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Business/Economy

  • Unemployment benefit claims dip for sixth week

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer people applied for unemployment benefits last week, the third drop in the past four weeks and a sign that the job market may be slowly improving.

    Weekly claims for jobless aid dipped by 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 420,000 in the week ending Dec. 11, the Labor Department said Thursday.

    The four-week average of claims, a less-volatile measure, fell for the sixth straight week to 422,750. That's the lowest level since August 2008, just before the financial crisis intensified with the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

  • Obama-GOP tax bill clears Senate hurdle with ease

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Far-reaching legislation to avert a Jan. 1 income-tax increase for millions won overwhelming support in a Senate test vote on Monday, propelled by an uneasy and unusual alliance between the White House and lawmakers in both parties.

    Eager to trumpet the 85-13 vote, President Barack Obama said even before it was announced it proved "that both parties can in fact work together to grow our economy and look out for the American people."

  • Democrats meet with Obama over tax cuts deal

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama met with Democratic congressional leaders at the White House on Monday, eager to seal a year-end bipartisan agreement to extend expiring tax cuts to all Americans and renew jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed.

    The White House has also been floating the possibility of including a temporary payroll tax holiday in any agreement as a way to help stimulate the economy, officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity, saying they were not authorized to discuss recent developments.

  • Barela picked to lead NM economic development

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Gov.-elect Susana Martinez has introduced her nominee to lead the state Economic Development Department, and it's a familiar face.

    Albuquerque businessman Jon Barela was in the news a lot in recent months as he unsuccessfully sought the Albuquerque-area congressional seat. Barela lost in the general election to incumbent Democrat Martin Heinrich.

    Barela opened his remarks Friday by saying when one door closes, another opens.

  • Unemployment hits seven-month high

    NEW YORK (AP) — An rise in the U.S. unemployment rate pushed most stocks down Friday as investors moved money into safer assets.

    The unemployment rate climbed to a seven-month high in November as employers added just 39,000 jobs. Economists had expected a gain of 145,000.

    The unemployment rate climbed to 9.8 percent from 9.6 percent.

  • Obama, GOP call White House meeting 'productive'

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama and Republican congressional leaders agreed Tuesday to work out their differences over taxes and vowed after their first formal meeting since the elections to work harder on a more cooperative approach. There was no consensus on whether to keep Bush era tax cuts in place for the middle class and wealthy alike.

  • Citing deficit, Obama to freeze federal worker pay

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will announce a two-year pay freeze for federal employees Monday, a move White House officials say is the first of many difficult decisions that must be made to reduce the nation's mounting deficit.

  • NM home sales, prices drop in October

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A Realtors group says home sales in New Mexico dropped by 7 percent in October from a month earlier.

    The median price of homes sold also dropped by nearly 3 percent from September to $175,000.

    The sales and price figures were released late Friday by the Realtors Association of New Mexico.

    Executive vice president Steven Anaya says the numbers in New Mexico mirror national trends.

  • NM unemployment fund faces insolvency next August

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Higher taxes on businesses and cuts in jobless benefits will be necessary to shore up New Mexico's unemployment program, lawmakers were told Wednesday.

    The ailing unemployment fund is among the challenges facing Republican Gov.-elect Susana Martinez, who takes office in January and has pledged not to increase taxes.

  • Consumer prices rise moderately but inflation tame

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Consumer prices rose moderately in October but there was little sign of inflation as the cost of autos, clothing and hotels fell.

    The Labor Department said Wednesday the Consumer Price Index rose by 0.2 percent last month, an increase from September's 0.1 percent rise. Wall Street analysts had expected a slightly larger increase. It was the fourth straight rise.

    Gasoline prices accounted for most of the increase, rising by 4.6 percent in October, the biggest gain since July.