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Euro-area GDP growth outpaces America’s

Euro-area GDP growth outpaces America’s

Euro-area GDP growth outpaces America’s.
THE enduring appeal of GDP is that it offers, or seems to, a summary statistic that tells people how well an economy is doing.
Figures released today show that GDP in the currency zone rose by 0.5% in the first quarter of 2017, an annualised rate of around 2%.
That is quite a bit faster than the 0.7% rate reported in the same period for America’s GDP.
Still, the euro-zone economy is clearly picking up speed, even as America’s goes through a soft spot.
Euro-zone manufacturing grew at its fastest pace for six years in April, according to the purchasing managers’ index, a closely watched gauge of activity.
The corresponding index for America fell.
The good news is not confined to manufacturers.
Differences in the stance of monetary policy in Europe and America reflect the different stages of recovery.
At the conclusion of its monthly monetary-policy meeting on April 27th, the ECB kept its main interest rate at zero and the rate it pays on bank reserves at -0.4%.

Here’s what everyone is missing about US auto sales

Here’s what everyone is missing about US auto sales

Justin Sullivan/Getty F Ford Motor 10.92 -0.50 (-4.40 %) Disclaimer Get real-time F charts here » FCAU Fiat Chrysler Au 10.92 -0.49 (-4.30 %) Disclaimer Get real-time FCAU charts here » GM General Motors 33.20 -1.00 (-2.90 %) Disclaimer Get real-time GM charts here » Automakers reported April sales results on Tuesday, posting declines from last year’s record pace that were worse than Wall Street had expected.
Auto analysts were certain that sales would decline, because, well compared with last year’s torrid pace there was really nowhere else to go.
Share prices of Ford, GM, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles all are down in trading Tuesday.
After two years of records, it’s the mix of ongoing sales that matters.
Also, Detroit’s selling more luxury trucks too.
Simply put, the conditions now are nearly ideal for car companies to bolster their already healthy balance sheets and get proactive about investing in future opportunities.
Most carmakers are now assuming a moderation of demand, bringing sales down to a 17-million level.
And in any case, anything above 16 million would be considered a very healthy market, not a source of concern.
As long as gas remains relatively cheap, credit is flowing, unemployment stays low, and wages continue to tick up without setting off inflation concerns, automakers are going to get fat and happy on their current vehicle mix.
More: BITranspo Auto Sales Auto Industry Ford GM FIat Chrysler Automobiles

Fed Decision Due Wednesday on Interest Rates

Fed Decision Due Wednesday on Interest Rates

Fed Decision Due Wednesday on Interest Rates.
The Federal Reserve Board is set to announce later today whether it will let current interest rates stand or raise them.
Analysts have been predicting the central bank will not act to push rates up at this time.
The interest rate meeting comes just a few days ahead of the Labor Department’s release of the latest national unemployment report on Friday.
U.S. employers cut back sharply on hiring in March, yet the jobs report for March still had much to be encouraged about, including a drop in the unemployment rate to 4.5 percent, the lowest in a decade.
Employers added just 98,000 jobs, the Labor Department said.
It was barely half the previous month’s gain.
In other economic reports due out today, the Institute for Supply Management releases its service sector index for April.
Also, Yum Brands reports its quarterly financial results before the market opens and Tesla Inc. and Facebook Inc. put out their quarterly financial results after the market closes.

German Jobless Claims Drop More Than Forecast in April

German Jobless Claims Drop More Than Forecast in April

German Jobless Claims Drop More Than Forecast in April.
FRANKFURT-German jobless claims dropped more sharply than forecast in April and the unemployment rate stayed at a record low, cementing Germany’s position as the eurozone’s strongest labor market.
Jobless claims fell by 15,000 from March, the BA labor agency said Wednesday, referring to data adjusted for seasonal swings.
Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had expected a decline of 10,000. “The labor market continues to develop solidly,” said Detlef Scheele, the BA’s chairman.
Illustrating the trend, Germany’s adjusted jobless rate was unchanged at 5.8% in April, the lowest rate since the beginning of the data series in January 1992, following the country’s unification.
Germany’s jobs market is set for another bumper year.
Demand for labor remained strong.
The BA said that 706,000 jobs were registered as vacant in April, or 66,000 more than in the same month last year.
Write to Nina Adam at nina.adam@wsj.com (END) Dow Jones Newswires May 03, 2017 04:23 ET (08:23 GMT)

