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Editorial Results (free)

1. Fed Survey: Growth Picks Up Across Most of US -

WASHINGTON (AP) – A Federal Reserve survey shows economic growth picking up across most of the United States over the past two months as bitter winter weather subsided.

Ten of the Fed's 12 regions reported an increase in economic activity, according to the Beige Book survey released Wednesday. In most places, the Fed described the improvement as "modest or moderate." Only Cleveland and St. Louis reported slower growth.

2. Yellen: Fed Stimulus Still Needed for Job Market -

NEW YORK (AP) – Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Wednesday that the U.S. job market still needs help from the Fed and that the central bank must remain intent on adjusting its policy to respond to unforeseen challenges.

3. February Has Stock Market ‘Reboot’ -

Frustrating. A word often used to describe computers, smartphones, tablets and, quite often, the stock market.

Sometimes we can press the exact same button on our computer as we did the day before and something completely different pops up on our screen. What do we do? Do we call the IT person or reboot?

4. Yellen Signals More Aggressive Stance Toward Banks -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Federal Reserve may be about to turn more aggressive in its regulation of the financial system.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen suggested Tuesday that current regulatory rules might not be enough to prevent the kind of risk-taking that triggered the 2008 financial crisis and nearly toppled the entire banking system.

5. US Retail Sales Up Strong 1.1 Percent in March -

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. retail sales in March rose by the largest amount in 18 months, led by strong gains in sales of autos, furniture and a number of other products.

The 1.1 percent jump reported by the Commerce Department on Monday was the best showing since September 2012. The government also revised February to a 0.7 percent gain, more than double its previous estimate.

6. Average US 30-Year Mortgage Rate Down to 4.34 Percent -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages declined this week, edging closer to historically low levels as the spring home-buying season begins.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate for the 30-year loan fell to 4.34 percent from 4.41 percent last week. The average for the 15-year mortgage eased to 3.38 percent from 3.47 percent.

7. Minutes Show Fed Struggled to Agree on Rate Policy -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Federal Reserve struggled last month over how to convey to investors that it will raise short-term interest rates only slowly once it increases them from record lows.

8. US Consumer Borrowing Up $16.5 Billion in February -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Consumers increased their borrowing in February on autos and student loans by the largest amount in a year. But for a second straight month, they cut back on their credit card use.

9. Market Mystery -

Over the last several years, investors ranging from mom-and-pop shops to large hedge funds have been acquiring single-family homes in Memphis at a historic pace.

But determining the long-term impact that investor purchases have made on neighborhoods remains elusive.

10. Yellen: Job Market Needs Low Rates 'For Some Time' -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen made clear Monday that she thinks the still-subpar U.S. job market will continue to need the help of low interest rates "for some time."

11. US Consumer Spending Up Modest 0.3 Percent -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Americans barely increased their spending in February following a weak January performance, strong evidence that the severe winter will hold back the economy in the first quarter.

12. US Economic Growth for 4th Quarter Revised Higher -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The U.S. economy grew at a 2.6 percent annual rate in the October-December quarter, slightly more than previously estimated, as consumer spending rose at the fastest pace in three years.

13. Consumer Confidence Rebounds in Sign of Optimism -

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. consumer confidence has rebounded to the highest reading in six years, providing a further sign that the economy's prospects should brighten with warmer weather.

14. Survey: Economists See US Growth Pickup This Year -

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) — With the pace of U.S. economic growth seen speeding up later this year and next, many business economists expect the Federal Reserve to end its bond purchases this fall or even earlier.

15. Appeals Court Upholds Cap on ‘Swipe’ Fees -

A federal appeals court has handed a defeat to a coalition of retail groups that challenged as too high the Federal Reserve’s cap on how much banks can charge businesses for handling debit card transactions.

16. Federal Reserve Report On Memphis Area Issued -

A Federal Reserve report shows economic conditions in the housing sector in the Memphis area are healthy, but the employment market can do better.

