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Business/Economy

  • 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.

  • 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.