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Economy

  • US consumer prices unchanged in October
    U.S. consumer prices were unchanged in October as a fourth straight decline in gasoline costs helped to keep inflation at bay.
  • US unemployment aid applications fall to 291,000
    The number of people applying for U.S. unemployment benefits declined slightly last week, suggesting that job gains should remain solid.
  • G-20 leaders agree on $2 trillion boost to growth
    Under pressure to jolt the lethargic world economy back to life, leaders of G-20 nations on Sunday finalized a plan to boost global GDP by more than $2 trillion over five years. The fanfare, however, was overshadowed by tensions between Russian
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At a glance
Healthy hiring: A survey shows U.S. businesses added 198,000 jobs in February, according to data released Wednesday by payroll processor ADP. And January’s hiring figures were revised to show 215,000 net new jobs, 23,000 higher than the initial estimate.
No fear (yet): The gains indicate higher taxes and looming government spending cuts have yet to slow hiring. The ADP report also showed that small businesses have stepped up hiring after lagging behind larger companies for several years.
Friday report: The figures suggest that the government’s February jobs report, to be issued Friday, may come in above economists’ forecasts. Analysts expect that employers added 152,000 jobs and the unemployment rate dipped to 7.8 percent from 7.9 percent.

Fed’s economic survey finds growth, optimism

– Strong auto sales, better hiring and a continued housing recovery helped the economy grow throughout the country in January and February, according to a survey released Wednesday by the Federal Reserve.

The survey noted that 10 of the Fed’s 12 banking districts reported moderate or modest growth, while the Boston and Chicago districts reported slow growth.

Consumer spending increased in most regions, although spending growth slowed in many districts, and many of the gains were driven by auto sales. Many districts said consumers pulled back slightly after seeing taxes rise and gas prices increase. Some also expressed concerns about federal spending cuts that started March 1.

Housing markets showed more strength in nearly all parts of the country. Manufacturing grew modestly in most regions after struggling through most of 2012. And many districts reported improvement in individual jobs markets.

The report, called the Beige Book, provides anecdotal information on economic conditions through Feb. 22. The information will be discussed along with other economic data during the Fed’s next policy meeting March 19-20.

Analysts said the report was slightly more upbeat than the previous Fed survey, noting the modest rebound in manufacturing in the past two months.

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