Princeton, N.J -- Consumer confidence in January waned in all income levels in the United States, a Gallup poll released Tuesday said.
At the start of January, one-in-three consumers polled rated economic conditions "excellent or good" and a smaller ratio -- one-in-four -- rated conditions "poor," the report said. By the end of January, those numbers had flipped with one-in-four rating the economy favorably and one-in-three rating it "poor."
Among lower-income Americans polled, a higher percentage saw the economy as doing poorly, the report said. But, as January wore on, more consumers in both low-income and high-income groups said the economy was in poor shape.
Early in the month, 33 percent of those making less than $24,000 a year rated economic conditions as poor, while 17 percent of those making $90,000 a year or more gave the economy the same assessment. By the end of January, the percentage climbed to 44 percent among the poorer group and to 24 percent, among the wealthier group.
Atlanta -- Drought in the U.S. Southeast could affect more than pool companies and landscapers, as economists said continued dry weather could hurt the region's economy.
The Southeast has been largely spared the nation's economic woes, economists said but the lack of rain is a serious concern, affecting pools, landscaping, tourism and agriculture. The problem could even affect electric rates, since the region's nuclear power plants rely on huge volumes of water to cool reactors, The Christian Science Monitor reported Monday.
The drought has choked $1 billion out of the region's landscaping businesses and a ban on filling pools could seriously affect Georgia's $150 million per year pool maintenance industry.
"It's too hot around here in the summer to go without a pool," Johnny Witt, a skateboarder who labeled summers in Georgia, "the stick season," said to the Monitor
Princeton, N.J. -- Americans' worries over the U.S. economy spiked just after the U.S. Federal Reserve cut interest rates on Jan. 22, a Gallup Poll released Friday said.
Although the interest rate was meant to stimulate the economy and boost confidence, in terms of consumer anxiety, "the exact opposite happened," the report said.
Before the Fed took emergency action, reducing interest rates by 3/4 of a point, 32 percent of Americans asked indicated they were worried about the economy with 9 percent indicating they were "very worried" and 23 percent saying they were "somewhat worried," a Gallup Poll said.
That figure was consistent through January 2007.
But, after the Fed cut interest rates, "consumers worried about money surged to a new high of 39 percent," the report said.
New York -- Recent Federal Reserve interest rate cuts are more about saving banks than saving the average U.S. citizen, a New York business analyst says.
"This is more about saving Wall Street than Main Street," Ken Goldstein, an economist at the Conference Board, said after the Fed cut short-term rates banks use for overnight loans to 3 percent on Wednesday.
The rate cut was the second in eight days. Since September 2007, the Fed has reduced the rate 2.25 points, from a previous rate of 5.25 percent.
The Fed stressed the banking mortgage crisis in its statement Wednesday, but also mentioned "households."
"Financial markets remain under considerable stress, and credit has tightened for some businesses and households," the statement said.
Washington -- U.S. Senate leaders lacked the votes Thursday to pass a $157 billion economic stimulus package and said they would accept a less ambitious plan, a report said.
The Senate Finance Committee had approved the larger package earlier in the day. It included significant differences from a measure approved Tuesday by the House of Representatives.
Senate Democratic leaders told The New York Times they could not get 60 votes for the $157 billion package. They said they hoped to be able to find enough votes for some important changes to the House plan when they vote on it, possibly Wednesday.
The House plan was worked out with the Bush administration but the Senate package included payments to 20 million low-income senior citizens and 250,000 disabled veterans, which the House version excludes.
Washington -- The U.S. Senate Finance Committee approved a $157 billion economic stimulus package that includes significant differences from a House-approved measure.
The Senate is to consider the $146 billion package the U.S. House of Representatives approved Tuesday, The Washington Post reported.
The House plan was worked out with the Bush administration but the Senate's package includes payments to 20 million low-income senior citizens and 250,000 disabled veterans, which the House version excludes.
The Senate's version raises the cap on individual eligibility from $75,000 to $150,000 and for couples from $150,000 to $300,000.
