Jobless rate lessens, worry persists
The year 2010 ended on a disappointing note, as the American economy produced just 103,000 jobs in December, suggesting that economic deliverance will not arrive with a great pop in employment. The unemployment rate did come down, to 9.4%, but that was partly because people gave up looking for work. All told, employers added 1.1 million jobs in 2010, or about 94,000 a month. The nation still has 7.2 million fewer jobs today than it did in December 2007, when the recession began.
Economic outlook, well, cloudy
Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke told senators on Friday that he expected the recovery to be "moderately stronger" this year. He also defended the central bank's $600 billion program to stimulate the economy by buying government bonds and urged Congress to put a credible plan in place to reduce the federal deficit. He said that he expects stronger growth because consumers and businesses will boost spending this year but that unemployment could stay high for five years. Story, 4B
New economic team has a mission
President Obama completed a makeover of his economic team as it turns from crisis management to recovery measures, naming Gene Sperling as senior economic adviser. Sperling, who held the post under Clinton, has a bipartisan track record in the White House as the administration contends with a divided Congress. Obama said that Sperling, along with other newly appointed members of the economic team, will have one main focus: "accelerate hiring and accelerate growth."