economy

Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, used to have a habit of describing the American people in two categories. There were the "makers" — people paying taxes — and the "takers" — people getting government benefits.

Today, the Wisconsin Republican says he was wrong, and that the country needs to overhaul how it thinks about poverty. In his new book, The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea, he offers ways to redirect federal spending to fighting poverty.

Notebooks And Pencils And Pens, Cha-Ching!

Aug 21, 2014

Millions of families are heading to Target or Wal-Mart this month to make sure their kids have what they need for the first day of school. And, as many parents know, those glue sticks and gym clothes can really add up.

CBIA

Recent jobs numbers from the Connecticut Department of Labor showed some areas of the state recovering much better than others.

Late last week, the state released figures for July job gains, the sixth straight month in which Connecticut employers have been hiring. The state overall gained a net 2,400 jobs in the month.

Connecticut's Labor Department says the state added jobs for a sixth straight month in July, dropping the unemployment rate to 6.6 percent.

Shoppers in Massachusetts can look forward to a sales tax holiday later this month. The Massachusetts legislature in the closing minutes of the legislative session last week set the sales tax-free shopping days for August 16 and 17.

The sales tax holiday was included in a comprehensive economic development bill that contains dozens of programs and incentives designed to create jobs. State  Senator Gale Candaras  of  Wilbraham, who helped write the bill, acknowledges there is scant evidence the sales tax holiday does much to grow the Massachusetts economy.

Sales incentives helped U.S. auto sales rise in July, as major auto companies reported selling more than 120,000 more vehicles than the same month last year. GM retained its spot as the U.S. sales leader.

Sales of passenger cars rose by nearly 5 percent this July compared to last year, with sales of light trucks even higher, at 13.4 percent, according to data released Friday by research firm Autodata Corp.

GM sold 256,160 vehicles last month, beating Toyota's 215,802 and Ford's 211,467.

The nation's unemployment rate moved up a bit in the month of July, to 6.2 percent, as more Americans who'd been sitting on the sidelines started looking for work, according to the latest monthly report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nonfarm payrolls increased by 209,000 jobs, a bit less than economists had expected.

monkeybusinessimages/iStock / Thinkstock

Manufacturers are increasingly bullish about the state of the economy, according to a new survey.

Uma Ramiah / WNPR

Ratings agency Fitch has maintained Connecticut's debt rating outlook at negative, saying the state's budget relies on one-time fixes, and calling the economic recovery "slow and uneven."

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration is under fire for signing off on a building plan that allows a new luxury high-rise on Manhattan's western edge to have a separate entrance for low-income residents.

About 20 percent of the units in the 33-story tower will be reserved for low- and middle-income residents. But all the affordable units will be grouped in one area, and those tenants will have to enter through a separate door.

The 93rd annual Santa Fe Indian Market is only a month away. It's the biggest and best-known destination for Native artists and Native art collectors on the planet, and this year, it's got competition — a new event called the Indigenous Fine Arts Market.

Native American art and culture is big business. If you don't believe that, look no further than the controversial or illegal sides of the market. If you've been paying attention over the last year, you've seen some lurid and fascinating headlines:

Chion Wolf / WNPR

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy hopes for a strong vote in the Senate this week on the Bring Jobs Home Act. The bill would take away the ability for businesses to get a tax break for sending jobs overseas, and instead incentivizes companies to bring jobs back to the United States.

City of Hartford

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra needs to buy two acres of vacant land to help make his plan for a minor league baseball stadium a reality. That land, however, has a complicated history. 

New data released by the Department of Labor shows that raising the minimum wage in some states does not appear to have had a negative impact on job growth, contrary to what critics said would happen.

In a report on Friday, the 13 states that raised their minimum wages on Jan. 1 have added jobs at a faster pace than those that did not. The data run counter to a Congressional Budget Office report in February that said raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, as the White House supports, could cost as many as 500,000 jobs.

A large layoff is under way at Microsoft, as the technology company says it will cut 13,000 jobs in the next six months. All but 500 of the layoffs are related to the Nokia phone division the company acquired in April. Microsoft says it might shed as many as 18,000 jobs as it restructures itself.

