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Business/Economy

  • House accepts $5 billion state budget

    With adjournment looming, the Legislature is sending to Gov. Susana Martinez a critical proposal for balancing the state's $5 billion state budget.

    Lawmakers gave final approval late Thursday to a measure that saves nearly $111 million next year to help plug a budget gap. It requires state workers and educators to pay more into their pensions while government reduces its payroll contributions by a similar amount. The bill also will delay higher state payments to shore up the retirement fund for public school employees and college faculty.

  • Why inflation hurts more than it did 30 years ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Inflation spooked the nation in the early 1980s. It surged and kept rising until it topped 13 percent.

    These days, inflation is much lower. Yet to many Americans, it feels worse now. And for a good reason: Their income has been even flatter than inflation.

    Back in the '80's, the money people made typically more than made up for high inflation. In 1981, banks would pay nearly 16 percent on a six-month CD. And workers typically got pay raises to match their higher living costs.

    No more.

  • Stocks rebound on drop in unemployment claims

    NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks rose Thursday, a day after suffering their worst losses in seven months.

    The government said first-time applications for unemployment benefits dropped last week to 385,000, a bigger fall than economists expected.

  • NM lawmakers OK 72% tax hike on businesses as unemployment fix

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Lawmakers are sending Gov. Susana Martinez a proposal to shore up the state's unemployment compensation program by raising taxes on employers and cutting jobless benefits.

    If the governor signs the legislation, taxes on businesses will go up by $128 million next year.

    The Workforce Solutions Department projects the unemployment fund will run out of money by next March without any changes.

  • Stocks fall on weak economic reports, Japan crisis

    NEW YORK (AP) — Disappointing U.S. economic news and more worries about the nuclear crisis in Japan sent stocks lower Wednesday.

    The Commerce Department reported that new home construction fell to the second-lowest level on record in February, reflecting weak demand. Homebuilder Lennar Corp. fell 3 percent, while Pulte Group Inc. and D.R. Horton Inc. each fell 2 percent.

  • NM House OKs pension overhaul for public employees

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The House approved a proposal Tuesday to improve the solvency of New Mexico's public employee pension programs by establishing a minimum retirement age of 55 and limiting cost-of-living increases in some government workers' and educators' retirement benefits.

    The changes would apply to employees who have worked for state or local governments, school districts or colleges for less than five years as of July.

  • Fed says economic recovery on firmer footing

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve expressed more confidence in the U.S. economy even as Japan's nuclear crisis raised worries around the globe.

    The Fed said the economic recovery is on "firmer footing" and the jobs market is "improving gradually," in a statement released after its meeting Tuesday.

  • Retail sales up 1 percent in February

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Shoppers snapped up new cars, clothing and electronics in February, pushing retail sales up for the eighth straight month.

    Retail sales rose 1 percent last month, the Commerce Department reported Friday. Part of the gain reflected higher prices for gasoline. Still, excluding sales at gas stations, retail sales rose a solid 0.9 percent.

  • NM unemployment rate in January: 8.7 percent

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's jobless rate rose to 8.7 percent in January, up from 8.6 percent in December and 8.1 percent in January 2010.

    State labor officials say New Mexico lost 3,500 jobs between January 2010 and January 2011.

    An analysis shows the state's total nonfarm employment peaked at 849,600 in February 2008, and had fallen to 796,900 in December 2010.

    The state Department of Workforce Solutions says seven sectors have reported growth and six had declines.

  • Stocks plunge on economic news, slumping oil price

    NEW YORK (AP) — Weak economic news from China, the U.S. and Spain combined with a slump in oil companies sent stocks sharply lower Thursday.

    Investors were jarred when China reported a surprise trade deficit in February. China's exports fell as businesses closed for the weeklong Lunar New Year holiday, but imports of higher-priced oil and other goods jumped, widening the country's deficit to $7.3 billion.