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2.7%  Q1 GDP    4.57%  avg. 30-year mortgage     9.5%  Unemployment

Economy Watch: May 3, 2009 - May 9, 2009

The Conflicted Economics of 'Star Trek'

In honor of today's long-awaited (by The Ticker) premiere of "Star Trek," the 11th film in the canon and a prequel to the original series, it seemed a good time to examine the economics of Star Trek. As envisioned by...

By Frank Ahrens  |  May 8, 2009; 4:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Ferengi, Gene Roddenberry, Jean Luc Picard, Star Trek  
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Actual U.S. Unemployment: 15.8%

This morning's news that U.S. unemployment has hit 13.7 million, pushing the rate to 8.9 percent, tells only half the story of this recession. The total number of Americans who are not working full-time but ought to be is actually...

By Frank Ahrens  |  May 8, 2009; 3:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Labor Department, unemployment  
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Obama Pushes Retraining, Community Colleges

On a day when national unemployment hit 8.9 percent, its highest since 1983, President Obama touted retraining for the unemployed and more use of the community college system to change the way out-of-work Americans find new jobs. Being unemployed "is...

By Frank Ahrens  |  May 8, 2009; 12:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Obama, unemployment  
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B of A's Lewis Surprised To Lose Chairman Title

Bank of America chief executive Ken Lewis, fresh from having his title of chairman stripped from him by shareholders, said during an interview this morning that he "never would have expected that vote." Lewis and his Bank of America has...

By Frank Ahrens  |  May 8, 2009; 11:22 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Bank of America, Ken Lewis  
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Markets Surge at Opening

Unemployment at nearly 9 percent? No problem, Wall Street says, at least at opening today. In the first 15 minutes of trading, the Dow is up 117 points, or about 1.3 percent. The broader S&P 500 is up nearly 1.5...

By Frank Ahrens  |  May 8, 2009; 9:52 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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Consumers Radically Reduce Borrowing In March

Americans put more into their bank accounts and less on their credit cards in March, the Federal Reserve reported this afternoon. Consumer borrowing dropped 5.2 percent in March compared to the same period in 2008, the fastest drop recorded in...

By Frank Ahrens  |  May 7, 2009; 3:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: consumer credit, credit cards, gross domestic product  
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Source: Hill Hearings Coming On Bank of America

A House oversight panel is planning hearings to examine assertions by Bank of America chief executive Ken Lewis that government officials told him not to reveal billions in losses associated with the bank's acquisition of troubled brokerage Merrill Lynch, according...

By Frank Ahrens  |  May 7, 2009; 10:12 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Bank of America, Ben Bernanke, Hank Paulson, Ken Lewis  
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Markets Up At Opening

The markets opened up across the board this morning as Wall Street expressed affection for the results of the federal government's stress test of the nation's 19 largest financial institutions, set for release today. In the first 15 minutes of...

By Frank Ahrens  |  May 7, 2009; 9:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: dow, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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Ford Converts Plant From SUVs to Electric Cars

Call it a fork in the road for America’s second-largest automaker. This morning, Ford announced that it is pouring $550 million into the ongoing conversion of a Michigan truck plant into a facility that will produce the Ford Focus compact...

By Frank Ahrens  |  May 6, 2009; 2:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Alan Mulally, Chrysler, Ford, GM, SUV, automakers, bailout  
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Dissident Chrysler Lenders' Identities Revealed

By order of U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Arthur Gonzalez, the names of the dissident Chrysler lenders were revealed moments ago, The Post's Tomoeh Murakami Tse reports. These are the lenders that opposed the government's offer of accepting 33 cents on...

By Frank Ahrens  |  May 6, 2009; 1:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Chrysler, bankruptcy  
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May 6, 2009

The Washington Post staff share their picks for readings around the Web. Inflation or Deflation? Greg Mankiw's blog | Have trouble deciding whether inflation or deflation is the greater threat? Let some singing cowboys help you think it through....

