Health Insurance Soars 97 Percent|
annual premiums for employer-sponsored family health insurance has skyrocketed
higher by 97 percent, per a report on Tuesday by the Kaiser Family
Foundation/Health Research & Educational Trust. For the year 2012, the increase
has been 4%. "In terms of employee insurance costs, this year's 4% increase
qualifies as a good year, but it still takes a growing bite out of middle-class
workers' wages, which have been flat or falling in real terms," said Drew
Altman, Kaiser's chief executive. Kaiser report included that workers at
lower-wage firms typically shell out $1,000 more each year for family health
insurance coverage than those working at companies that pay better. On average,
workers will pay $4,316 annually toward the cost of their coverage, Kaiser said.
The world's largest oil consumer - the USA - is expected to drop 1.5% in 2012 to
a 15-year low of 18.67 million barrels a day per the Energy Information
Administration forecast released Tuesday. The EIA projection puts demand down
280,000 barrels a day from a 2011 level that was revised up by 0.6% or 110,000
barrels a day. The year-on-year drop expected for 2012 would be the sixth such
drop in the past seven years and the largest drop since 2009. Demand for
gasoline, the most widely used petroleum product in the U.S., is expected to
slip 0.2% from 2011 to an 11-year low of 8.73 million barrels a day. Demand for
distillate fuel (diesel/heating oil) is expected to drop 3.1% in 2012 from 2011,
to a 10-year low of 3.78 million barrels a day. Total U.S. oil demand in 2013 is
expected to increase by 80,000 barrels a day or 0.4%, to 18.75 million barrels a
day, while gasoline use remains unchanged from 2011. Distillate use in 2013 is
expected to rise 1.9% to 3.85 million barrels a day. The EIA said rising U.S.
domestic crude oil output will help reduce U.S. dependence on oil imports.
Combined net imports of crude oil and refined products are expected to slide to
a 39% share of total U.S. demand during 2013, down from 49% in 2010 - marking
the first time since 1991 that net imports made up less than 40% of U.S. oil
use, per the EIA. Due to increased volumes from shale oil fields domestic oil
output is expected to rise by 700,000 barrels a day in 2012 to 6.3 million
barrels a day. For the highest seen since 1993, production is expected to reach
6.8 million barrels a day in 2013. The EIA reported that the U.S. real gross
domestic product is expected to rise by 2.1% in 2012 after a gain of 1.8% in
2011. Real GDP is seen increasing by 1.7% in 2013. In August, the EIA projected
a rise of 2% this year, after a 1.7% rise in 2011, and an increase of 1.9% in
According to an index released Tuesday by the U.S. Commerce Department, the U.S.
trade deficit widened by 0.2% during July to $42.0 billion, marginally above the
18-month low gap set June. The U.S. government revised the deficit down to $41.9
billion from $42.9 billion for June. While both imports and exports fell during
July, exports fell a a slightly faster pace. The U.S. trade deficit with China
widened to a record $29.4 billion in July compared with $27.0 billion during
same time in 2011. There were evident signs that the European debt crisis was
negatively impacting U.S. trade. As U.S. exports to the region slowed compared
with the same month last year, European Union exports flowed into the U.S. at a
faster pace. The U.S. deficit with the European Union in July was the highest
seen since October 2007. U.S. exports to Germany during July were the lowest
seen, since February 2010.
Per the National Federation of Independent Business, during August, small
business owners are showing signs of optimism toward the economy and future
sales plus, are increasing plans to hire. The small-business optimism index rose
1.7 points to 92.9 for the first rise, in three months. Since the recession has
ended, the small-business optimism index has ranged between a low of 86.5 during
July 2009 and a high of 94.5 in February 2012. In November 2007, Before the most
recent recession in November 200, the small-business optimism index was 94.4.
The U.S. Labor Department reported Tuesday that job openings at U.S. workplaces
decreased to 3.66 million in July from 3.72 million in June. Compared with 2011,
job openings rose 9% with private openings increasing by 8% to 3.28 million and
government openings increasing by 20% to 388,000.With nearly 12.79 million
people unemployed during July, there were nearly 3.5 potential job seekers for
each opening, up from 3.4 in June. In July 2011, there were nearly 13.91 million
unemployed people or about 4.1 potential seekers per opening. Separations, such
as quits and layoffs, fell to 4.06 million in July from 4.25 million in June.
The total number of hires decreased to 4.23 million from 4.28 million.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Tuesday said China will meet its official growth
target of 7.5% GDP growth in 2012, though he acknowledged that the Chinese
economy is facing significant pressure. "It is true that the Chinese economy is
under notable downward pressure, but with our efforts to shift our economic
model, better allocate resources and implement more reform and opening up, we
have the ability to keep the economy in good shape," Wen said in a speech at the
World Economic Forum's meeting in Tianjin. "We will give greater priority to
stabilizing growth and maintaining the continuity and stability of our
policies," Jiabao said. He is due to retire in a few months and added that
China's growth may be slowing, but appears to be more stable.
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Sept 11, 2012