What do you earn?
Every year, Parade magazine reports on people's salaries around the country. This year's "What We Earn" report is in a Parade magazine that will appear next month in The Bee. To supplement this report, The Bee is looking for area residents who would be willing to share their name, age, occupation, annual income and comments about wages in the Central Valley. If you would like to participate, call 578-2336 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Home prices sink
Home prices plunged by record levels in January compared with a year ago, with almost no major cities immune from the spiraling market. Analysts worried that even the usually reliable spring selling season would fall flat. The closely watched Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index of home prices in 20 cities fell nearly 11 percent in January from a year earlier, the biggest drop in its two-decade history. Prices were down about 20 percent in Las Vegas and Miami, both paying the price for especially rampant speculation and too much construction during the housing boom. Fourteen other cities posted record declines in the Tuesday report.
American consumers are gloomier about the economy than at any point since just before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, as slumping housing prices and soaring fuel costs depress consumer confidence to its lowest level in five years. The Conference Board, a business-backed research group, said Tuesday that its Consumer Confidence Index plunged to 64.5 in March from a revised 76.4 in February. The March reading was far below the 73.0 expected by analysts surveyed by Thomson/IFR and was the worst reading since the gauge registered 61.4 in March 2003, just ahead of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
Banks borrow $260B
Fighting to ease a dangerous credit crisis, the Federal Reserve has provided $260 billion in short-term loans to squeezed banks since December to help them overcome credit problems. The central bank on Tuesday announced the results of its most recent auction -- the eighth since the program started in December -- in which commercial banks bid to get a slice of $50 billion in short-term loans.
The recent FCC auction is supposed to open up airwaves, but big winner Verizon will decide how big the opening will be.