The Federal Reserve in St. Louis released its quarterly Burgundy Books last week, examining economic conditions St. Louis, Little Rock, Louisville and Memphis. The Memphis zone includes northern Mississippi, eastern Arkansas, and western Tennessee, with a population of about 3.1 million people

17. US Factory Output Rebounds in February -

U.S. factory output rebounded strongly in February after harsh winter storms caused a steep drop-off in production in January. Manufacturers produced more autos, home electronics and chemicals.

The Federal Reserve said Monday that factory production surged 0.8 percent, nearly reversing a 0.9 percent plunge in January that was due mainly to weather. February’s gain was the largest in six months.

18. Average 30-Year Mortgage Falls to 4.32 Percent -

Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages declined last week, edging closer to historically low levels.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate for the 30-year loan fell to 4.32 percent from 4.37 percent last week. The average for the 15-year mortgage eased to 3.32 percent from 3.38 percent.

19. Nearly All Major US Banks Pass Fed 'Stress Tests' -

WASHINGTON (AP) – All but one of the nation's 30 largest banks are better able to withstand a severe U.S. recession and global downturn than at any time since the financial crisis, the Federal Reserve has determined.

20. Average 30-Year Mortgage Falls to 4.32 Percent -

Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages declined last week, edging closer to historically low levels.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate for the 30-year loan fell to 4.32 percent from 4.37 percent last week. The average for the 15-year mortgage eased to 3.32 percent from 3.38 percent.

21. Yellen: US 'Not Close to Full Employment' -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen says the U.S. economy is "not close to full employment," even as the unemployment rate has dropped a full percentage point over the past 12 months to 6.7 percent.

22. Fed Foresees Slightly Slower but Steady Growth -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal Reserve officials expect the U.S. economy to grow at a slightly slower but steady pace in 2014.

The Fed on Wednesday projected growth of 2.8 percent to 3 percent this year, a bit lower than its December projection of between 2.8 percent and 3.2 percent.

23. Fed Clarifies Guidance on Short-Term Rates -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Federal Reserve sought Wednesday to clarify a question that investors have been trying to determine: When it might start to raise short-term interest rates from record lows.

24. US Consumer Prices Tick Up Just 0.1 Percent -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Cheaper energy kept U.S. consumer prices in check last month, despite a big rise in the cost of food, the latest sign that inflation is tame.

The consumer price index rose 0.1 percent in February, matching January's increase, the Labor Department said Tuesday. In the past 12 months, prices have risen just 1.1 percent, down from 1.6 percent in January and the smallest yearly gain in five months.

25. Yellen to Put Fed's New Leadership on Display -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Janet Yellen era at the Federal Reserve begins in earnest this week with a two-day meeting, a policy statement and fresh economic forecasts. Yet all that will be a prelude to the marquee event: Yellen's first news conference as Fed chair.

26. US Factory Output Rebounds in February -

U.S. factory output rebounded strongly in February after harsh winter storms caused a steep drop-off in production in January. Manufacturers produced more autos, home electronics and chemicals.

The Federal Reserve said Monday that factory production surged 0.8 percent, nearly reversing a 0.9 percent plunge in January that was due mainly to weather. February's gain was the largest in six months.

27. Federal Reserve Report On Memphis Area Issued -

A Federal Reserve report shows economic conditions in the housing sector in the Memphis area are healthy, but the employment market can do better.

The Federal Reserve in St. Louis released its quarterly Burgundy Books last week, examining economic conditions St. Louis, Little Rock, Louisville and Memphis.

28. 30-Year Mortgage Rate Up to 4.37 Percent -

Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages rose last week but remained close to historically low levels.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate for the 30-year loan increased to 4.37 percent from 4.28 percent last week. The average for the 15-year mortgage rose to 3.38 percent from 3.32 percent.

29. 30-Year Mortgage Rate Up to 4.37 Percent -

Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages rose last week but remained close to historically low levels.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate for the 30-year loan increased to 4.37 percent from 4.28 percent last week. The average for the 15-year mortgage rose to 3.38 percent from 3.32 percent.