The company says it will complete most of the layoffs by the end of this year, and complete the restructuring by next June.

President Obama outlined a new package of sanctions against Russian firms and individuals on Wednesday.

"These sanctions are significant but also targeted," Obama said. "Russia will see that its actions in Ukraine have consequences."

The administration targeted large banks, as well as energy and defense firms. The sanctions stopped short of covering entire sectors of the Russian economy.

Obama said they were designed to inflict pain on Russia without harming U.S. companies or the nation's allies.

James Vaughan / Creative Commons

Connecticut is fully engulfed in campaign ad season and candidates are already spending big money to get the message out to voters. What's the message? "Like me! The other guy, not so much." On our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse, Colin McEnroe guest hosts a conversation with a panel of reporters and political analysts to catch you up on the week’s news.

Citigroup said Monday it had agreed to pay $7 billion to settle a federal investigation into subprime mortgages it sold in the run-up to the financial meltdown of 2008.

The deal covers mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations issued, structured or underwritten by Citi between 2003 and 2008, the company said in a statement on its website.

A recent study saw Connecticut drop once again in the ranking of business-friendly states. According to CNBC, we’re now among the bottom five states in the nation in terms of our business climate.

There is a view out there, however, that things may not be so bad after all.

City of Hartford

Developers who want to build a minor league baseball stadium and other surrounding buildings in the capital city aren't going to have a relaxing July.

Mark Fischer / Creative Commons

It looks like the world'’s largest hedge fund won'’t build a new headquarters in Stamford…. What does that say about the state'’s economic development plans? A charter school organization faces investigations of its finances and operations. What does it say about the school reform movement? We’'ll look at those stories, plus the Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate, and whether the employer-based insurance model makes sense today.

DBen / Wikimedia Commons

Fairfield County had the highest proportion of employment provided by foreign-owned companies of any metro region in the country. The figures came in a new study on the impact of overseas investment in the U.S.

Contributed Photo / Connecticut Department of Transporation

Highway tolls are again being discussed in Connecticut as part of an 18-month study conducted by the state Department of Transportation. It's got road planners asking an interesting question, can one type of toll actually reduce traffic?

Tracy O / Creative Commons

Connecticut's economy is showing positive growth, but it's very modest, according to newly-revised figures from the federal government.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Hartford’s “done deal” on minor league baseball once again has our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse thinking about the process behind government decisions. The plan to bring the New Britain Rock Cats' franchise to town was months in the making behind closed doors. 

We also check in on East Haven where a racial discrimination settlement was reached, closing another chapter in the painful history of the town. A very old bridge is creating new problems for Metro-North commuters down the shoreline too and officials are pointing fingers.

Polish magazine "Znak" / Creative Commons

This week's big anniversaries of the Normandy Beach invasion 70 years ago, and the crackdown in Tiananmen Square 25 years ago have taken away from another important milestone: the 25th anniversary of Polish freedom from Communist rule. 

President Obama marked the anniversary in a speech, but the real reason for his visit was to highlight the success of Poland in the last quarter-century, while vowing NATO support for Ukraine in its struggle for independence from Russian influence. 

Governor Dannel Malloy commemorated passage of  a new law strengthening sexual assault prevention and response on college campuses. He held a ceremony today at the offices of the Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services in East Hartford.

Municipalities Awarded Grants 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Promises, promises -- all politicians make them, but they don't always keep them. Just last month, Gov. Dan Malloy canceled the $55 tax rebate he’d promised residents earlier this year. 

White House

Former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will give a lecture series at Yale this fall, based on his experiences during the financial crash.

A new U.S. government report released Tuesday finds that climate change is already having a broad impact on both weather and the economy.

NPR's Elizabeth Shogren tells our Newscast unit the third National Climate Assessment is the most comprehensive look at climate change that the government has ever produced. It was put together by more than 300 experts "guided by a 60-member Federal Advisory Committee."

She filed this report for our Newscast unit:

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