By Sara Goo  |  May 6, 2009; 12:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Neil Irwin's Must Reads  
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Markets Open Up

Wall Street opened up early trading, shrugging off news reports that Bank of America may have to raise as much as $34 billion in new capital. In the first 15 minutes of trading, the Dow is up 55 points, or...

By Frank Ahrens  |  May 6, 2009; 9:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: ADP, Bank of America, Dow, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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Judge Denies Anonymity for Dissident Chrysler Lenders

The bankruptcy judge overseeing the Chrysler case denied a request by a lenders' group to keep their identities secret after they opposed the government's plan to sell the automaker, The Post's Tomoeh Murakami Tse reports. Attorneys for the dissident lenders'...

By Frank Ahrens  |  May 5, 2009; 5:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Chrysler, bankruptcy  
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Bank Demolishes Empty New Homes In Calif.

For months, economists and analysts have been half-joking that the nation's millions of newish, unsold, empty homes should be bulldozed to spur a recovery in the housing market. Now, it's actually happening, the Wall Street Journal reports. A Texas bank...

By Frank Ahrens  |  May 5, 2009; 2:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: housing bubble, housing crisis  
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How Fiat Became the Savior Of the Auto Industry. Maybe.

The Ticker wondered how it was that small and often-mocked Italian carmaker Fiat came to be a) the savior of Chrysler and b) the force behind the potential creation of the world's second-largest vehicle manufacturer -- the proposed Fiat-Chrysler-Opel European...

By Frank Ahrens  |  May 5, 2009; 1:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Chrysler, Fiat, GM, Opel  
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Bernanke: Let In More Foreign Scientists, Engineers

UPDATED at 11:58 A.M.: Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke went off on a bit of a tangent when asked during a meeting of Congress's joint economic committee underway right now what else could be done to stimulate the flagging economy. "I...

By Frank Ahrens  |  May 5, 2009; 11:58 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Ben Bernanke, Federal Reserve  
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Markets Flat At Opening

Wall Street opened flat this morning, as banks await the results of the federal government's "stress test" due to be released today, as The Post's Binya Appelbaum reports. In the first 15 minutes of trading, the Dow is down 13...

By Frank Ahrens  |  May 5, 2009; 9:41 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Ben Bernanke, Dow Jones, Federal Reserve, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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Buffett: I Paid Two Execs $75 Million

Warren Buffett said that his Berkshire Hathaway investment firm employs two executives who split $75 million in compensation last year, according to the transcript of a Fox Business Network interview with Buffett, Bill Gates and Berkshire vice chairman Charlie Munger...

By Frank Ahrens  |  May 4, 2009; 3:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Bill Gates, Charlie Munger, Melinda French Gates, Warren Buffett, Washington Post  
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Obama Demands Overseas Banks Reveal U.S. Taxpayer Holdings

UPDATED at 11:57 A.M. President Obama said that he wants overseas banks to generate IRS 1099 forms detailing how much American taxpayer money they're holding, in a White House announcement of new tax policies ended moments ago. If they don't,...

By Frank Ahrens  |  May 4, 2009; 11:57 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Tim Geithner, taxes  
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Pending Home Sales, Construction Spending Up In March

The battered economy got a couple of pieces of good news moments ago in two real estate reports released moments ago. The Commerce Department reported that construction spending in March unexpectedly rose .3 percent, following five straight months of declines....

By Frank Ahrens  |  May 4, 2009; 10:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Commerce Department, National Association of Realtors, housing crisis  
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Markets Up at Opening

Wall Street was looking to extend its ongoing rally as stocks opened up across the board this morning. In the first 15 minutes of trading, the Dow is up 95 points, or more than 1 percent. The broader S&P 500...

By Frank Ahrens  |  May 4, 2009; 9:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Commerce Department, Dow Jones, National Association of Realtors, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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This Week: Bernanke on the Hill, Monthly Unemployment

The last time Ben S. Bernanke testified on Capitol Hill, it was immediately after the furor that erupted over bonuses paid to American International Group executives. When the Federal Reserve chairman goes before the Joint Economic Committee tomorrow, the atmosphere...

By Sara Goo  |  May 4, 2009; 6:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  
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