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Business/Economy

  • Economists Ponder Success of Latest Fed Move

    No sooner did the Federal Reserve unveil a bold plan to juice the U.S. economy than it dangled the prospect of doing even more. Investors celebrated by sending stock prices jumping. Economists were less impressed.

  • Fed to spend $40B a month on bond purchases

    WASHINGON (AP) — The Federal Reserve unleashed a series of aggressive actions Thursday intended to stimulate the still-weak economy by making it cheaper for consumers and businesses to borrow and spend.

    The Fed said will spend $40 billion a month to buy mortgage-backed securities for as long as it deems necessary. It plans to keep short-term interest at record lows through mid-2015 — six months longer than it previously had planned. And it's ready to take other unconventional steps if job growth doesn't pick up.

    A statement from the Fed's policy committee said it thinks "a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy will remain appropriate for a considerable time after the economic recovery strengthens."

    The committee announced the series of bold steps after a two-day meeting. Its actions pointed to how sluggish the economy remains more than three years after the Great Recession ended.

    Stock prices rose on the news. But some economists said they thought the benefit to the economy would be slight.

  • US poverty rate unchanged; record numbers persist

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation's poverty rate remained stuck at a record level last year, while household income dropped and the number of people who don't have health insurance declined.

    A Census Bureau report released Wednesday provided a mixed picture of the economic well-being of U.S. households for 2011 as the nation enters the final phase of a presidential election campaign in which the economy is the No. 1 issue.

    The overall poverty rate stood at 15 percent, statistically unchanged from the 15.1 percent rate in the previous year. Experts had expected a rise in the poverty rate for the fourth straight year, but unemployment benefits and modest job gains helped stave that off, the bureau reported. For last year, the official poverty line was an annual income of $23,021 for a family of four.

    While unemployment eased slightly from 2010 to 2011, the gap between rich and poor increased. The median, or midpoint, household income was $50,054, 1.5 percent lower than 2010 and a second straight annual decline.

  • Council short on options--Updated

    When the Los Alamos County Council meets in special session Sept. 24, it will be almost three years to the day that councilors split the sheets with the last developer who tried to make a go of the Trinity Site.

    Now, 36 months later, it’s déjà vu all over again for the county council.

    North American Development Group has sized up its potential to make financial sense of the proposed development and determined it’s time to bail.

    Unlike its predecessor, the Boyer Company, which spent about four years in a fruitless effort to move the development forward, NADG is moving to assign its lease agreement to the development division of Kroger, the parent company of Smith’s.

  • Jobless rate falls as more people give up looking for work

    WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers added 96,000 jobs last month, a weak figure that could slow any momentum President Barack Obama hoped to gain from his speech to the Democratic National Convention.

    The unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent from 8.3 percent in July, the Labor Department said Friday. But that was only because more people gave up looking for work. The government only counts people as unemployed if they are actively searching.

    The government also said 41,000 fewer jobs were created in July and June than first estimated. The economy has added just 139,000 jobs a month since the beginning of the year, below 2011's average of 153,000.

    Dow Jones industrial futures, which had been up before the report, fell soon after it was released.

  • LA Monitor announces new online partnership

    The Los Alamos Monitor has announced a major new online partnership with Homes.com, which now makes the site available locally through LAMonitor.com.

    “This partnership represents another investment the Los Alamos Monitor has made to better serve this community,” Los Alamos Monitor Publisher Keven Todd said. “There’s no question that Homes.com is a nationally recognized powerhouse in the real estate business, and we’re pleased to bring this information-packed provider to Los Alamos and Northern New Mexico through LAMonitor.com.”

    Homes.com has close to three million homes for sale and rent. Each month more than 11 million consumers visit Homes.com to search for real estate by location or property type. Visitors to Homes.com can also find the value of their current home, learn more about home financing, find a real estate agent and seek answers to real estate questions through the Homes.com Questions and Answers community, according to Homes.com officials.

  • Analysis: 4-year progress query puts Obama in box

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — It's a question that aides to any president seeking re-election should be ready to handle: Are Americans better off now than before he took office?

    This seemingly simple query, however, flummoxed President Barack Obama's team over the Labor Day weekend, throwing the campaign on the defensive just as the Democrats are about to open their national convention.

    Republican Mitt Romney's campaign pounced. Running mate Paul Ryan, speaking Monday in another North Carolina town, amped-up his party's long-running efforts to persuade Americans, once and for all, that Obama's economic record disqualifies him for a second term.

    Democrats acknowledged that Obama's team must get a better handle on the question, an updated version of the Ronald Reagan line that helped sink President Jimmy Carter in 1980.

  • Forest Service gives nod to Taos Ski Valley expansion

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. Forest Service has approved Taos Ski Valley's request to expand its expert terrain by 60 percent with two new lifts that will take skiers to popular high alpine areas currently accessible only to hikers.

    The plan also calls for upgrades to three other lifts, thinning of trees to expand two new glade areas for advanced intermediate to expert skiers, construction of a permanent tubing facility, a snowshoe trail system and a lift-served mountain bike trail for summer visitors.

    Officials hailed the action as crucial for helping the northern New Mexico ski area keep pace with competitors in Colorado.

  • New Mexico plans summit on economic policies

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Gov. Susana Martinez's administration plans a summit in October to gather recommendations for boosting New Mexico's economy.

    The Economic Development Department is organizing the "New Century Economic Summit" in Albuquerque on Oct. 2 to hear from community and business leaders and educators.

    Economic Development Secretary Jon Barela said policy recommendations may be incorporated into legislative proposals and the agency's long-term strategic plan for expanding the economy.

    Barela said the summit needs to consider New Mexico's tax system, infrastructure, economic development incentives and educational programs for preparing a competitive workforce.

    The summit will be held at the Workforce Training Center at Central New Mexico Community College. There is a $25 registration fee, and the public policy group New Mexico First is helping with the summit

  • Is North Carolina Beyond Obama's Reach?