Economy

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

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

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