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Business/Economy

  • Bernanke sees risks in further steps to spur jobs

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Wednesday that the Fed can't take additional steps to try to ease high unemployment without escalating inflation.

    If inflation were to accelerate, the Fed would have to raise rates to slow borrowing and spending and blunt price increases. Hiring might then slow.

    Speaking to reporters, Bernanke became the first chairman in the Fed's 98-year history to begin holding regular news conferences. The session, the first of three scheduled news conferences this year, is part of Bernanke's long-standing campaign to make the Fed more transparent and to cast himself as open and accessible.

  • Local leaders mingle with governor--video extra

    Community leaders turned out in force to discuss issues close to their hearts with Gov. Susana Martinez during a 90-minute gathering Wednesday afternoon at Los Alamos National Bank.

    The governor tackled questions pertaining to education, taxes, pay to play corruption, drugs, New Mexico's First Born Program, economic development, film industry incentives, immigrant drivers licenses and more.

    Seizing the opportunity to discuss local education issues with the governor, Los Alamos Public Schools Superintendent Gene Schmidt, Assistant Superintendent Paula Dean and Chief Financial Officer John Wolfe attended the event and expressed their concerns.

  • Amazon.com's profit tumbles more than expected

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Amazon.com said Tuesday that its net income fell 33 percent in the latest quarter, a steeper drop than Wall Street expected as the online retailer battles stronger competition from Wal-Mart and other rivals.

    The numbers reflect the competitive challenges for the world's biggest online retailer and the impact of higher costs of expansion. Amazon's expenses increased by nearly half in the first three months of 2011, including investments in order-fulfillment centers and new technologies.

    Thomas Szkutak, the company's chief financial officer, attributed the higher expenses to higher demand.

  • Consumer Confidence Index rises in April

    NEW YORK (AP) — Americans' concerns about jobs and inflation eased somewhat in April, pushing the Consumer Confidence Index higher.

    The increase comes after an unexpected drop in March. But the measure had risen for five consecutive months before that and hit a three-year high in February.

    "Consumer's short-term outlook improved slightly, suggesting that the uncertainty expressed last month is easing," said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center, in a statement. "Inflation expectations, which had spiked, retreated somewhat in April."

  • Ford posts best 1Q profit in 13 years

    DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — Ford posted its best first-quarter profit in 13 years, as its new, more fuel-efficient vehicles reached showrooms during a surge in gasoline prices.

    New arrivals such as the Ford Explorer and Fiesta small car are selling well. Company profits are growing around the world. And Ford is charging more for its cars, helping offset higher commodity costs.

  • In the zone: Know the laws about home-based businesses

    Almost half of U.S. businesses are based in the business owner’s home, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, and that number might grow as more people decide to go into business for themselves.
    Those planning to launch a home-based business in New Mexico need to understand the zoning laws that apply in their area.
    Depending on where one lives in the state, zoning laws are enacted by city or county officials.

    A tale of two cities

  • Tech earnings give Nasdaq biggest jump in 6 months

    NEW YORK (AP) — Strong earnings from technology companies including Intel Corp. sent stocks soaring Wednesday. The Nasdaq composite index had its biggest one-day jump in six months.

    The Nasdaq rose 57, or 2 percent, to 2,802 in early afternoon trading. The technology-focused index hasn't risen that much since Oct. 5.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 200 points, or 1.6 percent, to 12,467.

  • McDonald's hiring day draws crowds, high hopes--video extra

    McDonald's Corp. went on the offense Tuesday against critics who complain that it's a lousy place to work.

    The world's largest hamburger chain held its first National Hiring Day and was awarded with a strong response from job seekers. Thousands showed up at restaurants nationwide to apply for jobs mixing shakes and serving Happy Meals. The company planned to hire 50,000 new workers in one day, boosting its staff by about 7 percent.

    McDonald's painted the event as a boon for an economy where more than 13 million Americans are looking for work. But the real purpose, industry experts said, is that McDonald's needs to portray itself as a decent employer.

  • Unemployment falls in two-thirds of states

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The unemployment rate fell in two-thirds of the nation's states last month, the latest evidence that the strengthening economy is encouraging many employers to boost hiring.

    The Labor Department said Tuesday that the unemployment rate dropped in 34 states in March. That's the largest number of states to record a decline since June. The rate rose in seven states and was unchanged in nine and Washington, D.C.

  • 1 in 5 New Mexicans gets government help for food

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — One in five New Mexicans now receives government help to buy food.

    The number of people enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, soared as the nation's economy began sinking a couple of years ago, with more than 400,000 New Mexico residents now receiving the benefits, the Albuquerque Journal Monday reported in a copyright story.

    SNAP benefits, once known as food stamps, are a safety net for people who have fallen on tough times.

    The program is based on income. A family of four, for example, can make up to $3,032 a month and qualify.

    New Mexico figures show the average SNAP beneficiary in March received $296.