Finance Globe

U.S. financial and economic topics from several finance writers.

Inflation Picks Up the Pace

Inflation rates in the U.S. have risen faster than economists have predicted. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose at a rate of 5.6 percent for the twelve-month period through July of 2008. This is the fastest leap in consumer prices since 1991. Producer prices have escalated by 9.8 percent, the most since 1981.A nearly 30 percent increase in the...
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Unemployment Rate Hits Four-Year High

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the unemployment rate rose to 5.7 percent for July, the highest it's been in four years. Non-farm payroll employment continues to trend down, at a loss of 51,000 jobs. Employment continues to fall for occupations in construction, manufacturing, and certain service-providing industries, while mining and health care jobs are being added.The number of unemployed persons has risen by 1.6 million over the last twelve months; currently 8.8 million people...
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Federal Deficit Reaches Record High

The White House expects a record-breaking federal deficit.The federal budget deficit for fiscal 2009 is estimated to top a record-high of $482 billion, according to a Bush administration report released on Monday. The last highest deficit record was set in 2004, in the amount of $413 billion.Earlier deficit projections for 2009, released in February, were estimated to be $407 billion. White House officials say that the Economic Stimulus Package is partly to blame for the higher-than-expected...
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Minimum Wage Increase

The new federal minimum wage of $6.55 an hour goes into effect today, which amounts to a $.70 pay raise for the roughly two million American workers who must make ends meet on minimum wage.This increase is the second in a three-year plan to increase the federal minimum wage; minimum wage workers can expect another $.70 wage increase next summer, to bring to federal minimum wage to $7.25 an hour. If the state and federal minimum...
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Food Costs Keep Rising

In the midst of a weak economy, high gas prices, falling real estate values, and a slowing job market, we also have to tighten our budget for the rising cost of food. Many have already noticed their grocery bills edging upward; food prices have already risen over 5% this year, increasing at the fastest rate since 1990. And those costs are expected to keep on rising, many types of foods will see another 15% increase in...
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Gas Prices Take a Dip

Gas prices, here in my town, have hovered just over $4/gallon for months, hitting a high last month at around $4.09. It was actually quite surprising to see a gas price sign for $3.99/gallon last night. Though any relief is better than no relief, we're still paying over a dollar a gallon more than we were last year around this same time. What has caused gas prices to drop ever so slightly?Dolly's threat temporarily pushed gas...
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U.S. Government Plans to Aid Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac

The Federal Reserve and Treasury announced plans on Sunday to lend a hand to mortgage giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, by temporarily extending their long-standing credit lines if needed. The two companies would be able to borrow funds from the Fed at a rate of 2.25%, the same rate given to commercial banks and big Wall Street Firms.The Fed said that this should helps the companies' ability "to promote the availability of home mortgage credit...
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Federal Reserve Sets New Mortgage Rules

The Federal Reserve has tightened lending standards with new rules for home mortgages. These new mortgage rules are meant to protect American consumers from the types of irresponsible mortgage lending practices that have been blamed for leading us to the country's worst real estate market crisis in decades."The proposed final rules are intended to protect consumers from unfair or deceptive acts in mortgage lending, while keeping credit available to qualified buyers and supporting sustainable home-ownership," said...
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President Bush Signs Housing Bill

President Bush signed the housing rescue bill into law on Wednesday.The new laws have two main objectives; to help struggling homeowners refinance into affordable loans guaranteed by the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), and to give additional funding to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) that buy or back about half of all U.S. mortgages. These actions are hoped to bring stability back to the housing market and give a boost to our...
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Taxpayers Rescue Citigroup

Citigroup has become the next major institution troubled by bad mortgage-related investments to receive a taxpayer bailout.The New York-based mega-bank is yet another financial giant to be considered "too big to fail"; the company has its hand in so many deals around the world that its failure would be catastrophic to the global economy, according to experts.A joint announcement was made on Sunday by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the Federal Reserve, and the Federal...
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