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Business/Economy

  • Medicare costs to reduce Social Security increase

    WASHINGTON (AP) — That didn't last long. About 55 million Social Security recipients will get their first increase in benefits next year since 2009 — a 3.6 percent raise. But higher Medicare premiums could erase part of it.

    For some, higher Medicare Part B premiums could wipe out as much as a fourth of their raise from Social Security, according to projections by the trustees who oversee the programs.

    Medicare is expected to announce 2012 Part B premiums as early as next week. The premiums, which cover doctor visits, are deducted automatically from monthly Social Security payments.

  • Santa Clara Pueblo reopens Puye Cliffs for tours

    SANTA CLARA, N.M. (AP) — The Santa Clara Pueblo has reopened its Puye (POO'-yee) Cliff Dwellings.

    KRQE-TV reports that the pueblo reopened the historic site this weekend after it spent most of the summer keeping uncharred land free of flash flooding.

    The Santa Clara Pueblo is back giving tours and teaching visitors about the old ruins after four months.

    Around 17,000 acres of the Santa Clara Pueblo Reservation were devoured in the massive Las Conchas fire this summer that destroyed dozens of homes and at one point, threatened the town of Los Alamos.

    The flames finally stopped about a mile away from the cliff dwellings.

    The cliff dwellings are open to tours seven days a week.

  • Million dollar remodel is wrapping up

    Champagne, hors d’oeuvres and music top the slate for del Norte Credit Union’s upcoming grand reopening party. The community is invited to celebrate the facility’s $1 million makeover from 5-7 p.m., Nov. 4 at the 1000 Trinity Dr., facility.

    “We’re excited about our branch remodel and want to invite everyone to come to our grand reopening to see all of the wonderful new features we’ve incorporated into the facility,” said DNCU board member Levi Lopez. “We also want the public to know that we appreciate the support we’ve received from Los Alamos and White Rock and look forward to serving these communities as well as the communities of Santa Fe and
    Espanola for many more years to come.”

  • French firm wins license for Idaho uranium plant

    BOISE, Idaho (AP) — France's state-owned nuclear reactor builder on Wednesday won a U.S. license to build and operate a gas centrifuge uranium enrichment plant in Idaho, a key step in the company's plans to expand production of nuclear fuel in the United States.

    The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission's license for the $3 billion Eagle Rock Enrichment Facility authorizes Areva SA to enrich uranium for use in the manufacture of nuclear fuel for commercial power reactors. The project could supply 104 U.S. nuclear power plants, company spokesman Jarret Adams said.

  • Deficit 'supercommittee' struggles as clock ticks

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The supercommittee is struggling.

    After weeks of secret meetings, the 12-member deficit-cutting panel established under last summer's budget and debt deal appears no closer to a breakthrough than when talks began last month.

    While the panel members themselves aren't doing much talking, other lawmakers, aides and lobbyists closely tracking the committee are increasingly skeptical, even pessimistic, that the panel will be able to meet its assigned goal of at least $1.2 trillion in deficit savings over the next 10 years.

    The reason? A familiar deadlock over taxes and cuts to major programs like Medicare and the Medicaid health care program for the poor and disabled.

  • Two Americans share Nobel economics prize

    STOCKHOLM (AP) — Americans Thomas Sargent and Christopher Sims won the Nobel economics prize on Monday for research that sheds light on the cause-and-effect relationship between the economy and policy instruments such as interest rates and government spending.

    Sargent and Sims — both 68 — carried out their research independently in the 1970s and '80s, but it is highly relevant today as world governments and central banks seek ways to steer their economies away from another recession.

    The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said the winners have developed methods for answering questions such as how economic growth and inflation are affected by a temporary increase in the interest rate or a tax cut.

  • Survey: US gas prices dip 13 cents in past 2 weeks

    CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) — A survey says the average U.S. price of a gallon of gasoline has dropped 13 cents over the past two weeks.

    The Lundberg Survey of fuel prices released Sunday puts the price of a gallon of regular at $3.42, down 13 cents from two weeks earlier and down 25 cents in the past month.

    Costs have seen similar drops in midgrade, now at an average of $3.58 a gallon, and premium at $3.70.

    Diesel fell seven cents to $3.85 a gallon.

    Of the cities surveyed, Albuquerque, N.M., had the nation's lowest average price for gas at $3.07, and perennial price leader San Francisco had the highest at $3.81.

  • Unemployment rate stays at 9.1 percent

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Employers added 103,000 jobs in September, a modest burst of hiring after a sluggish summer.

    Nearly half of the gains last month occurred because 45,000 striking Verizon workers returned to their jobs.

    Still, job growth remains too weak to lower the unemployment rate, which stayed at 9.1 percent for the third straight month.

    The Labor Department also revised the previous two months to show that companies hired at a better pace than first estimated.

    Employers have added an average of only 72,000 jobs in the past five months. The economy must create twice as many just to keep up with population growth.

  • 30-year mortgage below 4 pct. for first time ever

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage this week fell below 4 percent for the first time ever, to 3.94 percent.

    For those who can qualify, it's an extraordinary opportunity to buy or refinance. And mortgage rates could fall even further now that the Federal Reserve plans to reshuffle its portfolio of securities to try and lower long-term rates.

    On Thursday, Freddie Mac said the rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage dropped from 4.01 percent last week, the previous low. The average rate on a 15-year fixed loan, a popular refinancing option, dipped to 3.26 percent, also a record. The 15-year loan has fallen for six straight weeks.

  • More people sought unemployment aid last week

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of people who applied for unemployment benefits rose last week, a sign that the job market remains weak.

    Weekly applications increased by 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 401,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.

    The gain comes after applications plummeted by 33,000 in the previous week. The drop partly reflected technical difficulties with the department's seasonal adjustment process.

    The four-week average, a less volatile measure, fell for the second straight week to 414,000, its lowest level in a month.