The federal government said Monday that it has found a “strong association” between problematic imported Chinese drywall and corrosion of pipes and wires, a conclusion that supports complaints by thousands of homeowners over the last year. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said its investigation also has found a “possible” link between health problems reported by homeowners and higher-than-normal levels of hydrogen sulfide gas emitted from the wallboard coupled with formaldehyde, which is commonly found in new houses. The drywall was mostly used in Florida.
Economists foresee more jobs later in 2010
Economists expect the joblessness that has weighed down the nation’s economic recovery will start to slowly abate in 2010, but they predict consumers will continue to keep a tight rein on spending, according to a new survey. While signs have pointed to the end of the recession, joblessness remains rampant. The national unemployment rate jumped to 10.2 percent in October, the highest in 26 years. About 9 million people receive unemployment benefits. The November outlook by the National Association for Business Economics released Monday shows economists expect employment losses to bottom out in the first quarter.
Google acquires visual ad startup
Google Inc. has purchased another startup in its quest to sell more visual advertising on the Web. The acquisition of Teracent Corp., a 3-year-old startup, provides Google with more tools for customizing the online billboards known as display advertising. Selling more display advertising is a high priority for Google, which makes most of its money from short text messages posted alongside search results and other Web content. Google started the expansion into display advertising last year after completing its $3.2 billion acquisition of the online ad service DoubleClick. Teracent’s technology automatically tweaks the look of an ad so the images are more likely to grab the targeted audience.
6-month T-bill rates hit lowest level ever
Interest rates on six-month Treasury notes hit their lowest level on record and three-month bills their lowest point in 11 months in Monday’s auction of T-bills. The declines are good news for the government’s efforts to hold down its borrowing costs — but bad news for savers who rely on interest income. The Treasury auctioned three-month bills at a discount rate of 0.04 percent, down from 0.065 percent last week. Six-month bills were auctioned at a discount rate of 0.14 percent, down from 0.165 percent. For a $10,000 bill, the three-month price was $9,999. A six-month bill sold for $9,992.96. Separately, the Federal Reserve said the average yield for one-year Treasury bills, a popular index for changing adjustable-rate mortgages, fell to 0.29 percent last week from 0.33 percent the previous week.
From Herald news services