unprecedented step of saying it would continue its controversial bond buying and other steps to stimulate the economy until the unemployment rate falls to 6.5 percent or below and stays there. | 12/12/12 13:19:32 By - Kevin G. Hall

Pet owners spend billions on holiday treats, clothes, jewelry

Gigi Hazelzet loves Christmas and watching her 4-year-old Yorkie, Lulu, unwrap her presents under the tree. First she sniffs and then attacks, ripping through gift wrapping and bows to find her new treat. his year, pet owners like Hazelzet are expected to spend $5 billion on gifts for their dogs and cats, according to the American Pet Owner's Association. | 12/12/12 12:51:07 By - Jennifer Rich

Exxon: Natural gas exports in near future

North America could be come a net exporter of natural gas by about 2020, Irving-based Exxon Mobil says in its latest outlook for world energy markets | 12/11/12 12:23:37 By - Jim Fuquay

California's power-plant fight with JPMorgan Chase is a legacy of deregulation mess

It sounds like a bit of leftover mischief from the energy crisis: an electricity trader from Houston accused of hobbling California's power supply, leading to possible blackouts. | 12/10/12 12:35:58 By - Dale Kasler

STEM degrees may not mean more jobs

Science, technology, engineering and math — the fields collectively known as STEM — are all the rage these days. Florida state leaders are so eager for more STEM students that they may even create discounted college tuition for students who pursue those fields. | 12/10/12 06:54:07 By - Michael Vasquez

Big Beef: Beef’s raw edges

The Kansas City Star investigated what the industry calls “bladed” or “needled” beef, and found the process exposes Americans to a higher risk of E. coli poisoning. While exact figures are difficult to come by, USDA surveys show that more than 90 percent of beef producers are using it. | 12/09/12 00:00:00 By - By Mike McGraw

Improving jobs numbers at risk as budget ‘cliff’ looms

A surprise drop in the jobless rate Friday and a new measurement showing a sharp drop in consumer sentiment underscore what’s at stake for a sluggish economic recovery threatened by the coming political showdown in the nation’s capital. | 12/07/12 16:07:15 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Study: Exporting natural gas a boon to U.S. despite price hikes

A major new study for the U.S. Department of Energy supports controversial efforts to sendnatural gas to foreign nations, a conclusion that could push the president to approve exports over the objections of those who say it would hurt the country. | 12/05/12 18:02:06 By - By Sean Cockerham

Debate over coal exports in Pacific Northwest leaves some out, critics charge

While proposals to turn green-leaning Washington state into a major exporter of coal to China have caused an uproar in coastal communities, the heated debate is largely absent from other places along the industry’s expected trade route to Asia. | 12/05/12 15:22:34 By - By Curtis Tate and Kristi Pihl

Over 60% of California farmers report labor shortages

Even amid high unemployment, California farmers say they long for a larger labor force. | 12/05/12 07:09:20 By - Mark Glover

Never too late to start improving for that healthy future

You might have noticed that TV weatherman Willard Scott's morning roll call of people celebrating 100-plus years on the planet seems to grow longer and longer. According to the U.S. Census, the number of American centenarians has roughly doubled in the past 20 years. | 12/04/12 13:12:33 By - Mary Meehan

To attract shoppers, retailers add entertainment

With consumers buying more each year online, brick-and-mortar retailers are working harder to add entertainment to their mix — from American Girl’s scavenger hunts to Chip’s Chocolate Factory’s fudge-making tours to the Art of Shaving’s product demonstrations. | 12/04/12 13:05:07 By - Joyce Davis

Big business vs. small at edge of fiscal cliff

Democrats and Republicans aren’t the only ones divided over how to fix the nation’s fiscal problems. Big business and small business have very different views on whether changes to personal income taxes or corporate taxes should be part of the fix. | 12/04/12 03:00:00 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Fiscal cliff makes 2012 a challenge for tax planning

In more than 35 years as a certified public accountant, Greg Sevier said this year has probably been the most challenging one in which to do tax planning for clients. | 12/03/12 13:43:51 By - Jerry Siebenmark

Holiday bargain-shopping online can be a confusing deal

Browsing for the best deal on the Internet during this holiday season can make even the savviest shopper feel like a high-stakes gambler. | 11/30/12 12:54:18 By - By Lindsay Wise

McClatchy to buy back some bonds and issue new ones

Sacramento-based McClatchy Co., which owns The Bee, offered to buy back up to $700 million worth of bonds that mature in 2017. | 11/29/12 06:50:05 By - Dale Kasler

