U.S. Strong — China, Europe Weak? Morning Business Memo

Mar 22, 2012 8:11am

By contrast with the rest of the world, US economic growth is looking pretty good. More companies are adding to their workforce. “We’ve seen job postings go up 22 percent year over year,” says executive Michael Erwin at the jobs website Careerbuilder.com. For the past five years the housing slump has been a drag on the US economy. Now that appears to be ending. Home construction is picking up – and so are share prices for major builders. They’re now at their highest levels in two years, while the spring selling season is expected to be the strongest since 2007.

It’s different story overseas. Disappointing figures out of China and the 17-country eurozone are adding to evidence of a slowdown. A survey says Chinese manufacturing hit a four-month low this month. The HSBC index fell to 48.1 this month. Figures below 50 indicate that manufacturing is contracting. Earlier this week, soft Chinese housing data and a warning from miner BHP Billiton raised concerns about the outlook in the world’s second-largest economy. A purchasing managers’ index in the eurozone fell today below forecasts.

Investors are hungry for the maker of “The Hunger Games.” Shares of Lions Gate Entertainment are up 90 percent this year. Analysts expect the first of the four-movie series to sell $100 million worth of tickets in its opening weekend.

Legislation making it easier for small businesses and startups to raise money survived a test vote in the Senate, boosting chances the bi-partisan bill will pass Congress. Republicans succeeded in blocking Democratic amendments that would have increased protections for small-businesses investors, and extended the life of the Export-Import Bank. The 76-22 vote to move forward sets up a vote on final passage today after the Senate considers two amendments addressing aspects of investor protection.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC NEWS Radio twitter.com/daviesabc

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