U.S. employers advertised more jobs in October than September, a hopeful sign hiring could pick up in coming months. The Labor Department said Tuesday that job openings rose by 128,000 to 3.68 million, the most since June. The number of available jobs is slowly climbing back to the roughly 4 million advertised each month before the recession began. With nearly 12.3 million people unemployed in October, there were 3.3 unemployed people, on average, competing for each open job, the lowest ratio since November 2008. In a healthy economy, the ratio is roughly 2 to 1. Available construction jobs jumped to 130,000, from 82,000 in September, the most in more than four years. Job openings also rose in manufacturing, retail and hotels and restaurants. Professional and business services, a category that includes engineers and accountants as well as temporary jobs, also posted more openings.

Exxon bullish on energy production outlook

Exxon says the energy renaissance in the U.S. will continue and predicts that North America will become a net exporter of oil and natural gas by the middle of the next decade. The company's annual long-term energy outlook, released Tuesday, says the rapid growth of production in the U.S. and Canada, along with improved energy efficiency, will lead to more oil and natural gas being sent overseas. Exxon also said that demand for energy will grow worldwide, but slower than the overall economy because of efficiency gains; energy demand will remain flat in the developed world; by 2025, the U.S. will likely be exporting natural gas in large volumes and producing more oil while consuming less.

GM offers incentives on pickups

General Motors, straining with an oversupply of full-sized trucks, is offering a stepped-up package of incentives on Chevrolet Silverados and GMC Sierras. The incentives may have risen to as much as $5,000 per pickup in December from less than $4,000 last month on Silverados, according to researcher TrueCar.com's estimates. Incentive spending by GM will be worth about $4,000 to $5,000 per big pickup in December, TrueCar estimated, nowhere near the $8,200 incentive package advertised on Dodge Rams, according to Chrysler's website, and well below the $6,500 that Toprak estimates Ford is offering.

Fed expected to make big Treasurys buy

The Federal Reserve will amplify record accommodation Wednesday by announcing $45 billion in monthly Treasury buying that will push its balance sheet almost to $4 trillion, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists. Forty-eight of 49 economists predict the Federal Open Market Committee will purchase Treasuries to bolster an existing program to buy $40 billion in mortgage bonds each month. The panel pledged in October to continue that plan until the labor market improves "substantially." "It's going to be massive and open-ended in size," said Joseph LaVorgna, chief U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. in New York and a former New York Fed economist. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and his FOMC colleagues will press on with purchases at least through the first quarter of 2014, according to the median estimate in the Dec. 7-10 survey.

U.N. sees south of border surge

Latin America and the Caribbean will see strong economic growth in 2013 despite Europe's fiscal woes and a struggling U.S. economy, the UN's regional economic body said Tuesday. The region is expected to expand by 3.8 percent in 2013, mainly due to a recovery of Argentina and Brazil, and higher internal demand in several nations. Argentina grew 2.2 percent in 2012 versus a neck-breaking 8.9 percent last year, while Brazil slowed down to 1.2 versus 2.7 percent in 2011. The body expects Argentina to grow by 3.9 percent next year. Brazil is set to expand by 4 percent, mainly due to a recovery of industrial activity, internal consumption and a hike in exports. Chile is expected to expand by 4.8 percent and Peru by 6 percent next year.

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