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Economy

NEW YORK — Nancy Strumwasser, a high school teacher from Mountain Lakes, N.J., always thought she’d have two children. But the layoffs that swept over the U.S. economy around the time her son was born six years ago helped change her mind. Though she and her husband, a market researcher, managed to keep their jobs, she fears they won’t be so fortunate next time.

“After we had a kid in 2009, I thought, ‘This is not happening again,’” says Strumwasser, 41, adding, “I never really felt comfortable about jobs, how solid they can be.” read more »

 

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages fell last week for a second straight week as the spring home-buying season has gotten off to a slow start.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate for the 30-year loan declined to 4.21 percent from 4.29 percent last week. The average for the 15-year mortgage eased to 3.32 percent from 3.38 percent.

Mortgage rates have risen almost a full percentage point since hitting record lows about a year ago. read more »

 

WASHINGTON — Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Wednesday that the U.S. economy is improving but noted that the job market remains “far from satisfactory” and inflation is still below the Fed’s target rate.

Speaking to Congress’ Joint Economic Committee, Yellen said that as a result, she expects low borrowing rates will continue to be needed for a “considerable time.” read more »

 

By Kenneth R. Harney, Nation’s Housing blog

WASHINGTON — The name itself conjures up images of ATMs: cash-outs.

You may associate the term “cash-out refinancing” with the frothy and dangerous days of the real-estate boom, when some owners turned their hyperinflating houses into money mills, leveraging their equities to the hilt.

That didn’t end up too well for many of them. read more »

 

French economist’s book “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” has fueled fierce debates about inequality

By STEVEN ERLANGER, The New York Times

Thomas Piketty turned 18 in 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell, so he was spared the tortured, decades-long French intellectual debate about the virtues and vices of communism. Even more telling, he remembers, was a trip he took with a close friend to Romania in early 1990, after the collapse of the Soviet empire. read more »

 

By JOSH BOAK, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON — For three decades, the U.S. middle class enjoyed a rare financial advantage over the wealthy: lower mortgage rates.

Now, even that perk is fading away.

Most ordinary homebuyers are paying the same or higher rates than the fortunate few who can afford much more.

Rates for a conventional 30-year fixed mortgage are averaging 4.48 percent, according to Bankrate. For “jumbo” mortgages — those above $417,000 in much of the country — the average is 4.47 percent. read more »

 

Associated Press

NEW YORK — U.S. newspaper industry revenue fell last year, as increases in circulation revenue weren’t high enough to make up for shrinking demand for print advertising, an industry trade group said Friday.

The Newspaper Association of America said revenue fell 2.6 percent to $37.6 billion in 2013.

Circulation revenue rose 3.7 percent to $10.9 billion, the second straight year of growth.

Advertising revenue fell 6.5 percent to $23.6 billion. read more »

 

By ALAN FRAM, Associated Press 

WASHINGTON — A Senate Democratic bill gradually increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10 hourly would require private businesses to spend $15 billion more in salaries when it takes full effect in 2017, the Congressional Budget Office estimated Thursday.

The nonpartisan budget office’s estimate could be used as ammunition by Republicans, who largely oppose the measure because they say it would drive up business costs. read more »

 

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages fell this week for the second straight week as the spring home-buying season begins.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate for the 30-year loan fell to 4.27 percent from 4.34 percent last week. The average for the 15-year mortgage eased to 3.33 percent from 3.38 percent.

Mortgage rates have risen about a full percentage point since hitting record lows about a year ago. read more »

 
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