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

Economy Watch: February 28, 2010 - March 6, 2010

Video: Why you shouldn't be happy about the unchanged unemployment rate

This morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics told us that the February unemployment rate remained unchanged, at 9.7 percent. That's nice for March, but it probably does not mark the beginning of a decline. High unemployment will stick with us...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 5, 2010; 5:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  The Ticker , Unemployment  | Tags: Frank Ahrens, unemployment  
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Stocks close after day-long rally

UPDATED at 4:12 p.m. Stocks rode a very nice, consistent rally throughout the day, following a jobs report this morning that traders welcomed. The Dow closed up 1.2 percent at 10,566.20, its highest close since January 20. The broader S&P...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 5, 2010; 4:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  The Ticker , Unemployment , Wall Street  | Tags: Dow Jones, nasdaq, s&p 500, unemployment  
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Congress wants more documents on runaway acceleration from Toyota

The House Energy and Commerce committee sent a letter to Toyota U.S. sales head Jim Lentz asking for deep and complete documentation -- and actual human beings -- about the possibility that Toyota runaway acceleration is caused by electronic, not...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 5, 2010; 3:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Autos , Congress , Corporations , The Ticker  | Tags: Jim Lentz, Toyota problems, toyota, toyota congressional hearings, toyota recall model and years  
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GM to reinstate hundreds of closed dealerships

Remember that a big part of General Motors' restructuring was based on the concept that it had too many dealerships? Remember reading that some GM dealers sold only a few cars per month? Remember how GM said it was going...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 5, 2010; 2:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Autos , The Ticker  | Tags: GM, General Motors, dealerships  
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Truer unemployment rate rises to 16.8%

Don't be fooled by the fact that the official U.S. unemployment rate in February remained unchanged from January at 9.7 percent. The truer measure of unemployment in the United States rose from 16.5 percent in January to 16.8 percent in...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 5, 2010; 12:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Data , Unemployment  | Tags: Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment  
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Feb. unemployment rate remains unchanged at 9.7%

The official national unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.7 percent in February, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said moments ago. Forecasters predicted the rate would rise from 9.7 in January to 9.8 percent in February. Non-farm payrolls dropped by 36,000...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 5, 2010; 8:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (33)
Categories:  Data , The Ticker , Unemployment  | Tags: unemployment  
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Why it's so hard for Toyota to find out what's wrong with its vehicles

I won’t lie to you: I was not a good engineering student. That’s one of the reasons I went into journalism. But I did manage to acquire a bachelor of sciences in mechanical engineering, and the recent Toyota hearings on...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 4, 2010; 1:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (50)
Categories:  Congress , Corporations , The Ticker  | Tags: Akio Toyoda, David Cole, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Toyota problems, Yoshimi Inaba, auto engineering, automotive engineering, engineering testing, testing toyota software, toyota, toyota congressional hearings  
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Stocks up following jobless-claims report

Stocks opened slightly up following this morning's new jobless claims report. In the first 15 minutes of trading, the Dow is up four-tenths of 1 percent. The broader S&P 500 is up until three-tenths of 1 percent, and the tech-heavy...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 4, 2010; 8:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker , Wall Street  | Tags: Dow Jones, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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New jobless claims filed last week fall 29,000

New jobless claims filed last week dropped 29,000, to 469,000, slightly better than forecasters expected, the government said moments ago. Forecasters expected last week's new jobless claims to come in at 470,000. The four-week moving average for new jobless claims,...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 4, 2010; 8:26 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker , Unemployment  | Tags: jobless claims, unemployment  
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List of vehicles that do not have brake-override systems

I included this in a long posting Tuesday, but it's worth republishing on its own: Under congressional grilling, Toyota agreed to add brake-override systems to all new vehicles beginning with 2011 models. A brake-override system actually overrides the accelerator, not...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 3, 2010; 4:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Autos , Congress , Corporations , The Ticker  | Tags: Toyota problems, brake override systems, toyota, toyota congressional hearings, toyota recall model and years  
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Nissan to recall more than 500,000 vehicles