30. Rardin Takes Trial Advocacy Training to Liberia -

Assistant Shelby County District Attorney General Kevin Rardin is leaving for Liberia next month for a week of trial advocacy training in the African nation.

For Rardin it is his latest venture in parts of the world with different criminal justice systems or systems that are just forming.

31. US Employers Posted More Open Jobs in January -

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. employers advertised slightly more jobs in January than in December, a sign that hiring should remain steady in coming months.

The Labor Department said Tuesday that employers posted 3.9 million job openings, up 1.5 percent from December. That is still below November's nearly six-year high of 4.1 million, the first month that openings topped 4 million since March 2008.

32. Examining Numbers From Data Week -

The first week of the month always produces a torrent of economic data that is capped off by the Friday employment report from the Department of Labor. Here is a summary of the more relevant data releases from last week:

33. Obama Economists: Rosier Picture if Budget Passed -

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama's top economists say the nation is on track to make economic progress over the next two years, but say it would do even better if Congress would enact the additional spending he proposed in his most recent budget. A divided Congress in an election year is not likely to heed that call.

34. US Consumer Borrowing Up $13.7 Billion in January -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Consumers increased their borrowing in January on autos and student loans but cut back on their credit card use.

Consumer borrowing rose $13.7 billion in January following an even larger $15.9 billion rise in December, the Federal Reserve reported Friday.

35. Blast of Winter Weather Can't Faze US Employers -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Brutal winter weather snarled traffic, canceled flights and cut power to homes and factories in February. Yet it didn't faze U.S. employers, who added 175,000 jobs, far more than the two previous months.

36. Average US 30-Year Mortgage Rate Slips to 4.28 Percent -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages fell after three weeks of increases, edging closer to historically low levels.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate for the 30-year loan declined to 4.28 percent from 4.37 percent last week. The average for the 15-year mortgage fell to 3.32 percent from 3.39 percent.

37. Collierville Schools Prepares for Parent ‘Angst’ -

UPDATE: In a special meeting Friday, March 7, the Germantown Municipal Schools board voted 3-0 to rescind its tuition requirement for open enrollment of students living outside Germantown.

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38. Collierville Approves No Tuition Open Enrollment Policy For In-County Transfers -

Collierville Schools board members voted Tuesday, March 4, to approve an open enrollment policy that would open enrollment in their schools to children outside the town limits but within Shelby County on a space available basis at no charge.

39. US Manufacturing Boosted by Orders and Stockpiles -

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. manufacturing expanded more quickly last month as companies received more orders and boosted their stockpiles.

A measure of production fell to its lowest level in nearly five years, likely a casualty of severe winter weather. But the rise in orders raises the possibility that factory output will rebound in coming months, economists said.

40. Estimated Q4 Economic Growth Rate Cut to 2.4 Percent -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The U.S. economy grew at a 2.4 percent annual rate last quarter, sharply less than first thought, in part because consumers didn't spend as much as initially estimated.

41. Hopes Up for Sunnier US Economy Once Winter Fades -

WASHINGTON (AP) – When the weather warms up, so, too, will the U.S. economy.

That, at least, is the prevailing view of economists, who shrugged off a government report Friday that the economy was weaker last quarter than first thought.

42. Fed: Memphis Banks Improved in 2013 -

Memphis banks ended 2013 in somewhat better shape collectively than they stood at the end of 2012, based on new numbers from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

43. Paragon Wants Switch to State Charter -

Paragon National Bank has taken the initial steps toward switching from being a nationally chartered bank to one with a state charter.

44. 30-Year Mortgage Rate Up to 4.37 Percent -

Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages rose for a third straight week as new data showed a surprisingly strong pace of new-home sales last month. Rates still remain near historically low levels.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate for the 30-year loan increased to 4.37 percent from 4.33 percent last week. The average for the 15-year mortgage rose to 3.39 percent from 3.35 percent.

45. Yellen: Fed Monitoring Recent Weaker Economic Data -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen noted Thursday that recent economic data have pointed to weaker-than-expected gains in consumer spending and job growth. She said the Fed will be watching to see whether the slowdown proves only a temporary blip caused by severe winter weather.