The House version could get checks in the mail in May. But, Finance Committee member, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said, "concern with timing must be weighed against the question of the quality of the House bill."
Washington -- Gross domestic product advanced at a seasonally adjusted rate of 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2007, the U.S. Commerce Department said Wednesday.
The report, which could be revised later, attributed the decline in GDP growth from the third quarter to the housing market slump, lethargic consumer spending, reduced factory inventories and a reduction in exports.
Advanced figures released by the Bureau of Statistical Analysis "reflect positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures, nonresidential structures, and state and local government spending," Commerce said. Exports, equipment and software expenditures also rose, but not at a sufficient rate to match third quarter growth.
Decreases were noted in private inventory investment and residential fixed investment.
Beijing -- China's economy, on its fifth straight year of double-digit growth, jumped 11.4 percent in 2007 from 2006, the largest increase in 13 years, statistics show.
The 2007 gross domestic product, driven by massive exports and big infrastructure investment, stood at $3.43 trillion, but the National Bureau of Statistics warned Thursday the risks of spiraling inflation and economic overheating also were on the rise, Xinhua reported.
In 2006, the GDP rose 11.1 percent from the previous year.
Xie Fuzhan, head of the bureau, credited his country and the Untied States for leading the current cycle of global growth but noted any U.S. recession would have a negative impact on world economy.
As an indication of that warning, China's GDP in the fourth quarter slowed to 11.2 percent from 11.5 percent in the third and 11.9 percent in the second quarter.
Washington -- The top economic forecaster for the U.S. Congress said Wednesday he believes the United States is entering a slow-growth period, but will avoid a recession.
Peter Orszag, Congressional Budget Office director, projects that a slowing economy will increase the deficit, predicted to rise to 1.5 percent of the gross domestic product in 2008 from 1.2 percent in 2007.
"Enactment of legislation to provide economic stimulus or additional funding for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan could further increase the deficit for this year," Orszag testified before the House Budget Committee.
The economy slowed last year, "and there are strong indications that it will slacken further in in 2008" because of problems in the housing and financial sectors and high energy prices, he said.
Princeton, N.J. -- Confidence in the U.S. economy is sagging among consumers, 30 percent of whom now rate the economy as "poor," a Gallop Poll released Tuesday indicates.
That number is up from 25 percent of consumers who considered the economy to be in poor shape in a poll conducted Jan. 4-6. That poll indicated a flush of confidence during the holiday season had already started to wane.
While lawmakers try to work out an economic stimulation package, a significant number of Americans said they feel the economy will worsen before it gets better. President George Bush announced a proposal to boost the economy with a $150 billion aid package Friday. However, the bulk of consumers surveyed, 82 percent, said the economy will continue to decline.
The poll, which indicates consumer expectations are at an historic low, was conducted Jan. 19-20, after Bush's announcement.
Washington -- President George Bush and congressional leaders Tuesday discussed how to find "common ground" for a stimulus package to boost the U.S. economy.
Flanked by party leaders from the House of Representatives and the Senate, Bush told reporters he believed "we can find common ground to get something done, (that's) big enough and effective enough" to boost an economy that's "inherently strong."
Edward Lazear, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, echoed the desire that "we want to get something together quickly."
Whatever form it takes, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said, "It's important that we have a stimulus package that is timely, that is temporary, and that is targeted."
Bush said he and congressional leaders were committed to quickly developing and enacting a stimulus package.
Washington -- The U.S. Federal Reserve cut the federal funds rate 3/4 point Monday in a bid to stem panic on Wall street.
The action brought the rate at which banks loan money to each other overnight down to 3 1/2 percent. It also lowered the discount rate 3/4 point to 4 percent.
The Federal Open Markets Committee said in a statement it took the step, "in view of a weakening of the economic outlook and increasing downside risks to growth."
Eight of the committee members including Chairman Ben S. Bernanke approved the new rate, while William Poole of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis was the sole member to oppose it. Poole said he did not believe the move was warranted before next week's FOMC regular meeting.
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