Financial 411: Weekly Economic Roundup
Friday, January 21, 2011
Obama Talks Economics
President Barack Obama was in Schenectedy Friday to tour a General Electric steam turbine plant. The plant is a rarity in the U.S. manufacturing sector — it's expanding. The president recommitted himself to more of those kinds of results in the year to come.
"The past two years were about pulling our economy back from the brink," he said. "The next two years — our job now — is putting our economy into overdrive."
The president also created a job while he was there. He named General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt head of this Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.
Earnings Season Continues
General Electric posted a very respectable fourth quarter report. Earnings soared 52 percent on new equipment orders and lending.
But the last three months of 2010 were less kind to Bank of America, which posted a $1.6 billion loss.
Union Membership Drops
An unhappy milestone for organized labor: The U.S. government reports union membership has hit a new low. Only 11.9 percent of workers belonged to a union in 2010. That's down from 12.3 percent the previous year.
In trading today, the Dow added 49 points, ending the week at 11,872. The index gained almost 200 points since Monday morning. The S&P 500 also rose — just three points — settling at 1,283. But it was a different story for the Nasdaq, which declined 15 points, ending at 2,690.
This Week's Business and Economic News
America's biggest banks closed the books on 2010, Comcast's merger with NBC got federal approval, and businesses reaped a lot of green as Gang Green makes a strong run for the Super Bowl. Greg David, director of the Business & Economics Reporting Program at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, reviews this week's business and economic news.