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Business/Economy

  • New-home purchases fall, 2011 worst ever for sales

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer people bought new homes in December, making 2011 the worst sales year on record.

    The Commerce Department said Thursday new-home sales fell last month to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 307,000. The pace is less than half the 700,000 that economists say must be sold in a healthy economy.

    About 302,000 homes were sold last year. That's less than the 323,000 sold in 2010, making 2011 the worst year on records dating back to 1963.

    The median sales prices for new homes dropped in December to $210,300. Builders continued to slash price to stay competitive.

  • Gender income disparity greatest in Los Alamos

    A comparison of paychecks indicates that it’s still a man’s world.
    On Numbers looked at the median earnings of men and women in 942 metropolitan and micropolitan areas, using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010 American Community Survey.
    The final score: Men outearn women in 941 markets. Women have the edge in only one place, the tiny micropolitan area of Clewiston, Fla.
    Among medium-sized markets, the income disparity among genders is the greatest in Los Alamos. Men in the community that is home to Los Alamos National Laboratory earn a median of $81,712, while women earn $41,392.
    In the Albuquerque area, median income for men is $38,372, while the median for women is $27,827.

  • Central Ave. Grill’s fate still uncertain

    A number of parties are awaiting the results of a meeting that took place Thursday in Albuquerque between attorneys for Central Avenue Grill owners Min and Monica Park, attorneys for the restaurant’s landlords C1C2 Investments of Daytona Beach, Fla., and Bankruptcy Court Judge Robert Jacobvitz.

    The judge’s decision, on whether the Park’s downtown property lease remains intact, has not been released.

    Park explained in a previous interview that due to the ups and downs in the Los Alamos economy over the last few years, he occasionally fell behind on his lease payments of about $8,500 per month, which technically put the restaurant in default on its lease obligations.

  • Economic vitality administrator starts Feb. 6

    Los Alamos County’s first economic vitality administrator, Scott Frederick, held the position for less than seven months before being terminated in November 2010. Less than a month later, County Administrator Tony Mortillaro also was terminated. The position of economic vitality administrator - along with several other key positions - fell into limbo, awaiting the appointment of a new county administrator.

    The wait is over. Greg Fisher has been hired to implement the county’s Economic Vitality Strategic Plan.

  • New grazing contract awarded for Valles Caldera

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Researchers at New Mexico State University and ranchers from Jemez Pueblo have been awarded a grazing contract that will allow them access to the Valles Caldera National Preserve next summer.

    One environmental group has concerns about returning cattle to the 89,000-acre preserve after more than a third of it was charred last summer by the massive Las Conchas fire. However, preserve officials said the grazing partnership meets congressional mandates for how the property should be managed.

  • Documents Show How Fed Missed Housing Bust

    Ben Bernanke presided over his first meeting as Federal Reserve chairman in March 2006 believing the nation's economy could pull off a "soft landing" from falling home prices.

  • Consumers Spent at Record Levels in 2011

    Retail sales barely rose in December, but the gain was enough to lift sales to a record level for 2011. It marked the largest annual increase in more than a decade.

  • America hits the brakes on health care spending

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Is health-care relief finally in sight?

    Health spending stabilized as a share of the nation's economy in 2010 after two back-to-back years of historically low growth, the government reported Monday.

    Experts debated whether it's a fleeting consequence of the sluggish economy, or a real sign that cost controls by private employers and government at all levels are starting to work.

    The answers will be vital for Medicare's sustainability, as well as for workplace coverage.

  • Hiring rises in November, but job openings dip

    WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers stepped up their hiring in November, though they advertised fewer jobs for a second straight month. The mixed data suggest the job market has strengthened but employers remain cautious.

    Until this fall, most of the improvement in the job market since the recession ended has been largely because of a sharp drop in layoffs. The jump in hiring reported Tuesday suggests companies are feeling more confident in the economy and are expanding, albeit slowly.

  • Old Treasures Translate to Cash

    It may be time to unearth that coin collection or rummage those treasures in the attic. Over the past few months a number of gold and silver buyers have set up temporary operations in Los Alamos as the price of gold and similar commodities has spiked.

    The American Coin Buyers Guild (ACBG) is currently at the Best Western Hilltop House Hotel through Saturday, and representatives are looking to purchase coins, precious metals and collectables.

    “Not everyone’s going to have the lottery ticket. But people can bring in something they thought had absolutely no value, and walk away with some real money,” Field Manager Dereck Outten said.