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Business/Economy

  • Obama signs 2-month payroll tax cut extension

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has signed legislation extending a payroll tax cut for two months. The action concludes an end-of-year drama that split Republicans and threatened a tax hike on 160 million Americans.

    Obama acted Friday after the House and Senate approved the tax cut extension, which will maintain the Social Security tax at 4.2 percent. The legislation also extends unemployment insurance for jobless workers and forces Obama to make a decision within 60 days on whether to permit construction of an oil pipeline opposed by environmental groups.

  • Ashley Inn becomes a Motel 6

    Changing names but not its ownership, the 50-room Ashley Hotel & Suites at 2175 Trinity Dr. is now a Motel 6 franchise. WiFi and free morning coffee are included in the national chain’s trademark “no frills” style.

    The continental breakfast once provided by Ashley Suites is now gone.

    “We’ve now stopped serving the continental breakfast and that’s about the only thing that’s changed since we became a Motel 6,” said Nichole Richerson, who has managed the property for a year. “We also still have fridges and microwaves in some of our rooms.”

  • Congress flips dimmer switch on light bulb law

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans in Congress are flipping the dimmer switch on a law that sets new energy-savings standards for light bulbs.

    They've reached a deal to delay until October enforcement of standards that some fear will bring about the end of old-style 100-watt bulbs. GOP lawmakers say they're trying to head off more government interference in people's lives.

    But environmentalists and the light bulb industry say the move is not too bright.

    Language postponing enforcement of the light bulb law — it was set to take effect Jan. 1 — was included in a massive spending bill that funds the government through September. The House passed the measure on Friday, with approval expected Saturday in the Senate.

  • VIDEO: Dip in Euro Makes Travel Cheaper... or Not

    With the Euro hovering at an 11-month low, tourists on both sides of the Atlantic are watching their buying power fluctuate.

  • Los Alamos tops pay scale study

    Los Alamos County continues to compile records as one of the wealthiest places in the state and the country.

    The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis released a study that said the total compensation in Los Alamos County is the highest in the Southwestern United States.

    Los Alamos County, with the help of the lab, ranked first among 379 counties in the region with a total average annual compensation of $86,465.

    Foard County, Texas had the lowest average compensation at $29,117.

    Total compensation is the sum of wage and salary disbursements, and wage and salary supplements.

  • Census shows 1 in 2 Americans are poor or low-income

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Squeezed by rising living costs, a record number of Americans — nearly 1 in 2 — have fallen into poverty or are scraping by on earnings that classify them as low income.

    The latest census data depict a middle class that's shrinking as unemployment stays high and the government's safety net frays. The new numbers follow years of stagnating wages for the middle class that have impacted millions of families.

  • VIDEO: Fedex Expects 17 Million Shipments

    FedEx says it expects to have its busiest day ever Monday with a projected 17 million shipments globally, almost double the usual daily amount.

  • Postal cuts to slow delivery of first-class mail--video extra

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Facing bankruptcy, the U.S. Postal Service is pushing ahead with unprecedented cuts to first-class mail next spring that will slow delivery and, for the first time in 40 years, eliminate the chance for stamped letters to arrive the next day.

    The estimated $3 billion in reductions, to be announced in broader detail on Monday, are part of a wide-ranging effort by the cash-strapped Postal Service to quickly trim costs, seeing no immediate help from Congress.

  • Unemployment rate dips as hundreds of thousands abandon job hunt

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. unemployment rate fell last month to its lowest level in more than two and a half years.

    The Labor Department said Friday that the unemployment rate dropped sharply to 8.6 percent last month, down from 9 percent in October. The rate hasn't been that low since March 2009, during the depths of the recession.

    Still, 13.3 million Americans remain unemployed. And a key reason the unemployment rate fell so much was because roughly 315,000 people had given up looking for work and were no longer counted as unemployed.

  • On the airwaves

    New County Administrator Harry Burgess discusses his emergency management background during an interview on the monthly Safety and Security Matters program hosted by Carol A. Clark at KRSN.