46. 30-Year Mortgage Rate Up to 4.37 Percent -

Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages rose for a third straight week as new data showed a surprisingly strong pace of new-home sales last month. Rates still remain near historically low levels.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate for the 30-year loan increased to 4.37 percent from 4.33 percent last week. The average for the 15-year mortgage rose to 3.39 percent from 3.35 percent.

47. Goldsworthy: Germantown, Collierville Discuss Schools Contract -

Germantown Mayor Sharon Goldsworthy says Germantown and Collierville schools leaders are discussing a contract to allow Collierville students to continue attending the Germantown district’s Houston High in the new academic year.

48. Paragon Wants to Switch to State Charter -

Paragon National Bank has taken the initial steps toward switching from being a nationally chartered bank to one with a state charter.

49. Economists Divided on Timing of Fed Pullback -

Business economists are almost equally divided over whether the Federal Reserve will pare its bond purchases at the current pace through year's end or pause to let the economy recover further.

The views were unveiled Monday by the National Association for Business Economics. The NABE conducted its twice-a-year survey of 230 members between Jan. 30 and Feb. 6, before Janet Yellen's first appearance before Congress as Fed chair.

50. Transcripts Show Fed at Times Slow to Grasp Crisis -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Federal Reserve agonized in 2008 over how far to go to stop a financial crisis that threatened to cause a recession and at times struggled to recognize its speed and magnitude.

51. Cold Weather Causes Factory Output to Drop -

Harsh winter weather led to a steep drop in U.S. factory output in January. Manufacturers made fewer cars and trucks, appliances, furniture and carpeting, as the recent cold spell ended five straight months of increased production.

52. Average 30-Year US Mortgage Rate Up to 4.33 Percent -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages rose this week but remained near historically low levels.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate for the 30-year loan increased to 4.33 percent from 4.28 percent last week. The average for the 15-year mortgage edged up to 3.35 percent from 3.33 percent.

53. US Consumer Prices Rose 0.1 Percent Last Month -

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. consumer prices barely rose last month as a sharp increase in energy costs was offset by cheaper clothing, cars and air fares. The figures indicate inflation remains mild.

54. US Housing Construction Down 16 Percent in January -

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. home construction fell in January for a second month but the weakness in both months reflected severe winter weather in many parts of the country. The expectation is that housing will deliver another year of solid gains, helped by an improving economy.

55. Fed Minutes Point to Continued Paring of Stimulus -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal Reserve officials agreed at their January meeting that further gradual reductions in their stimulus would be appropriate as long as the economy keeps improving.

56. Cold Weather Causes Factory Output to Drop -

WASHINGTON (AP) — Harsh winter weather led to a steep drop in U.S. factory output in January. Manufacturers made fewer cars and trucks, appliances, furniture and carpeting, as the recent cold spell ended five straight months of increased production

57. Yellen Debuts as Fed Chair -

For the first time since 2006, someone not named Ben Bernanke testified before the House Financial Services Committee as Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Dr. Janet Yellen officially assumed the post on Feb. 3.

58. Energy Company to Invest $260 Million in Shelby County -

A Houston-based wind energy firm is considering a $259.8 million investment in energy transfer infrastructure in Shelby County.

Clean Line Energy plans on building a 700-mile-long transmission system to deliver around 3,500 megawatts of wind power – enough energy to power around 1 million homes – generated in the Oklahoma panhandle to the Mid-South and the Southeast. The wind power generated in Oklahoma would be sent to the Tennessee Valley Authority system, which supplies Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division and dozens of other utilities.

59. Cold Weather Causes Factory Output to Drop -

Harsh winter weather led to a steep drop in U.S. factory output in January. Manufacturers made fewer cars and trucks, appliances, furniture and carpeting, as the recent cold spell ended five straight months of increased production

60. 30-Year Mortgage Rate Averaging 4.28 Percent -

The average U.S. rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage edged up this week to 4.28 percent from 4.23 percent but remains near historically low levels after declining during the five previous weeks.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average for the 15-year loan was unchanged at 3.33 percent.

