Eurozone economy slips into a recession

  • Updated: November 15, 2012 - 10:36 PM
Eurozone economy slips into a recession

The European economy shrank for a second quarter in a row, according to official data, fulfilling a common definition of recession and signaling that the region still faces a long road to recovery. Gross domestic product in the eurozone fell 0.1 percent in the three months through September compared with the previous quarter, according to Eurostat, the European Union statistics agency. The eurozone economy improved slightly from the second quarter, when it contracted 0.2 percent. But it was the fourth quarter in a row of zero growth or worse.

Rising food prices pushed CPI up last month

Consumer prices continued to rise in October as rents and the cost of food climbed even as gas came down from its recent peak, the government said. The seasonally adjusted consumer price index got a 0.1 percent boost in October from the previous month, according to the Labor Department. But the increase was smaller than the 0.6 percent surges in September and August. October's prices were up 2.2 percent from the year-earlier period. The cost of food went up 0.2 percent last month from September, with meat, poultry, fish, eggs, fruits and vegetables all experiencing price increases.

Sandy pushes initial jobless claims higher

Initial jobless claims surged last week to their highest level in more than a year and a half, probably in part because of the effects of superstorm Sandy. The number of new people filing for unemployment benefits jumped to 439,000 in the week ended Saturday, up from the previous week's revised figure of 361,000, the Labor Department said. It was the first time in more than a year that the number of initial claims topped 400,000, and marked the highest level since April 2011. Economists say that claims below 400,000 indicate job growth.

United flights snarled again by tech failure

United Continental Holdings Inc. was forced to delay some flights, affecting thousands of passengers as the world's largest airline suffered its third computer-related disruption this year. A computerized system that coordinates preflight activities across the U.S. was affected from about 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Chicago time, said Rahsaan Johnson, a United spokesman. The Chicago-based airline hasn't determined the cause of the failure, which initially delayed 200 flights, he said. At least 523 United flights were delayed, according to researcher FlightStats.

New president for McDonald's U.S. division

McDonald's Corp. is hoping a leadership shake-up for its U.S. business will help it fight off intensifying competition. The world's biggest hamburger chain said that Jan Fields, president of McDonald's USA, will be replaced by Jeff Stratton, its global chief restaurant officer, effective Dec. 1. The announcement comes less than a week after the fast-food giant reported its first monthly sales drop in nearly a decade. A number of business factors played a role in the decision, but recent sales figures were not among them, said Heidi Barker Sa Shekhem, a McDonald's spokeswoman.

30-year mortgage rate hits another record low

U.S. mortgage rates declined to record lows, dropping borrowing costs after applications for refinancing rose for the first time in six weeks. The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage dropped to an all-time low of 3.34 percent in the week ended Thursday from 3.4 percent, Freddie Mac said. The average 15-year rate slipped to 2.65 percent, also a record, from 2.69 percent. Mortgage rates at record lows have made refinancing more appealing and have helped the housing market recover by making purchases more affordable.

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