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Financial 411: Weekly Business Roundup

Friday, April 01, 2011

Unemployment Rate Falls to 8.8%

Joblessness hit a two year low in March. Employers added 216,000 positions last month, knocking the unemployment rate down to 8.8 percent. Economist Mark Zandi of Moody's Analytics said companies are starting to see growing profits, and that's what's fueling the job gains. "They understand they can't cut costs and cut jobs and still maintain their growth and profits and their stock price. They have to look for revenue opportunity and that means they've got to hire," he said.

Markets

The upbeat numbers out today from the Labor Department lifted stocks. The Dow closed up 57 points, at 12,377. For the week the index gained more than 150 points. The Nasdaq rose nine points, settling at 2,790. The S&P 500 added seven points, ending at 1,332.

Ford Beats GM in Sales

Ford sold more new vehicles than General Motors. With gas prices spiking, auto buyers snapped up fuel-efficient models such as the Fiesta subcompact and Explorer SUV. It's only the second time since 1998 that Ford beat its Detroit rival.  

Reviewing This Week's Business and Economic News

This week, the Federal Reserve obeyed a court order and released thousands of pages of documents showing just how much money it lent to banks in the frenzied fall of 2008. New York State passed a budget — on time. And the New York Stock exchange got another bidder, even after making a deal to be acquired by a German exchange. Greg David, director of the Business & Economics Reporting program at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, reviews this week's business and economics news.

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