Illinois workers comp claim costs remain high despite reforms

Illinois workers comp claim costs remain high despite reforms

Illinois workers comp claim costs remain high despite reforms.
Reprints Total cost per claim has decreased 6.4% since a reduction in medical fee schedule rates, but workers compensation costs in Illinois remain higher than other states, according to a recent study by the Workers Compensation Research Institute.
Indemnity benefits per claim were higher than other states from 2010 to 2015 due to longer duration of temporary disability and costly permanent partial disability/lump sum settlements, the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based WCRI said in its study.
The average indemnity benefit per claim in Illinois was $21,275 in 2013, while the median state benefit per claim was $18,269, WCRI said.
“We still remain a much more expensive state when it comes to indemnity benefits — both the type and the duration of those benefits — and with respect to the expenses that are involved in the medical and legal aspects of settling the claim,” Steve Schneider, Chicago-based vice president for state affairs for the Midwest region for the American Insurance Association, said Monday.
“That demonstrates that Illinois’ workers compensation costs despite having decreased 6.4% in the last 6½ years overall remain very expensive when compared to other states.” Illinois’ post-recession economy is named as a likely contributor to the trends in indemnity benefits per claim, the WCRI said.
The state has lagged behind the region and the country on income, output and job growth,” WCRI said in the study.
In addition, the growth in the average weekly wage of injured workers in Illinois was faster at 4.9% than the median state at 2.1%, according to the study, leading to higher benefit costs.
“The movement in Illinois has been backward not forward,” Mr. Schneider said.
“We think there could be forward movement made on three fronts: enact a closed drug formulary … (have) the state adopt a Medicare-based fee schedule at a rate of 175 or perhaps 180% of the Medicare rates to ensure stability and predictable with respect to medical costs, and more transparency from the workers comp attorneys … and doctors,” said Mr. Schneider.

Ask Larry: ​​​​​​Is Social Security Right To Cut My Benefit?
Social Security Disability

Ask Larry: ​​​​​​Is Social Security Right To Cut My Benefit?

Ask Larry: ​​​​​​Is Social Security Right To Cut My Benefit?.
I told him I would receive around $200 and he said it would reduce my so’s Social Security benefit by about $50 a month.
On the other hand, if you qualified for the UK pension without regard to your work in the US, the WEP reduction likely applies.
Best, Larry How Are Benefits Calculated When Someone Received Both Spousal And Retirement Benefits?
Hi Larry, Marge applied for spousal benefits when she was 62 and her spouse was 64.
At the time, she had worked only 11 years.
Here’s an example of how her benefits would be calculated if her full retirement age benefit (PIA) was $500, and her husband’s PIA was $1,200: Reduced retirement benefit at age 62 = $375 (i.e. $500 x .75); Reduced excess spousal benefit at age 62 = $70 (i.e. ($1,200 / 2 – $500) x .70); Marge’s total spousal benefit = $445.
The 25% reduction for age would continue to apply to her reduced retirement benefit, so if her PIA was $600, her reduced retirement benefit amount would be $450.
If her spousal benefit was higher than the retirement benefit, her excess spousal benefit would be reduced to the difference between the retirement benefit amount and the reduced spousal benefit amount.
If you are approved, Social Security will start paying you the equivalent of your full retirement age benefit amount, but no payment is made for the first 5 months of disability, which is referred to as a waiting period.

Many U.S. children go days without eating any vegetables, survey finds

Many U.S. children go days without eating any vegetables, survey finds

Many U.S. children go days without eating any vegetables, survey finds.
American toddlers are more likely to eat french fries than green vegetables on any given day, according to a new national survey on children’s eating habits.
Many young kids also go without any vegetables at all, the survey found. “As we learn more about how dietary habits are established, we are seeing that even as early as infancy, breast milk consumption and consumption of fruits and vegetables can help lay the foundation for healthy eating habits,” Miles said.
The survey also revealed a decline in consumption of healthy fruits and vegetables among 1-year-olds.
The researchers found that nearly 60 percent of infants younger than 6 months did not consume any breast milk. “In the wealthier parts of town, you can walk a block and you find a grocery that has a wide variety of fruits and vegetables,” Stroustrup said.
Toddlers are newness-averse,” Stroustrup said. “You often have to offer a new food to a toddler up to 10 times before that toddler will accept it as something they will eat.” “Food preferences that we develop begin to be established as early as transition to solid foods, and that usually happens around 6 months for U.S. children,” Miles said.

