WASHINGTON – There were less people out of work in January, dropping the unemployment rate to 8.3 percent, the lowest in nearly three years. The economy created 243,000 jobs last month, the most in nine months. Employers have added an average of 201,000 jobs per month in the past three months. More jobs and higher incomes should help consumers boost spending and increase economic growth.
PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. — Six more weeks of winter. But if it stays as mild as it has been in some parts of the country, the groundhog is off the hook. Pennsylvania's Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his lair to "see" his shadow this morning, in the process predicting six more weeks of winter. Of course it's all scripted. Phil's prediction is determined ahead of time by the Inner Circle, a group who dons top hats and tuxedos to host the event.
Birth Control Pill Recall
WASHINGTON — A packaging error has led to the recall of 1 million packets of birth control pills that could leave women with an inadequate dose of the hormone-based drugs and raise the risk that they will get pregnant accidentally.
TYLER -- Tyler Police have released a surveillance photo of the man suspected of robbing a woman of her purse and then knocking her to the ground. Officers responded to the East Texas Medical Center parking garage Sunday night where 63-year-old Shirley Steelman of Kilgore was walking to the entrance of the garage and was approached by the suspect. Police say the suspect who had a weapon stole the purse and knocked Steelman down and fled on foot. The victim suffered a broken arm during the aggravated robbery. The vicitm's purse was recovered by police a few blocks from the garage. The suspect was last seen running east bound from ETMC. The investigation continues at this time.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. economy grew at a modest 2.8 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter of last year. The Commerce Department says Americans spent more on cars and trucks, and companies built up stockpiles. Consumer spending was up from October through December of 2011, it grew at a 2 percent annual rate, that’s up modestly from the third quarter. But growth was held back by the biggest annual government spending cuts in four decades. For the full year, the economy grew just 1.7 percent, about half as much as 2010.
LOS ANGELES — A private research firm is reporting that foreclosures were a smaller share of all U.S. homes sold in last year's third quarter. RealtyTrac cites delays by banks in putting properties on sale and slower home sales. Even with the decline, foreclosures still made up 20 percent of total homes sold in the July through September period.
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama says he wants to close the gap between rich and poor. In his State of the Union address Tuesday night, Obama proposed refinancing at lower interest rates on some mortgages, forcing colleges to keep tuition down and higher taxes for the wealthy. In the GOP response, Gov. Mitch Daniels says Obama has resorted to "extremism" to divide Americans. Today the President will set off on a three-day tour of politically crucial states, with his first stop in Iowa, where he will visit a conveyor belt plant.
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama's State of the Union address tonight includes an appeal for the middle class. President Obama will make an argument for economic fairness for the middle class and say he is the one to deliver it. He is also expected to urge higher taxes on the wealthy, propose ways to make college more affordable and offer new steps to tackle the housing crisis. The address before Congress is 8 p.m. tonight.
If you have been receiving unemployment benefits, you could be in for a big surprise when you start filing your taxes. Bob Meighan, vice president at Turbo Tax, says unless filers asked that federal taxes be withheld from their jobless benefits, they will owe taxes on the income. On the upside, Meighan reminds the unemployed they might be eligible for tax breaks they didn’t get before, such as the earned income credit.
WASHINGTON (AP) - A senior U.S. defense official says all six reported killed in the crash of a U.S. helicopter in Afghanistan were U.S. Marines. The helicopter crashed Thursday in Afghanistan's southern province of Helmand.The defense official who said all six were Marines spoke on condition of anonymity because the U.S. command in Afghanistan had not yet publicly released details, including the nationalities of the dead. The official says there is no indication that the helicopter was hit by enemy fire.
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Just two days before the South Carolina primary, Rick Perry is dropping out of the race and endorsing Newt Gingrich. He says Gingrich "is not perfect," but adds, "who among us is?" He says Gingrich is a "conservative visionary" who is best suited to replace Barack Obama. Gingrich has been trying to unite conservatives around his candidacy in advance of Saturday's primary. He's urging Perry's supporters to take a look at his record.
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