April 4, 2014 |
Diesel-powered cars save on fuel, but many of them won't save you any money. That's because they cost thousands more to buy in the first place, compared with similar gas-powered models. And many automakers usually offer diesel engines only in combination with a pricey set of standard features. So it can take years - if ever - to make up for those upfront costs through savings at the pump. That's what makes the latest addition to Volkswagen's growing diesel fleet, the Jetta TDI Value Edition, so intriguing.
March 22, 2014 |
The season-opening Daytona 500 was less than an hour old when Barney Visser saw his latest $1-million NASCAR investment literally go up in smoke. Visser owns Furniture Row Racing, which fields one car - the black No. 78 Chevrolet - driven by Martin Truex Jr. in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series. After weeks of preparation for the Daytona 500 and then being forced to use a backup car because of a crash in qualifying, the team saw the engine on Truex's car blow up only 31 laps into NASCAR's crown-jewel event last month.
March 21, 2014 |
It's a fair criticism of what's written about life as a wage slave -- from journalists and economists alike -- that it's delivered by people who don't have firsthand experience of what that life is like. As a result, a great deal of reporting about worker "behavior" and "choice" has the bloodless quality of laboratory theory, devoid of any hint of the real world. Joseph Williams has done a service to the field by reporting directly from the front -- and not by his own "choice. " His report, which appears in the Atlantic as " My Life as a Retail Worker : Nasty, Brutish, and Poor," is as scary as a monster movie.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 17, 2014 |
Los Angeles' top budget official Monday advised city leaders to resist the temptation to expand services, saying they should work instead toward eliminating a recurring deficit by 2018. In a 37-page report, City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana said a rebounding economy and greater stability in the city's finances have created new pressure to add or expand local government. He recommended that council members focus on initiatives to stabilize the budget, such as reducing entry-level city salaries and securing new healthcare concessions from the workforce.
March 16, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - Supporters of Russian President Vladimir Putin expect to savor victory as residents of Crimea vote Sunday on splitting from Ukraine. But Western officials and analysts increasingly feel that in the long run, Russians will come to see their nation's military and political move into Crimea as a mistake. Two weeks after Russian forces entered the peninsula en masse, Russia's stock market and economic data have started to signal trouble - the start of what could become a lasting pullback by foreign investors.
March 16, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - The economy may be growing at a frustratingly slow pace, but one piece of it is booming: American homeowners' equity holdings - the market value of their houses minus their mortgage debts - soared by nearly $2.1 trillion last year to $10 trillion. Big numbers, you say, and hard to grasp. But look at it this way: Thanks to rising prices and equity levels, about 4 million owners around the country last year were able to climb out of the financial tar pit of the housing bust - negative equity.
March 16, 2014 |
How's the U.S. economy doing? If you're rich, the answer is "fabulously. " Here are some data points from Diane Swonk, chief economist for Mesirow Financial in Chicago. " Spending at luxury retailers has come back," she told the Senate Finance Committee last week. High-end merchants routinely "sell out of purses with price tags in the thousands of dollars, before they even hit the shelves in New York. Spending at high-end restaurants is picking up.... Demand is on the rise for boutique hotels catering to the demands of the wealthiest clientele.
March 14, 2014 |
The stock market closed out its worst week since January, weighed down early by doubts about China's economic growth, uninspiring economic data in the U.S. and finally geopolitical tension in Russia. The Dow Jones industrial average slid 2.4% for the week, saddling it with a 3.1% loss so far this year. The index was off 43.22 points Friday, at 16,065.67, after skidding 231.19 points Thursday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 2% for the week, leaving it down 0.4% for the year.
March 9, 2014 |
RAMALLAH, West Bank -- U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry's plan to jump-start the Palestinian economy to boost his political efforts kicked off this weekend in the Czech Republic's capital, Prague. A conference in Prague brought together some 100 international businesspeople, investors, financiers, Palestinian Authority officials and key figures in the Palestinian private sector. When Kerry launched his Palestinian-Israeli peace program at the end of July, he pledged to muster $4 billion to help boost the Palestinian economy, saying that a strong economy would be good for peace.
March 7, 2014 |
WASHINGTON -- The economy added 175,000 net new jobs last month, a surprisingly robust figure given the bad winter weather, the Labor Department said Friday. Despite the increase -- the largest in three months -- the unemployment rate ticked up 0.1 percentage points to 6.7% after hitting a more than five-year low in January. The February job-creation figure was a significant improvement over the 129,000 net new jobs added in January, which was revised up from an initial estimate of 113,000.