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Business/Economy

  • Toyota to resume Japan car output at half capacity

    TOKYO (AP) — Toyota Motor Corp. said Friday it will resume car production at all its plants in Japan at half capacity from April 18 to 27 after the March earthquake and tsunami forced it to halt manufacturing due to shortages of parts and power.

    Toyota, the world's No. 1 automaker, said production at its 18 plants will then halt from April 28 to May 9, a period that includes Golden Week holidays when factories would normally close.

    Toyota said the parts shortage has been gradually improving but it is still struggling to get around 150 types of parts. Toyota previously said there were shortages of about 500 types of components. The automaker has suffered a production loss of 260,000 cars from March 14 through to Friday.

  • Time's up: Obama and GOP scramble to halt shutdown--video extra

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A deadline looming, the Congress' top Democrat accused Republicans on Friday of risking a government shutdown because they want to make it harder "for women to get cancer screenings."

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid unleashed his attack as his main antagonist in long-running negotiations, Speaker John Boehner, said spending cuts — not social issues — were blocking agreement to prevent a shutdown at midnight.

    "Most of the policy issues have been dealt with and the big fight is about spending," Boehner said Friday afternoon.

    The maneuvering unfolded as President Barack Obama canceled a trip to Indianapolis and spoke in separate phone calls with Reid and Boehner.

  • Fewer people sought unemployment aid last week

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer people applied for unemployment benefits last week, a sign that layoffs are declining and employers may be hiring more workers.

    The Labor Department said Thursday the number of people seeking benefits dropped 10,000 to 382,000 in the week ending April 2. That's the third drop in four weeks.

    The four-week average of applications, a less volatile measure, declined to 389,500. The average is just 1,000 above a two-year low that was reached three weeks ago.

    Applications near 375,000 are consistent with a sustained increase in hiring. Applications, which reflect the pace of layoffs, peaked during the recession at 659,000.

  • Business Watch: Free market key to cost effective health care

    Legislation (SB 208) is now sitting on Gov. Martinez’s desk that would, at least in theory, bring greater transparency to health insurance pricing.
    The long and short of the bill is to set up new requirements if a company wishes to raise rates. Rising health care costs are of course a problem, but nothing in it will contain or reduce health care costs for New Mexicans.
    Nonetheless, the legislation is designed to achieve “mom and apple pie” status. Who could oppose transparency that makes it more difficult to raise rates? In fact, we at the Rio Grande Foundation have been at the forefront in promoting government transparency in recent years.

  • Del Norte Credit Union to get makeover

    Del Norte Credit Union’s Los Alamos branch located at 1000 Trinity Drive is getting a makeover. The groundbreaking ceremony will take place at 4:30 p.m. Friday.
    The groundbreaking ceremony marked the beginning of the remodel project which is expected to be completed by the Fall of 2011. DNCU Chairman of the Board, Clyde Leyba, DNCU President/CEO Chuck Valenti, Branch Manager, Nickole Aguilar Garcia, and the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce will be on hand for the groundbreaking ceremony.

  • Poll reveals baby boomers' retirement fears

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Baby boomers are starting to retire, but many are agonizing about their finances and believe they'll need to work longer than they had planned, a new poll finds.

    The 77 million-strong generation born between 1946 and 1964 has clung tenaciously to its youth. Now, boomers are getting nervous about retirement. Only 11 percent say they are strongly convinced they will be able to live in comfort.

    A total of 55 percent said they were either somewhat or very certain they could retire with financial security. Yet a substantial 44 percent express little or no faith they'll have enough money when their careers end.

  • FDA proposes calorie counts on menus

    WASHINGTON (AP) — It could get harder to indulge in a double cheeseburger and fries without feeling guilty.

    Menu labeling requirements proposed Friday by the Food and Drug Administration will require chain restaurants with 20 or more locations, along with bakeries, grocery stores, convenience stores and coffee chains, to clearly post the calorie count for each item on their menus.

    "We've got a huge obesity problem in this country and it's due in part to excess calorie consumption outside the home," says Mike Taylor, FDA deputy commissioner for foods. "Consumers generally when you ask them say they would prefer to have that information."

  • Unemployment rate falls to 8.8 pct., two-year low

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The unemployment rate fell to a two-year low of 8.8 percent in March, capping the strongest two months of hiring since before the recession began.

    The economy added 216,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said Friday. Factories, retailers, the education and health care sectors and professional and financial services all expanded payrolls. Those job gains offset layoffs by local governments.

    Another month of brisk hiring provided the latest sign that the economy is strengthening nearly two years after the recession ended.

  • Unemployment stats reveal mixed bag on hiring front

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer people applied for unemployment benefits last week, a sign that layoffs are dropping and companies may be stepping up hiring.

    The Labor Department said Thursday that the number of people seeking benefits dipped by 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 388,000 for the week that ended March 26. That's the second decline in three weeks.

    Applications near 375,000 or below are consistent with a sustained increase in hiring. Applications peaked during the recession at 659,000.

    The four-week average of applications, a less volatile measure, rose to 394,250. Still, that figure has dropped by 35,500, or 8 percent, in the past eight weeks.

  • Business Watch: SBA Announces Grant to NM Small Business Development Centers

    ALBUQUERQUE – Small businesses in New Mexico will soon have greater access to critical resources to help them start or grow their businesses and create jobs, thanks to a $325,000 grant to SBA’s New Mexico Small Business Development Center.
    The funding was provided under a key provision of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 signed by the President last September, which provided $50 million in grants to SBA’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) across the country to support job creation and retention within the small business community by providing in-depth business counseling and advice to entrepreneurs and small business owners.