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Business/Economy

  • 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.

  • Co-op celebrates opening--video extra

    After five years of work, the Los Alamos Co-op Market was able to officially open its doors to the community during a grand opening celebration Saturday morning.

    VaLynn Purvis of Party 2 Go set up a Jolly Jumper outside the store and vendors sold everything from cinnamon bread to scented lotions.

    Despite all the festivities, the employees of the market seemed to just take pleasure in the fact that the store has now officially opened.

    “It’s been satisfying. We’ve been waiting for this for five years … it’s been a long wait,” Tim Morrison, front-end manager, said.

    “It’s been a lot of work but it’s definitely worthwhile,” he added.

  • More people apply for unemployment benefits

    WASHINGTON (AP) — More people applied for unemployment benefits last week, the first increase in three weeks. Still, the broader trend points to a slowly healing jobs market.

    The government says applications for unemployment benefits rose 27,000 to a seasonally adjusted 412,000 for the week ended April 9. That left applications at their highest point since mid-February.

    Applications near 375,000 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 395,750. However, applications have dropped about 6 percent over the past two months. At the same time, businesses have stepped up hiring.

  • Obama makes $4 trillion deficit reduction plan

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama coupled a call for $4 trillion in long-term deficit reductions with a blistering attack on Republican plans for taxes, Medicare and Medicaid on Wednesday, laying down markers for a roiling debate in Congress and the 2012 presidential campaign to come.

    Obama said spending cuts and higher taxes alike must be part of any deficit-reduction plan, including an end to Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy. He proposed an unspecified "debt failsafe" that would go into effect if Congress failed to make sure the national debt would be falling by 2014 relative to the overall economy.