Bowles, Simpson aren’t optimistic about a deal to avoid ‘fiscal cliff’

President Barack Obama is serious about compromising on higher income-tax rates for the rich, but other Democrats have failed to offer specifics on what spending they’re willing to cut, the co-chairmen of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform said Wednesday. | 11/28/12 15:34:11 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Holiday sales show promise, hurdles for retailers

Retailers, economists and industry analysts all expect holiday sales this year to surpass 2011 totals, meaning the sluggish economy won’t be playing the role of Grinch. Deeper in the expected sales numbers, however, are trends that highlight an uneven recovery and turmoil in the retail sector. | 11/27/12 18:44:15 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Western senators want refineries probed over high gasoline prices

Six U.S. senators from West Coast states urged the Justice Department on Tuesday to conduct a refinery-by-refinery probe to determine the causes of punishing gasoline price spikes earlier this year. | 11/27/12 17:44:18 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Personal data face low-tech peril

In our fast-paced world, more and more American workers are taking work home. Sensitive documents both electronic and paper are being transported from offices to homes, sometimes with stops in parking lots of restaurants, bars, grocery stores and gyms. And along the way, thefts of personal information are occurring. | 11/27/12 12:32:17 By - Karen Dillon

Small Business Saturday aims to boost shop-local movement

It's a little tough to feel jolly this holiday season, if you're a small-business owner. Bruised by the recession and uneasy about the post-election economy, America's small businesses face yet another big unknown: whether consumers are feeling festive or frugal. | 11/23/12 06:39:34 By - Claudia Buck

Black Friday creeps into Thanksgiving night

Marling Sequeira has her Thanksgiving all planned: turkey, trimmings and pumpkin pie at her boyfriend’s in Miami, then a moonlit drive to Walmart to snag a 72-inch Samsung TV on sale for $800. | 11/21/12 06:52:55 By - Ina Paiva Cordle

Banks speed up mortgage relief efforts

More homeowners in the Carolinas and around the country are receiving help on their mortgages from Bank of America, Wells Fargo and three other large servicers as the banks accelerate the relief programs mandated by a national legal settlement. | 11/20/12 07:05:33 By - Andrew Dunn

More people using food stamps

The number of people on food stamps is up across Georgia and the nation, and even affluent Houston County is no exception | 11/19/12 18:12:29 By - Wayne Crenshaw

Regulators go after deceptive mortgage advertising

Federal regulators on Monday announced investigations into possible violations of the law by mortgage lenders and brokers suspected of false or deceptive advertising. | 11/19/12 17:54:48 By - By Lindsay Wise

Lower gas prices, economy boost Thanksgiving travel forecast

Need another encouraging sign that the U.S. economy is slowly on the mend?

Look to this year’s Thanksgiving holiday travel forecasts. | 11/19/12 07:20:18 By - Lynn Horsley

Consumers scramble for Twinkies as Hostess calls it quits

A mad scramble ... for Twinkies. | 11/19/12 06:52:01 By - Edward Ortiz

U.S. workers endure ‘lost decade’ of declining wages

The nation’s high unemployment rate captures the headlines with each monthly jobs report, yet many Americans may be surprised to learn that real earnings, when adjusted for inflation, have declined across most industries and sectors since the Great Recession. Since 2002, in fact, it’s effectively been a lost decade for workers. | 11/15/12 16:07:29 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Study: Income inequality wider in Mississippi

A report released today that examines income inequality shows the gap between the rich and the poor has grown wider in Mississippi than in any other state. | 11/15/12 14:02:01 By - Donna Harris

A jobs market bright spot? ‘App economy’ sizzles

Ross Waycaster designed the first of his four mobile apps as a high school senior in Tupelo, Miss., a game called Super Marrio Jump that’s been downloaded from the Apple store more than 20,000 times, earning him more than $16,000. | 11/15/12 13:28:12 By - By Rob Hotakainen

Jobless claims in South Florida are lowest since 2008

New requests for unemployment aid have dropped to a four-year low in South Florida, as the labor market slowly recovers from the recession. | 11/15/12 07:07:06 By - Douglas Hanks

Study: California refineries operated during periods blamed for gas price spikes

West Coast gasoline price spikes in May and October were widely blamed on refinery outages, but new research to be released at a California hearing Thursday shows that refiners continued to produce gasoline in periods when the public was told the contrary. | 11/14/12 19:09:45 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Post-elections, trade deals might face more opposition

