Stocks mixed as investors work through jobs report
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are mixed on Wall Street as investors work through the government's latest jobs report.
For the week, the key averages were mixed and little changed coming into today's session.
There was both good news and not-so-good news in the Labor Department's monthly report on jobs.
The government says U.S. employers added 146,000 jobs last month, more than expected. The unemployment rate also fell to 7.7 percent from 7.9 percent, but only because more people gave up looking for work and weren't counted as unemployed.
US economy adds 146K jobs, rate falls to 7.7 pct.
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. hiring gains held steady in November despite disruptions from Superstorm Sandy and employers' concerns about impending tax increases from the year-end "fiscal cliff."
Companies added 146,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent — the lowest in nearly four years — from 7.9 percent in October. The rate declined mainly because more people stopped looking for work and weren't counted as unemployed.
The government says Superstorm Sandy had only a minimal effect on the figures.
The Labor Department's report suggests that the job market is gradually improving. November's job gains were roughly the same as the average monthly increase this year of about 150,000. Most economists are encouraged by the job growth because it's occurred even as companies have reduced investment in heavy machinery and other equipment.
Employers added 49,000 fewer jobs in October and September combined than the government had initially estimated.
Economists note that the unemployment rate would have risen if more people hadn't stopped looking for work. Once people without jobs stop looking for one, they're no longer counted as unemployed.
Boehner: No progress in fiscal cliff talks
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker John Boehner (BAY'-nur) says there has been no progress in negotiations to avert a "fiscal cliff" combination of automatic tax increases and spending cuts in January and called on President Barack Obama to produce a new offer.
Four days after House Republicans offered a plan to raise tax revenues and cut spending, Boehner told reporters that the White House has failed to outline its proposal and instead has pushed the nation closer to a fiscal cliff that economists warn could plunge the country into another recession. The two men also spoke privately by phone on Wednesday. Boehner described the conversation as pleasant, "but just more of the same."
Boehner singled out White House aides who have said that Obama was willing to allow Bush-era tax cuts to expire on all Americans on Jan. 1 and automatic, across-the-board spending cuts to kick in the next day. He called their comments "reckless talk."
Boehner repeated the long-standing Republican argument that raising tax rates would be detrimental to small businesses and "is not going to help our economy and it's not going to help those seeking work." Obama has insisted that any deal must include an increase in the tax rates for high earners.
The Republican leader pointed out that he had offered on Monday to raise tax revenues by $800 billion over the next decade by ending or reducing tax breaks, particularly on the wealthy. The Republican plan would cut spending by $1.4 trillion, including by trimming annual increases in Social Security payments and raising the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 67.
APPLE-COOK'S FIRST YEAR
Apple's softer side emerges under CEO Cook
NEW YORK (AP) — "Those jobs aren't coming back."
That's what Steve Jobs reportedly told President Obama when asked at a dinner in early 2011 whether Apple would consider moving some of its manufacturing from China to the United States.
Jobs' successor, CEO Tim Cook, might have another response for Obama: Yes, we can.
Though the metal edges of its PCs and mobile devices are as sharp and severe as ever, Apple is emerging under Cook's leadership as a kinder corporate citizen. Cook's announcement this week that the company is moving the production of one of its Mac computer lines to the U.S. is just the latest step in a softening of the company's image following the October 2011 death of CEO and co-founder Jobs.
Cook didn't say which computers Apple would make in the U.S., or where the company might locate new facilities. But bringing assembly-line jobs back to the U.S. lights a symbolic beacon of hope for working-class Americans who worry that the global economy has no use for them.
Cook's reforms have been both internal and outward-facing. Earlier this year, he visited the Chinese factories where Apple products are assembled, amid an Apple-financed audit of working conditions. Shortly after, Foxconn promised to limit working hours and raise wages.
Oscar maker plans layoffs in Chicago
CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago company that makes the familiar gold-plated Oscar statues is laying off almost 100 employees.
R.S. Owens & Co. has informed the Illinois Department of Commerce that it will lay off 95 workers on Dec. 17. The notice says the layoffs are permanent. The business-data website Hoovers says the company has about 250 employees.
The cuts come a month after R.S Owens announced it was being purchased on Dec. 17 by St. Regis Crystal Inc. of Indianapolis. R.S. Owens had said earlier this year that it was struggling financially.
A news release on the sale said the company will continue to make Oscar and Emmy statues in Chicago.
R.S. Owens has been making the Oscar statues for about 30 years.
Mercedes delivers new popemobile to Vatican
BERLIN (AP) — German automaker Daimler says it has delivered Pope Benedict XVI his new popemobile — a customized Mercedes-Benz M-Class SUV with special security features.
The company says the new car was delivered today to the Vatican and people should be able to see the pope riding in it Saturday in Rome during a celebration at the Spanish Steps.
Compared with the previous vehicle, a modified M-Class from 2002, Mercedes has extended the dome significantly to give the pope more room and easier entry. Larger glass panels and better illumination also aim to make the pontiff more visible to crowds.
Daimler says the white-painted vehicle's central interior design feature is a "throne" embroidered with the pontiff's coat of arms.
The automaker declined to detail the vehicle's "spectrum" of security features.