Early Briefing: The Economy

*The District has a $350 million bond for schools, parks and road scheduled for next month that could be delayed if credit conditions continue to deteriorate. The credit crunch is making it harder to get money from the municipal bonds market, especially for municipalities that don't have the highest credit ratings. See story.

*Unemployment in the Washington area edged up to 3.1 percent in October from 2.9 percent the previous year. The number of local jobs added last month was the smallest increase in five years. And the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond chimed in with news that its survey showed softer retail sales in October and the beginning of November as well as slow demand for home mortgages. See story. Read with the Richmond Fed has to say here.

*A report by the Urban Institute said that despite the soft real estate market, most are homes aren't affordable for low- and moderate-income families. See story.

*While illegal immigrants in Maryland and Virginia make more than their counterparts nationwide, they make far less than native-born residents of those states. See story.

*Downtown Washington has boosted the economy over the past decade, creating more than 60,000 jobs and generating hundreds of millions of dollars annually in tax revenue, according to a new reportby the Downtown DC Business Improvement District.

*As AOL moves from Dulles to New York, it's also moving away from putting the letters "AOL" on all of its products. See story

*Rumors of the potential of a new K Street powerhouse were sparked by former senator John Breaux's announcement that he is leaving Patton Boggs to form his own lobbying shop. Breaux is a longtime friend of retiring Sen. Trent Lott. See story.

*Residents have a chance to weigh in on what a project for the Port Towns -- Colmar Manor, Cottage City, Bladensburg and Edmonston -- in Prince George's County will look like. See story

*Penn National Gaming pulled out of a deal to buy Rosecroft Raceway in Prince George's because of legislation on slot machine gambling. See story.

*Dominion Resources has filed an application to build a third nuclear reactor at its North Anna Power Station in central Virginia, company executives said. See story.

*The military plans to delay its purchase of 11 warships under development by Lockheed Martin of Bethesda and General Dynamics of Falls Church. The Navy had planned to buy 32 of the new Littoral Combat Ships over the next five years but now will buy 21, according to an unpublished Nov. 19 directive from Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England that spells out changes in the Pentagon's fiscal 2009-2013 plan.

*Security firm Brink's of Richmond said it hired consulting firm Monitor Group to help it evaluate "strategic alternatives." See press release.

*Sallie Mae, the biggest U.S. educational lender, named Albert Lord, left, as executive chairman. Lord, board chairman of Sallie Mae since March 2005, "assumes principal executive management responsibility" for the company, Reston-based Sallie Mae said. C.E. Andrews, chief executive, will report to Lord, according to the statement.

*GTSI of Chantilly, which provides information technology equipment and services to government agencies, said it named Scott Friedlander president and chief operating officer effective Saturday. Friedlander, 47, will add operations and the information technology department to his current responsibilities as executive vice president of sales. See press release.

*Hanger Orthopedic Group of Bethesda, a provider of orthotic and prosthetic patient-care centers, said it bought three companies expected to add more than $3.5 million in net revenue per year. The company acquired Stagner Orthopedic Services, Specialized Prosthetic & Orthotic Technologies, and MHC Prosthetics, giving Hanger additional patient-care centers in Tennessee, Utah and Maryland, respectively. Financial terms were not disclosed. See press release.

By Terri Rupar  |  November 29, 2007; 5:00 AM ET  | Category:  Morning Brief
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