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Health Insurance Soars 97 Percent
Health Insurance Soars 97 Percent


Since 2002, 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 2013.

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


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