This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. European leaders meet in Brussels next week with an urgent mission: agree on a plan that to keep debt-ridden countries like Greece and Spain from default and save the euro. A plan is emerging now in broad outline - this and coordinated action by central banks around the world - boosted investor confidence. NPR's Eric Westervelt reports.
The current world economic crisis has raised hard questions about the assessments made by the big three ratings firms, S&P, Moody's and Fitch. It's also brought charges that they not only missed the onset of financial crisis, but helped fuel it with faulty judgments. Host Scott Simon talks with Roben Farzad, a senior writer for Bloomberg-Businessweek.
The U.S. unemployment rate took a big tumble in November, from 9 percent to 8.6 percent, according to the government's monthly jobs data. Still, it's probably too soon pop the champagne corks. A combination of forces caused the big drop, some good and some bad.
Getting a big fall in the unemployment rate is always good news in the White House, but President Obama was careful not to gloat at an appearance Friday in Washington.
"This morning we learned that our economy added another 140,000 private sector jobs in November. The unemployment rate went down," he said.
Thousands of jobs are on the line in a competition between states over the corporate headquarters of Sears. Several states are offering tax incentive packages to try to lure the company away from Illinois, including one bid from Ohio that's worth up to $400 million.
The Sears Holding Corp., parent company to Sears and Kmart, says it is seriously considering the offer after Illinois lawmakers failed this week to approve a package of tax incentives aimed at keeping Sears and another corporate giant from leaving.
Originally published on Fri December 2, 2011 5:55 pm
Not long ago, economists and others expressed concerns that China's economy was expanding too quickly. Now, the latest data are raising concerns about a slowdown — and the woes it could trigger.
With a sluggish U.S. economy and troubles in the eurozone, Chinese exports are taking a hit, causing a slowdown on shop floors in Shanghai and Shenzhen. Earlier this week, the Chinese Purchasing Managers' Index, or PMI, fell to its lowest level in nearly three years.
As we've noted before, 2011 has been a great year for Internet companies seeking to go public. Today, Zynga said it hoped to price its shares at $8 to $10 per share during its initial public offering later this month. Depending on whose math you trust, that means the company will try to raise about $1 billion and the debut could value the company at $7 billion. (Some news outlets are putting that number as high as $9 billion.)
What is Zynga you ask? They're the makers of social games like Farmville and Cityville.
The unemployment rate dropped unexpectedly to 8.6 percent in November, in part because hundreds of thousands of Americans stopped looking for work. But analysts said the modest increase of 120,000 jobs created last month points to an economy that's generally still limping.
Launching a new company is never easy. But in the beginning, the founders of Web-based marketing firm Bluebox Now felt they were on track. The Seattle startup lined up a large paying customer, had a lot of other great leads and was reasonably confident it would get a sizable amount of outside funding. A lot has happened since then.