*I will try to be optimistic
First-time unemployment claims ease off in U.S.
Initial claims for unemployment benefits in the U.S. declined to a seasonally adjusted 502,000 last week, the Labor Department said. It was a smaller number than economists had forecast and the lowest since the week that ended Jan. 3. Abiel Reinhart, an economist with JPMorgan Chase, said initial claims would have to drop to the high 400,000s to suggest even a weak improvement in the job market. He said the economy should start creating jobs in 2010's first quarter. Google/The Associated Press (12 Nov.)
Analysis: Bernanke faces risk of economy slumping again
As Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke starts to withdraw stimulus efforts, he faces the risk that the U.S. economy will stumble. The Fed would then need to decide whether to reinstate some measures, such as asset purchases, or stand firm. Neither is a great option for the central bank because each could create other issues. The Wall Street Journal (11/13)
*and there banks are worse than ours if you can imagine
Irish balk at plan for "bad bank"
A plan to bail out Ireland's banks provoked anger from people who think they are being asked to pay for bankers' irresponsible management, analysts said. The plan, which was passed by the country's parliament, will shift troubled assets to the National Asset Management Agency, a so-called bad bank. The largest union in the public sector called a 24-hour strike to protest the plan. The New York Times/Reuters (12 Nov.)
Report: U.S. companies not gaining business in Iraq
A report from Dunia Frontier Consultants shows that U.S. businesses are not getting much business in Iraq, even after the U.S. government spent trillions on reconstructing the country's economy. Although imports doubled from 2007 to 2008, U.S. companies did not increase their share, earning the same $2 billion as before. While the United Arab Emirates invested $31 billion in Iraq, U.S. firms put in only $400 million. The New York Times (12 Nov.)
*didn't AIG say just the other day that they were going to pay back taxpayers? I laughed then too.
AIG remains dependent on U.S. government assistance
American International Group owes $5.8 billion in the Federal Reserve's Commercial Paper Funding Facility, according to a regulatory filing. Other insurers of the same type have reduced their financing with this type of government-backed instrument. As government support of the instrument ends, AIG might be forced to access its credit line from the U.S. Treasury, according to the filing. "AIG remains more dependent on government financing than we would like them to be. It is more money to repay, and I don't know if the taxpayer will be made entirely whole," said Aite Group analyst Clark Troy. Bloomberg (12 Nov.)