New Signs of Spring Growth for US Economy

Apr 2, 2014 9:36am
AP world markets economy tk 140302 16x9 608 New Signs of Spring Growth for US Economy

Eugene Hoshiko/AP Photo

Morning Money Memo:

More Americans are finding work. The ADP payroll survey says 191,000 jobs were added by employers last month. That’s back to the average of last year, after a winter slowdown largely blamed on the weather. The February estimate of new jobs was also revised up to 178,000. What’s encouraging, economists say, is the improvement in March was broad-based across many industries, involving small and large businesses. The Labor Department’s closely watched monthly survey will be released Friday. The stock market rose Tuesday after two positive reports on U.S. manufacturing.

When’s the last time you heard this? Home prices in four states – Texas, Colorado, Nebraska and North Dakota, as well as the District of Columbia – broke through their all-time highs. The housing market is still far from making a full recovery in much of the country. But average U.S. home prices rose 12.2 percent in February, compared with a year ago. Research firm CoreLogic says prices rose 0.8 percent month-over-month from January to February. The average remains about 17 percent below the peak reached in 2006. Housing experts expect price rises to slow down this year. Homebuilding sagged during the winter months in most states. With milder weather on the way, the rate is expected to pick up during the spring.

General Motors has hired attorney Kenneth Feinberg to explore ways to compensate victims of accidents connected to defective ignition switches in its small cars. Feinberg, an expert in disaster fund management, handled the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, as well as funds for victims of the Boston Marathon bombing and the BP oil spill. Under terms of its 2009 bankruptcy, GM is shielded from liability for injuries that happened before the bankruptcy. But some consumer advocates want the company to set up a fund for victims.

It’s not just GM. Chrysler is recalling nearly 870,000 SUVs because corrosion might make the vehicles’ brakes harder to use. Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango SUVs from the 2011 through 2014 model years are involved. Chrysler says crimp joints in the brake boosters can corrode if they’re exposed to water. If the water freezes, the boosters won’t aid braking as they usually do. Chrysler began investigating after some customers said their brakes felt too firm when pressed down. The company knows of one accident, but no injuries, because of the defect.

Bank overdraft fees and other charges for customer are inching higher again. The average cost of overdrawing your account rose to $30 last year, up from $29 in 2012, according to research firm Moebs Services.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio abcnews.com Twitter: daviesnow

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