Anticipation is high that the Federal Reserve will announce some new step today to try to rejuvenate the U.S. economy and boost investor confidence. Just what that might be is unclear.
One option would be an effort to drive long-term interest rates even lower to try to spur borrowing and spending. A more modest step would be for the Fed to stress its readiness to do more should the economy weaken further.
Or the Fed might do or promise nothing further – for now.
Chairman Ben Bernanke and other Fed officials have acknowledged the slumping U.S. economy and the threats posed by Europe’s debt crisis. Analysts expect the Fed to say or unveil something to signal that it’s willing to provide further support.
Employers in April posted the fewest job openings in five months, suggesting hiring will remain sluggish.
The Labor Department said Tuesday that job openings fell to a seasonally adjusted 3.4 million in April, down from 3.7 million in March. The March figure was the highest in nearly four years.
Job openings can take one to three months to fill.
There were 12.5 million unemployed people in April. That means there was an average of 3.7 people competing for each open job. In a healthy job market, the ratio is usually around 2 to 1.
Advertisers’ growing wariness of the world economy suggests that global ad spending is going to grow less this year than previously thought.
In its latest report, ZenithOptimedia, a forecaster owned by the ad agency Publicis Groupe SA, says it expects ad spending to grow by 4.3 percent in 2012, to $502 billion. That’s down from its March forecast of a 4.8 percent increase.
Worries about the future of the euro have contributed to slowing economic growth across the world’s richest countries. This is making advertisers more cautious. But Zenith says major events, including the Euro 2012 Football Championship, the Olympics in London and the U.S. presidential election, will help, adding $6.3 billion to the global ad market.
Barnes & Noble said Tuesday that its fiscal fourth-quarter loss narrowed as the company continues to invest in its Nook e-reader business and adjust to the evolving book business.
Barnes & Noble said its net loss totaled $57.6 million or $1.08 a share, for the three months ended April 28. That’s smaller than its loss of $59.4 million, or $1.04 a share, a year ago. A tax charge hurt results by 10 cents a share. Revenue was nearly flat at $1.38 billion.
Unemployment rates in the four Ohio counties bordering northeast Indiana declined in May, compared with a month earlier.
Paulding County’s rate dipped to 6.6 percent from 7 percent; Van Wert, 6.9 percent from 7.3 percent; Defiance, 7.4 percent from 7.9 percent; and Williams, 7.5 percent from 8 percent.
Compared with a year ago May, the four counties also had fewer people out of work.
Indiana’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for May was 7.9 percent. Ohio, which reported 7.3 percent unemployment, had the lowest rate of five Midwest states.