Now it's Nissan's turn. The Japanese automaker said today in Tokyo that it would recall 539,864 trucks, SUVs and minivans in the U.S., Asia and Europe to fix problems with brakes and fuel gauges. Nissan also makes the pricier Infiniti...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 3, 2010; 12:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Autos , Corporations , The Ticker  | Tags: Nissan, Nissan recall  
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Stocks up slightly at opening following employment news

Stocks are up slightly this morning following encouraging employment news from the private sector. In the first 20 minutes of trading, the Dow is up two-tenths of 1 percent. The broader S&P 500 is up two-tenths of 1 percent and...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 3, 2010; 9:53 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker , Wall Street  | Tags: Dow Jones, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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Subpoenaed Toyota documents cause partisan rift on House Oversight committee

You may remember last Friday that House Oversight and Government Reform committee chairman Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) accused Toyota of improperly withholding documents that would have allowed liability lawsuits against the company to go forward. The accusations, based on documents...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 2, 2010; 6:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Autos , Congress , Corporations , The Ticker  | Tags: Darrell Issa, Ed Towns, Toyota problems, toyota, toyota congressional hearings  
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Rockefeller: Toyota should be required to add brake-override systems to all Toyotas in U.S., regardless of vehicle age, cost

UPDATED at 5:26 p.m. Toyota should be forced to install brake-override systems on all Toyota vehicles currently in the U.S., regardless of how old they are or how much the process will cost, said Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), winding up...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 2, 2010; 5:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (33)
Categories:  Autos , Congress , Corporations , The Ticker  | Tags: Ray LaHood, Toyota problems, toyota, toyota congressional hearings, toyota recall model and years  
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Feb. sales: Ford soars 43%, Toyota down 10.6%, GM up 11.5%

UPDATED at 3:33 p.m.: Toyota's recall problems can now be quantified: A 10.6 percent drop in February sales, compared to February 2009. The troubled Japanese auto giant reported its February numbers moments ago. This was the automaker everyone was looking...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 2, 2010; 3:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: GM, General Motors, auto sales, toyota, toyota recall model and years  
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Stocks rise at opening following overseas gains

Stocks rose at opening this morning, following overseas gains. In the first 20 minutes of trading, the Dow is up four-tenths of 1 percent. The broader S&P 500 is up four-tenths of 1 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq is up...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 2, 2010; 9:52 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Dow Jones, Ray LaHood, Yoshimi Inaba, nasdaq, s&p 500, toyota  
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GM to recall 1.3 million compacts for steering problem

General Motors said Monday night that it will recall 1.3 million of its compact cars to replace a motor in the power steering system. When the motor fails, the car is still safely steerable, the company said, but is harder...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 1, 2010; 10:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (29)
Categories:  Corporations , The Ticker  | Tags: Chevrolet Cobalt recall, Chevy Cobalt recall, GM, GM recall, Pontiac G5 recall, Toyota recall update, toyota  
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Stocks stage strong rally on day's big deals

UPDATED at 4:50 p.m.: Stocks entered March like a lion, as all major indexes closed up strongly for the day, fueled by a day of big deals. The Dow closed up .76 percent at 10,403.79 The broader S&P 500 closed...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 1, 2010; 4:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  The Ticker , Wall Street  | Tags: Dow Jones, nasdaq, s&p 500  
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AIG sells Asia insurance unit to Brits for $35.5 billion -- biggest taxpayer repayment so far

Here's a nice change: A news story that includes AIG and lots of money but does NOT include executive bonuses. AIG, which is 80 percent owned by U.S. taxpayers after its epic fail nearly brought down the global financial system...

By Frank Ahrens  |  March 1, 2010; 12:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Bailout , Corporations , The Ticker  | Tags: AIG, Prudential P.L.C., bailout  
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