As one of the first major acts in its lame-duck session, the House of Representatives is expected to vote to approve permanent trade relations with Russia, possibly by Friday, but free-trade deals might face a considerably tougher go in 2013. | 11/14/12 16:19:27 By - By Rob Hotakainen

Businesses to Obama: Avoid the year-end ‘fiscal cliff’

Businesses large and small have much at stake in the debate over the so-called fiscal cliff and are organizing advertising and lobbying efforts in a bid to prevent the Obama administration and Congress from further damaging the U.S. economy. | 11/13/12 18:22:11 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Childless boomers wonder who will handle their long-term care

A question that concerns Karen Spencer and many of America's 15 million childless baby boomers is more emotional and poignant: Without offspring to help them, who will take care of them when they grow old? | 11/13/12 15:27:49 By - Anita Creamer

Washington state selling record high amount of apples

Washington apple shippers and packers say this year's fresh apple crop will reach record highs despite early worries about hail damage and not enough pickers. | 11/09/12 13:05:41 By - Kisti Pihl

Obama, Boehner open to talks on solving 'fiscal cliff'

President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner began the public versions of their negotiations Friday over the impending “fiscal cliff,” with each sounding notes of both compromise and caution. | 11/09/12 12:24:13 By - David Lightman and Anita Kumar

California's exports drop 4.6 percent

California's recently streaking export segment is streaking in the wrong direction. California businesses shipped goods valued at $12.87 billion in September, down about 4.6 percent from $13.49 billion in September 2011, according to an analysis of Thursday's U.S. Commerce Department trade figures by Beacon Economics, a consulting firm with offices in the Bay Area and Los Angeles. | 11/09/12 06:55:40 By - Mark Glover

Put up or shut up time for Congress, Obama on fiscal cliff

Congress returns to the nation’s capital next week with hopes of a big deal but strong odds favoring another piecemeal approach to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff, in a race against the clock to address tax and budget issues while keeping the U.S. economy from tumbling back into recession. | 11/08/12 16:18:21 By - By Kevin G. Hall and David Lightman

Idaho's power line route reveals clashing values, dueling processes

No matter who wins the election Tuesday, the Bureau of Land Management is going to have to thread a needle to find routes Idaho Power Co. and Rocky Mountain Power can use for the Gateway West power line across southern Idaho. | 11/05/12 13:15:42 By - Rocky Barker

Days before election, jobs report shows employers added 171,000 jobs in October

With the presidential election just days away and an apparent dead heat, the government reported Friday that employers added a stronger-than-expected 171,000 jobs, a boost to President Barack Obama’s argument that the economy is steadily improving. | 11/02/12 12:01:43 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Mississippi is eager to capitalize on trade with Russia

When the Russian steel company Severstal broke ground on a $550 million expansion of its plant last November in Columbus, Miss., the state’s newly elected governor, Republican Phil Bryant, showed up for the grand opening. | 10/31/12 16:00:02 By - By Rob Hotakainen

How’s this for scary, kids: Little or no candy on Halloween

Some vocal health experts say little or no candy a sweet idea, especially in light of frightening rates of childhood obesity coupled with record Halloween candy sales — $2.3 billion last year, according to the National Confectioners Association. Now they’re howling for a Halloween makeover. | 10/31/12 13:19:32 By -

Update: No more paper checks for those on unemployment in Georgia

Starting Friday, those receiving unemployment benefit money from the Georgia Department of Labor will have no choice. Recipients will be required to either choose direct deposit to have cash deposited into their checking accounts — something the state already has been doing for several years — or opt to be compensated by a debit card with a Mastercard logo | 10/30/12 12:58:21 By - Tony Adams

Amid strike preparations, grocer Raley's tells workers it's losing millions

Confronting the gravest crisis in its 77-year history, Raley's has told its workers it's "losing millions of dollars" and needs wage concessions to remain viable. Raley's Chief Executive Michael Teel, facing a possible strike later this week, has told workers that 40 of its stores are losing money, some as much as $2 million a year apiece. | 10/30/12 12:26:29 By - Dale Kasler

What’s in a data plan? Consumers should know their limits

Working up a holiday shopping list? New cellphone, iPad Mini, NetFlix subscription – check, check, check. Now don’t forget the wireless plan that makes all those family gifts work on the move. Pricing has changed dramatically since last year. | 10/30/12 12:14:44 By - Mark Davis

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