61. 30-Year Mortgage Rate Averaging 4.28 Percent -

The average U.S. rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage edged up this week to 4.28 percent from 4.23 percent but remains near historically low levels after declining during the five previous weeks.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average for the 15-year loan was unchanged at 3.33 percent.

62. Yellen to Investors: Expect Continuity at the Fed -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen sought Tuesday to reassure investors that she will embrace the approach to interest-rate policy that her predecessor, Ben Bernanke, pursued before he stepped down as chairman last month.

63. Muddling Through the Muddling Through -

Last week’s December jobs number was billed as an economic tiebreaker after a string of mixed data. The release depicted a softening employment environment. The U.S. economy created 113,000 jobs in January against expectations of 185,000. Over the trailing three months, the economy has added an average of about 150,000 new jobs per month versus 200,000 per month reached last summer/fall. With the jobs market downshifting, can the Fed do more?

64. Fears of Slowdown Sharpen Focus on US Jobs Report -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Fears of an economic slowdown are heightening anticipation of what Friday's U.S. jobs report for January might reveal.

Stock markets have sunk after signs of weaker growth in the United States, Europe and China. Turmoil in developing countries has further spooked investors. The upheaval has renewed doubts about the Federal Reserve's next steps.

65. Survey: US Companies Add 175,000 Jobs in January -

WASHINGTON (AP) – A private survey shows that businesses added jobs at a modest pace in January, a sign that hiring may have rebounded after a disappointing figure in December.

Payroll processor ADP said Wednesday that companies added 175,000 jobs last month. That's down from 227,000 in December, which was revised lower. But it was much better than the government's official figure of just 74,000 new jobs in December.

66. 10 Things to Know About Haslam's $32.6 Billion Budget -

NASHVILLE (AP) – Here's 10 items you should know about Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam's $32.6 billion spending proposal for the budget year beginning in July:

DRIVE TO 55: The governor is proposing to waive tuition to two-year colleges in the state as part of his "Drive to 55" campaign to increase higher education graduation rates from the current 32 percent to 55 percent by 2025. The program would be paid for through an endowment created with lottery reserve money. He has also earmarked $15 million in new spending toward the effort.

67. Understanding 2014 -

Last week, the government released GDP statistics for the fourth quarter of 2013. Overall, the economy expanded at a 3.2 percent clip (above estimates). For the full year, the economy grew a less impressive 1.9 percent, but momentum was clearly built into the back half of the year. Expectations for 3 percent annual growth in 2014 remain intact.

68. US Factories Expanded at Much Slower Pace in January -

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. manufacturing barely expanded last month as cold weather delayed shipments of raw materials and caused some factories to shut down.

The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, said Monday that its index of manufacturing activity fell to 51.3 in January from 56.5 in December. It was the lowest reading since May, though any reading above 50 signals growth. Manufacturers said export orders grew at a healthy pace but slightly less than in the previous month.

69. Yellen Sworn In as Fed Chair -

Janet Yellen was sworn in Monday to succeed Ben Bernanke, becoming the first woman to lead the Federal Reserve in its 100-year history.

Yellen, who was confirmed by the Senate last month, was sworn in by Fed Governor Daniel Tarullo, the senior member of the Fed’s seven-member board.

70. US Consumer Spending Up 0.4 Percent in December -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Americans increased their spending at a solid pace for the second straight month in December even though their income was flat.

Consumer spending rose 0.4 percent in December, compared with November when spending had increased an even stronger 0.6 percent, the Commerce Department reported Friday. That was the best gain in five months.

71. Survey: Businesses More Optimistic -

Businesses expect their companies to perform better this year but that optimism still isn’t translating into a push to hire more workers, according to a new survey from the National Association for Business Economics.

72. Average US Rate on 30-Year Loan at 4.32 Percent -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Average U.S. rates for fixed mortgages slipped this week as new data showed a decline in home prices in November and a drop in new homes sales last month.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average for the 30-year loan fell to 4.32 percent from 4.39 percent last week. The average for the 15-year loan eased to 3.40 percent from 3.44 percent.

