April 8, 2013 |
ATHENS - Greek bank stocks plunged 30% on Monday, the maximum allowed in a day, after plans to merge the country's two biggest lenders were suddenly frozen. The surprise freeze came amid testy talks between the government and international lenders, and renewed fears about Greece's efforts to fix its faltering economy. The European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund are keeping Greece afloat with a multibillion-dollar rescue package in exchange for strict fiscal reforms.
April 5, 2013 |
Japan's central bank took a massive bet to reset its economy and pull out of nearly two decades of deflation. The Bank of Japan announced an aggressive and ambitious plan Thursday to expand its purchase of long-term bonds and double the amount of money in circulation, all in an effort to boost inflation to 2% within two years and stimulate consumer and business spending. The move stoked the Japanese stock market, which gained 2.2% on Thursday and continued rising early Friday, and sent the yen plunging against the dollar.
April 3, 2013 |
WASHINGTON -- Employment growth slowed last month as the private sector added 158,000 jobs, a sharp reduction from February and below analyst expectations, payroll processing firm ADP said Wednesday. The March figure was well below the 237,000 private-sector jobs added in February, a number that was revised up from the initial report of 198,000. Economists had expected ADP would show about 200,000 private-sector jobs were added in March. The ADP report is a key private data point ahead of the government's monthly unemployment report, which is due Friday.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 2, 2013 |
SACRAMENTO -- Will putting "Made in California" labels on products help them fly off the shelves? That is the belief of state Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett (D-San Leandro), who has introduced legislation to create such a marketing effort. SB 12, which was approved Monday by its first committee, is sponsored by the group Small Business California as one way to give products made in the Golden State a competitive advantage. California is known worldwide as a leader in many fields, including technology, fashion and entertainment, and Corbett said she believes that a "Made in California" label would add cachet to products in the eyes of many consumers.
April 2, 2013 |
The government in Britain recently did something interesting. It asked everyone receiving an "incapacity benefit" - a disability program slowly being phased out under new reforms - to submit to a medical test to confirm they were too disabled to work. A third of recipients (878,000 people) didn't even bother and dropped out of the program rather than be examined. Of those tested, more than half (55%) were found fit for work and a quarter were found fit for some work. But that's Britain, where there's a long tradition of gaming the dole.
April 2, 2013 |
Orange County's economy - a standout in Southern California - is expected to accelerate through 2015, as the region's better-than-expected job growth drives the county's housing recovery, according to a UCLA report released Tuesday. Recent revisions from the state's Employment Development Department showed that Orange County gained more jobs than originally estimated. Since February 2012, employers' payrolls grew 2.6%, adding 35,200 net jobs, according to state figures. California payrolls, in comparison, grew 2.1% during the same period.
April 1, 2013 |
SEOUL -- After weeks of threats against the United States and South Korea, the leadership of North Korea turned its attention to its battered economy Monday, naming a 74-year-old economic expert as its new prime minister. Pak Pong-Ju is viewed as a reformer, at least by North Korea's Stalinist standards, and experts in the South said his appointment shows a willingness by leader Kim Jong Un to pay some attention to domestic concerns -- although not at the expense of the country's nuclear weapons program.
April 1, 2013 |
With the Pentagon set to whack its share of $85 billion in automatic federal budget cuts last month, it didn't take long for Velma Searcy to feel the pain. The owner of a Palmdale maker of military aircraft parts saw two contracts quickly evaporate as defense firms pulled back. Southern California's aerospace industry is expected to be hit hard by the so-called sequester. Still, the state generally should be able to weather the cuts without major economic damage, experts said. That's because California's economy has become more diverse over the past quarter-century, making it much less dependent on cash flowing from Washington, said Stephen Levy, director of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy in Palo Alto.
March 29, 2013 |
California's economic growth revved up in February as employers added 41,200 jobs, one of the highest monthly gains since the Great Recession ended nearly four years ago. The payroll gains helped push the unemployment rate down to 9.6% from 9.8% in January, according to data released Friday by the state Employment Development Department. The growth in net new jobs, buoyed by increased consumer spending, was another positive sign for a state that has steadily gained jobs over the last year, hitting a monthly high of 74,000 in January 2012.
March 28, 2013 |
WASHINGTON -- The picture of the American economy has improved -- looking forward and backward. Economic output in last year's fourth quarter was revised slightly higher, putting the nation's growth rate for all of 2012 at a modest 2.2%. The Commerce Department said Thursday that U.S. gross domestic product, or total goods and services produced, expanded at an annual rate of 0.4% in the fourth quarter, after adjusting for inflation. That is down from 3.1% in the third quarter, but better than the 0.1% real GDP growth in the government's previous estimate of fourth-quarter activity. The weakness in the fourth quarter output was exaggerated by an unusually big drop in federal defense spending and a sharp reduction in inventory accumulation.