Social Security Has No Place In Budget Discussions
Social Security Disability

Social Security Has No Place In Budget Discussions

— Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the receipts and disbursements of the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund and the Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund [I.e., Social Security] shall not be counted as new budget authority, outlays, receipts, or deficit or surplus for purposes of— (1) the budget of the United States Government as submitted by the President, (2) the congressional budget, or (3) the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985.
Under the same principle and for the same reason, the law requires that Social Security’s income and assets be held in trust, segregated from the general operating fund of its plan sponsor, the federal government.
Outrageously, politicians routinely ignore the clear legal prohibition and lump Social Security’s benefits together with general federal expenditures, and its premiums and investment income with receipts from the income tax and other federal taxes.
To its great credit, the People’s Budget follows the law and does not include Social Security in its proposed federal income and outgo.
The People’s Budget supports increasing Social Security’s modest benefits separate and apart from budget discussions, because Social Security does not add a penny to the deficit and, by law, is not to be counted as part of the federal budget.
And the People’s Budget deserves our support.
The other budgets, which appear to commingle Social Security’s dedicated, segregated revenue with general taxes deserves our condemnation, explain why so many Americans believe that their Social Security contributions have been stolen by their government, diverted to some unauthorized purpose.
Year after year, every proposed budget, except for the CPC’s, reinforces the harmful myth that the people’s pension monies – the Social Security trust funds — are not being properly managed.
If his budget does not make clear that Social Security is separate and apart from other government income and outgo, he will have breached his promise.
It is well past time that the Republican establishment and Donald Trump recognize what their voters and indeed the overwhelming majority of Americans understand: Social Security has no place in budget discussions.

Opinion: Trump should lead the rescue of Greece

Opinion: Trump should lead the rescue of Greece

Greece is back in the news.
If Donald Trump stepped in, and refused to allow the International Monetary Fund to prop up this charade any longer, while simultaneous offering Greece the kind of recovery package that it actually needs, then he could make a real difference.
The Greek saga has been running for so long that most of us have understandably started to tune out.
The endless round of political crises and bailouts no longer arouse much interest, and certainly not the way they did in 2011 and 2012.
On Monday night, the Greek government agreed to a round of budget and reform measures that unlocked the path towards receiving the latest chunk of cash in its €85 billion bailout program.
In 2016, the country’s economy shrank by another 0.1%, in a year when the rest of the eurozone was recovering, and the European Central Bank was flooding the economy with 2.2 trillion of freshly printed euros.
The latest bailout deal includes yet another round of cuts to pensions — although the current rate is only €664 a month, hardly a fortune — as well as taking down the tax-free threshold from around €8,000 a year to less than €6,000, which amounts to a hefty tax rise for the lowest earners.
Greeks need to be back in the shops spending money again.
Next, it should lead an international package to restore Greek competitiveness, and pressure Germany to pay the largest share.
But at some point Greece needs to be rescued from the endless spiral of austerity and recession.

The number of reluctant part-time workers is still higher than before the Great Recession

The number of reluctant part-time workers is still higher than before the Great Recession

Millions of Americans don’t want to work part-time.
The U.S. economy added just 98,000 jobs in March, the smallest gain in nearly a year, after adding more than 200,000 jobs in January and February.
Economists predicted that the number of jobs created in March would hit 180,000, so the actual figures fell far short of that.
On Thursday, Amazon said it will create 30,000 part-time jobs in the U.S. over the next year, nearly double the current number.
There were some 5.6 million involuntary part-time workers in March 2017, little changed from the month before, but down from 6.4 million a year earlier, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Aside from the frequent lack of sufficient work hours, these part-time workers must also “navigate unpredictable and/or variable hours,” with their work schedules varying week-to-week at a rate more than double that of full-time workers, it added.
Compared to similar full-time workers, men working part-time earn 19% and women working part-time earn 9% per hour.
(The employer mandate requires certain businesses to provide health insurance when their employees work a set amount of hours.)
Approximately 40% of involuntary part-time workers report a total family income of less than $30,000, compared with just 18% of the latter and 29% of the population as a whole, according to an earlier report — “A Tale of Two Workforces: The Benefits and Burdens of Working Part Time” — published in 2015 by Rutgers University.
In 2015, then-Presiden Barack Obama introduced measures to require U.S. companies to pay overtime to millions of salaried workers, but that move was halted by a federal judge last December.