73. Fewer Signed Contracts to Buy US Homes in December -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Fewer Americans signed contracts to buy previously occupied homes in December, suggesting a slowdown in real estate. Pending home sales fell to the lowest point since October 2011.

74. US Economy Grew at 3.2 Percent Rate in Q4 -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The U.S. economy grew at a 3.2 percent annual rate in the October-December quarter on the strength of the strongest consumer spending in three years, an encouraging sign for 2014.

75. Fed to Reduce Pace of Bond Buying by Another $10 Billion -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Federal Reserve is pushing ahead with a plan to shrink its bond-buying program because of a strengthening U.S. economy. It's doing so even though the prospect of reduced Fed stimulus and higher U.S. interest rates has rattled global markets.

76. US Durable Goods Orders Drop 4.3 Percent -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Businesses cut back sharply on their orders for long-lasting manufactured goods in December with a key category that signals business investment plans falling by the biggest amount in five months.

77. Survey: Businesses More Optimistic, But Not Hiring -

Businesses expect their companies to perform better this year but that optimism still isn't translating into a push to hire more workers, according to a new survey from the National Association for Business Economics.

78. US Sales of New Homes Drop 7 Percent in December -

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. sales of new homes fell in December for a second consecutive month but even with the pause at the end of the year, sales for all of 2013 climbed to the highest level in five years.

79. Despite Market Unrest, Fed Likely to Pare Stimulus -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Just as Ben Bernanke prepares to turn the chairmanship of the Federal Reserve over to Janet Yellen, global markets are on edge over the prospect that she'll extend a policy he began: a steady pullback in the Fed's extraordinary economic stimulus.

80. IMF Raises Outlook For Global, US Economies -

The International Monetary Fund is slightly more optimistic about the global and U.S. economies this year than it was three months ago.

In an updated outlook released Tuesday, the global lending organization forecasts that the world economy will grow 3.7 percent in 2014 and that the U.S. economy will grow 2.8 percent.

81. 30-Year Mortgage Rate Averaging 4.39 Percent -

Average U.S. rates for fixed mortgages changed little this week.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average for the 30-year loan declined to 4.39 percent from 4.41 percent last week. The average for the 15-year loan slipped to 3.44 percent from 3.45 percent.

82. 30-Year Mortgage Rate Averaging 4.39 Percent -

Average U.S. rates for fixed mortgages changed little this week.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average for the 30-year loan declined to 4.39 percent from 4.41 percent last week. The average for the 15-year loan slipped to 3.44 percent from 3.45 percent.

83. Consumer Spending Likely to Boost Growth in 2014 -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Hopes are rising that consumers will drive stronger growth in 2014 after they stepped up spending at the end of last year in the United States and Europe.

The outlook for spending is brightening even though growth is weakening in some large emerging economies and slowing the sales of consumer product giants such as Unilever and Procter & Gamble.

84. IMF Raises Outlook for Global, US Economies -

The International Monetary Fund is slightly more optimistic about the global and U.S. economies this year than it was three months ago.

In an updated outlook released Tuesday, the global lending organization forecasts that the world economy will grow 3.7 percent in 2014 and that the U.S. economy will grow 2.8 percent. The global forecast is 0.1 percentage point higher and the U.S. forecast 0.2 point higher than the IMF’s October forecast.

85. US Factory Output Rises for Fifth Straight Month -

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. factory output rose for a fifth straight month in December, as manufacturers cranked out more cars and trucks, appliances and processed food. The gains suggest factories gave economic growth a strong boost at the end of the year.

86. US Employers Advertise Most Jobs Since March 2008 -

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. employers advertised more jobs in November and more Americans quit, positive signs for millions who are unemployed and looking for work.

The Labor Department said Friday that job openings rose 1.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted 4 million, the most in 5 ½ years. And the number of people quitting increased 1.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted 2.4 million, a five-year high.

