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Economy

CHICAGO (AP) — Fast food workers say they’re prepared to escalate their campaign for higher wages and union representation, starting with a national convention in suburban Chicago over the weekend where more than 1,000 workers gathered to discuss the future of the effort that has spread to dozens of cities in less than two years. read more »

 

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The risk of losing your job is getting smaller and smaller.

As the U.S. economy has improved and employers have regained confidence, companies have been steadily shedding fewer workers. Which is why applications for unemployment benefits have dwindled to their lowest level since February 2006 — nearly two years before the Great Recession began — the government said Thursday. read more »

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — Would-be home sellers across the country are grappling with a once-in-a-lifetime problem: They have mortgage rates so absurdly low it would hurt them financially to sell.

Doing so would mean giving up an irresistible rate in exchange for a new mortgage carrying a rate up to a percentage point higher. Their monthly payments would be larger even for a house of the same price. That’s discouraging some people from selling, thereby limiting the supply of available homes and contributing to slower home sales. read more »

 

A state-sponsored survey of Washington employers shows both hiring and job vacancies increased between fall 2012 and fall 2013 — and employers say it’s taking a lot longer to fill the openings.

The Employment Security Department’s 2013 Fall Job-Vacancy and Hiring Survey Report estimated job vacancies in Washington increased by 23 percent, from about 70,400 in fall 2012 to 86,600 in fall 2013. Estimated hiring rose nearly 10 percent from nearly 190,200 in 2012 to nearly 209,100 in 2013. read more »

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Great Recession and the slow recovery have sharply widened the gap between the wealthiest Americans and everyone else, according to a study that underscores the unevenness of wealth gains since the recession ended.

The richest 5 percent had 24 times the wealth of the median household in 2013 — up substantially from 16.5 times as much in 2007, according to a study by University of Michigan researchers. read more »

 

NEW YORK (AP) — Nearly 2 million people around the world became millionaires last year, a year-over-year increase of 15 percent, as surging stock and home markets lifted the fortunes of the wealthy. The increase raised the number of millionaires to a record 13.7 million.

A report from consultant Capgemini and the Royal Bank of Canada estimated the combined net worth of millionaires at $53 trillion in 2013. That was up 14 percent from the year earlier — the second-biggest increase since the two companies began issuing wealth reports with comparable data in 2000. read more »

 

 

DAVID KLEPPER and BLAKE DAVIS, Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Dominique Mayfield makes $8.25 an hour washing dishes and busing tables at a Syracuse brewpub. Shantel Walker makes $8.50 an hour at her pizzeria in New York City, where the rent is more than double what it is in Syracuse. Two very different cities, but nearly the same wage. read more »

 
Companies get creative to transform buildings in wake of retail vacancies

The exterior of the Harrison office building, which used to be a Michaels craft store.When Harrison Medical Center wanted to relocate its support services such as human resources and payroll from its cramped Bremerton campus, the organization made an unusual choice. Instead of breaking ground on new construction or leasing existing office space, the hospital system redesigned a building formerly used as a go-cart track and Michael’s craft store.  read more »

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — For the first time since 1999, American employers have added more than 200,000 jobs a month for four straight months, offering more evidence that the U.S. economy is steadily growing while much of Europe and Asia struggle.

Last month’s gain of 217,000 jobs means the economy has finally recovered all the jobs lost to the Great Recession. And it coincides with indications that American consumers have grown more confident. Auto sales have surged. Manufacturers and service companies are expanding. read more »

 
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