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Business/Economy

  • Unemployment rate dips as many give up looking for work

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Hiring picked up only slightly in July and the unemployment rate dipped to 9.1 percent, a dubious sign after the worst day on Wall Street in nearly three years.

    The Labor Department says employers added 117,000 jobs last month. That's an improvement from the past two months.

    The unemployment rate fell partly because some unemployed workers stopped looking for work. That means they are no longer counted as unemployed.

    The mild gain may ease investors' concerns after the Dow Jones industrial average plummeted more than 500 points over concerns that the U.S. may be entering another recession.

  • Unemployment aid applications tick down to 400K

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Weekly applications for unemployment benefits edged down 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 400,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. That's the lowest level in four months. The previous week's figure was revised upward from 398,000 to 401,000.

    The four-week average, a less volatile figure, dropped for the fifth straight week to 407,750. That suggests there is a downward trend in layoffs.

    Applications "have been grinding lower, and this week's result is at least not bad news, which at this point feels pretty good," said Robert Kavcic, an economist at BMO Capital markets, in an email.

    Stock futures fluctuated after the report was released before erasing earlier losses.

  • Stocks continue to slide one day after big sell-off

    NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks fell for the eighth straight day Wednesday as worries about the economy deepen. The S&P 500 index was headed for its longest losing streak since the peak of the financial crisis in October 2008.

    Investors are growing increasingly concerned about the economy. Shortly after the market opened, the Institute of Supply Management said its index measuring the service sector of the U.S. economy grew at the weakest pace in 17 months in July. Economists had expected a slight increase.

  • Senate roll vote on debt ceiling legislation

    The 74-26 roll call Tuesday by which the Senate passed emergency legislation to avoid a first-ever government default.

    A "yes" vote is a vote to pass the bill.

    Voting yes were 45 Democrats, 28 Republicans and 1 independent.

    Voting no were 6 Democrats, 19 Republicans and 1 independent.

    Democrats Yes

  • Stocks dip on economic concerns

    NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks retreated in morning trading Tuesday as investors turned their attention to more signs of weakness in the U.S. economy and poor corporate earnings reports.

    The Commerce Department reported that consumers cut spending in June by the biggest amount in nearly two years. Analysts had predicted a slight increase. Incomes also rose by the smallest amount since September, reflecting a weak job market.

  • House Roll Call: How they voted on debt-limit bill--video extra

    The 269-161 roll call Monday by which the House passed the compromise bill to raise the debt ceiling and prevent a government default.

    A "yes" vote is a vote to pass the measure.

    Voting yes were 95 Democrats and 174 Republicans.

    Voting no were 95 Democrats and 66 Republicans.

    X denotes those not voting.

    There are 2 vacancies in the 435-member House.

    ALABAMA

    Democrats — Sewell, Y.

    Republicans — Aderholt, Y; Bachus, Y; Bonner, Y; Brooks, N; Roby, N; Rogers, Y.

    ALASKA

    Republicans — Young, Y.

    ARIZONA

    Democrats — Giffords, Y; Grijalva, N; Pastor, N.

  • Healthcare reform: Insurers must cover birth control with no copays

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration says health insurance plans must cover birth control for women with no copays.

    The requirement, affecting most insurance plans, is part of a broad expansion of women's preventive coverage. Breast pumps for nursing mothers, an annual "well woman" physical, counseling on how to avoid sexually transmitted diseases and other services will also be covered at no cost to the patient.

    The new benefits won't take effect for at least another year, Jan. 1, 2013, in most cases. Insurers are expected to pass the cost on to their customers through slightly higher premiums.

  • Obama signs debt bill after final Senate vote--video extras

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate emphatically passed emergency legislation Tuesday to avoid a first-ever government default, rushing the legislation to President Barack Obama for his signature just hours before the deadline. The vote was 74-26.

    Obama signed the bill little more than an hour later.

    Tuesday's vote capped an extraordinarily difficult Washington battle pitting tea party Republican forces in the House against Obama and Democrats controlling the Senate. The resulting compromise paired an essential increase in the government's borrowing cap with promises of more than $2 trillion of budget cuts over the next decade.

  • Stock futures fall as debt stalemate continues

    NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stock futures fell Wednesday as lawmakers remain at odds over how to avoid a debt default. A weak report on long-lasting manufactured goods also weighed on stocks.

    House Speaker John Boehner had planned to hold a vote on his debt-limit plan on Wednesday. But that was postponed after conservative lawmakers scoffed at the proposal and congressional budget officials said it would have cut spending less than advertised. The White House had also threatened to veto Boehner's plan. A deal still appears a long way off.

  • Boehner: House will compromise on debt limit

    WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday that Republicans controlling the chamber are willing to compromise on legislation increasing the government's borrowing authority.

    "Frankly, I think it would be irresponsible on behalf of the Congress and the president not to be looking at back-up strategies for how to solve this problem," Boehner said. "At the end of the day, we have a responsibility to act."

    Asked whether GOP lawmakers supporting the House "cut, cap and balance" debt limit measure would be unwilling to ultimately compromise, Boehner said, "I'm sure we've got some members who believe that, but I do not believe that would be anywhere close to the majority.