87. Fed: US Economic Growth Healthy Over Holidays -

WASHINGTON (AP) – A Federal Reserve survey shows economic growth remained healthy in most U.S. regions in late November and December, helped by gains in consumer spending and factory output.

88. US Wholesale Costs Rose Last Month on Gas Prices -

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. wholesale prices increased in December, pushed up by rising gasoline prices and energy costs. But overall inflation remained mild.

The Labor Department said Wednesday that the producer price index, which measures costs before they reach the consumer, rose 0.4 percent last month from November. That ends three straight months of falling wholesale prices.

89. Surprisingly Weak Jobs Report Puzzles Economists -

WASHINGTON (AP) – It came as a shock: U.S. employers added just 74,000 jobs in December, far fewer than anyone expected. This from an economy that had been adding nearly three times as many for four straight months – a key reason the Federal Reserve decided last month to slow its economic stimulus.

90. Obama Picks Ex-Bank of Israel Head as No. 2 at Fed -

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama took a step Friday toward reshaping the Federal Reserve under incoming chairman Janet Yellen, choosing a leading expert on the global economy to be her vice chairman.

91. 30-Year Mortgage Rate Hovers at 4.51 Percent -

Average U.S. rates for fixed mortgages barely changed this week, hovering near historically low levels.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average for the 30-year loan slipped to 4.51 percent from 4.53 percent last week. The average for the 15-year loan edged up to 3.56 percent from 3.55 percent.

92. 30-Year Mortgage Rate Hovers at 4.51 Percent -

Average U.S. rates for fixed mortgages barely changed this week, hovering near historically low levels.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average for the 30-year loan slipped to 4.51 percent from 4.53 percent last week. The average for the 15-year loan edged up to 3.56 percent from 3.55 percent.

93. Fed Reduced Bond Buys After Seeing Big Job Gains -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Federal Reserve agreed last month to modestly reduce its bond purchases because of improvements in the job market that many Fed members felt would be sustained.

Many participants called the job gains "meaningful," according to the minutes.

94. US Consumer Borrowing Up $12.3 Billion in November -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Americans increased their borrowing in November, led by continued gains in auto and student loans.

The Federal Reserve said consumers increased their borrowing by $12.3 billion in November to a seasonally adjusted $3.09 trillion. That is a record level and follows an October increase of $17.9 billion.

95. Yellen Faces Challenges as Fed Trims Bond Buys -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Janet Yellen will take the helm of a Federal Reserve facing a significantly different economic landscape from the one that dominated Ben Bernanke's tenure as chairman, confronting her with different decisions as well.

96. US Home Prices Tick Up 0.1 Percent in November -

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. home prices barely rose in November from the previous month and year-over-year gains slowed, reflecting declines in sales in the fall.

Real estate data provider CoreLogic said Tuesday that prices increased just 0.1 percent in November from October. That's down slightly from October and far below August's 0.9 percent gain.

97. Senate Ready to OK Yellen to Lead Federal Reserve -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Senate is ready to approve Janet Yellen's nomination to become the first woman to lead the Federal Reserve in its century-long history.

Yellen is a long-time advocate of fighting unemployment and a backer of the central bank's recent efforts to spur the economy with low interest rates and massive bond purchases. She was expected to win easy approval in Monday's vote.

98. Bernanke: 2014 Could be Better Year for US Economy -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Friday predicted a stronger year for the U.S. economy in 2014, saying several factors that have held back growth appear to be abating.

99. Average Mortgage Rate Rises to 4.53 Percent -

Average U.S. rates for fixed mortgages edged higher this week for the third straight week but remained low by historical standards.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average for the 30-year loan rose to 4.53 percent from 4.48 percent last week. The average for the 15-year loan increased to 3.55 percent from 3.52 percent.

100. Debt and Liability -

There is rarely a good answer to the question “How much?” in politics.

With issues including the unfunded pension liability, overall debt, and revenue estimates and their validity, City Hall’s overall money problem begins but hardly ends with the question. It won’t be that simple.