Jobs report today likely to put unemployment at 10% or more
WASHINGTON — The unemployment rate hasn't topped 10 percent since June 1983, but it could officially return to that painful level soon — possibly as early as today, when the Labor Department issues its monthly jobs report.
Even as the economy shows signs of life, some employers are still cutting jobs, and many more are reluctant to hire after enduring the worst recession since the 1930s.
A return to 10 percent unemployment could pose political problems for President Obama, who pushed through an ambitious $787 billion stimulus package in February intended to "save or create" 3.5 million jobs by the end of 2010. The administration said earlier this month about 1 million jobs have been saved so far.
But Republicans charge the stimulus has been an expensive failure as a net total of about 3 million jobs have been lost since its passage.
CLUNKERS HANGOVER GIVES U.S. DEALERS A HEADACHE
DETROIT — U.S. auto sales fell sharply in September, enduring a tough hangover from this summer's buying spree driven by big discounts to consumers.
General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC posted the biggest slowdowns during the month, while Hyundai was the sole winner among big carmakers, reporting a 27 percent rise in sales from a year earlier.
The September slump for car and truck makers follows a heady summer. Automakers got a big lift in July and August from the government's Cash for Clunkers program, which spurred sales of nearly 700,000 new vehicles. The program's big discounts lured in many customers who otherwise would have waited until later in the year to walk into dealerships.
HOME-SALES CONTRACTS, CONSTRUCTION UP IN AUG.
WASHINGTON — Aspiring homebuyers rushed to take advantage of a tax credit for first-time owners that expires in November, driving up the number of signed sales contracts for the seventh straight month in August.
Construction spending also rose unexpectedly in August on the biggest jump in housing activity in nearly 16 years, another sign the real estate market is recovering from its four-year slump, data yesterday showed.
Sales and homebuilding are being fueled by a tax credit of up to $8,000, low mortgage rates and cheap foreclosures.
In some of the most hard-hit areas, like Phoenix and Las Vegas, there are bidding wars for deeply discounted properties.
COMCAST CONSIDERS NBC STAKE TO EXPAND LINEUP
PHILADELPHIA — Comcast Corp. might spend billions for a stake in NBC Universal, a deal that would transform America's largest cable TV provider into one of the most prominent owners of TV shows, movies and other programming as well.
General Electric Co., which owns 80 percent of NBC Universal, has been in talks with Comcast to unload part of the entertainment unit, people familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press yesterday. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the negotiations are still preliminary.
Originally these people said Comcast was negotiating a 20 percent to 50 percent stake in NBC Universal.