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The number of U.S. workers filing new claims for jobless benefits unexpectedly rose last week, a government report showed Thursday, fanning worries of an anemic recovery from the worst recession in 70 years.
Initial claims for state unemployment insurance benefits rose 15,000 to a seasonally adjusted 576,000 in the week ended Aug. 15 from 561,000 the prior week, the Labor Department said.
Jobless claims in surprise rise
The initial claims number identifies those filing for their first week of unemployment benefits. Continuing claims reflect people filing each week after their initial claim until the end of their standard benefits, which usually last 26 weeks. The figures do not include those who have moved to state or federal extensions, nor people whose benefits have expired.
More Banks to Fail, and That's Good: Ex-FDIC Chief
Money managers are optimistic
Nearly three-quarters of global money managers are optimistic about the economy, according to a survey by Bank of America-Merrill Lynch. In fact, the majority of respondents believe the world economy will firm up in the next 12 months, the highest reading since November 2003.
Confidence about corporate health is at the highest since January 2004, the survey showed.
The report surveyed 204 fund managers who manage a total of $554 billion.
Originally posted by stander
Confidence is high.
Obama May Tap Auto Chief *Czar* Bloom to Craft Manufacturing Policy
Aug. 20 (Bloomberg) -- The Obama administration may elevate Ron Bloom, head of the government’s auto task force, to a job that would set U.S. manufacturing policy more broadly, people familiar with the matter said.
Bloom, a former United Steelworkers union adviser and Lazard Ltd. investment banker, helped guide General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC through bankruptcy as part of the government’s rescue of the auto industry. The task force will continue, and it hasn’t been decided whether Bloom will remain its leader while taking on the new role, the people said.
The move may alleviate criticism from Democratic allies that the administration spent billions of dollars to prop up investment banks and did little to aid average Americans. Manufacturing employment in the U.S. has fallen to 11.8 million workers, the lowest level since 1941. The White House expects the unemployment rate overall to rise above 10 percent.
“A fork in the road was taken that emphasized the resuscitation of Wall Street rather than the resuscitation of Main Street,” said Leo Hindery Jr., an investor in media companies and former chief executive of AT&T Broadband. Jobs “need to be the product of a policy” and Bloom is “very cognizant of these issues,” he said.
Pension Plans’ Private-Equity Cash Depleted as Profits Shrink
Aug. 20 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. pension funds contributed to the record $1.2 trillion that private-equity firms raised this decade. Three of the biggest investors, state pensions in California, Oregon and Washington, plunked down at least $53.8 billion. So far, they only have dwindling paper profits and a lot less cash to show the millions of policemen, teachers and other civil servants in their retirement plans.
The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the Washington State Investment Board and the Oregon Public Employees’ Retirement Fund -- among the few pension managers to disclose details of their investments -- had recouped just $22.1 billion in cash by the end of 2008 from buyout funds started since 2000, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That amounts to a shortfall of 59 percent. In total, they haven’t reaped a paper gain from funds formed in the past seven years.
The wisdom of those investment decisions hangs on the remaining value private-equity firms assign to companies they snapped up in 2006 and 2007, during the peak of the buyout boom. For the California, Oregon and Washington plans, that figure totaled $15.8 billion at the beginning of the year.
While some investors say they’re confident the private- equity industry’s traditional practice of taking over companies will pay off, others have been shaken by a credit contraction that froze deal-making, eroded the value of the assets on private-equity firms’ books and prevented them from cashing out in public share sales.