- - Tuesday, July 12, 2011

IMF

U.S. official tapped as top IMF deputy

The new chief of the International Monetary Fund has appointed a senior White House official to be her top deputy.

Christine Lagarde on Tuesday selected David Lipton to be the first deputy managing director. Mr. Lipton, 57, currently is senior director for international economic affairs in the National Security Council.

The appointment continues the practice of having an American in the No. 2 position, along with a European in the top spot.

Miss Lagarde also appointed Min Zhu, a former deputy governor of China’s central bank, to the position of deputy managing director. The appointment is intended to appease developing countries, which have long pushed for a greater voice at the international lending organization.

EMPLOYMENT

Job openings flat in May, a sign of slow hiring

It’s shaping up to be a long, tough summer for job seekers: The number of job postings didn’t increase in May, the latest sign that hiring is unlikely to pick up anytime soon.

Employers advertised nearly 3 million job openings, the Labor Department said Tuesday. That is the same amount as in April and down from 3.1 million in March.

May’s figure is higher than the 2.1 million job openings posted in July 2009, one month after the recession ended and the lowest total since the government began recording the data a decade ago. But it is also significantly below the 4.4 million openings recorded in December 2007, when the recession began.

There’s heavy competition for each opening. In May, nearly 14 million people were out of work. So, roughly 4.7 unemployed people, on average, competed for each available job. In a healthy economy, the ratio is about 2 to 1.

The report, known as the Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey, doesn’t include temporary or contract positions.

FEDERAL RESERVE

More stimulus debated as economy weakens

Federal Reserve officials at their last meeting expressed concerns that the weakening job market might hold back the recovery. But members were divided over whether the Fed should take additional steps to help the economy.

In June, the Fed agreed to end on schedule its program to boost the economy through the purchase of $600 billion in Treasury bonds.

Some members said the Fed should consider new stimulus measures if growth failed to pick up enough to “meaningfully” reduce the employment rate, according to minutes of the Fed’s June 21-22 meeting released Tuesday.

Others expressed concerns about inflation and said the central bank would need to take steps to begin removing its low-interest rate policies “sooner than currently anticipated.”

The minutes highlighted a division at the Fed between those officials who are most worried that the economy is growing too slowly, including Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, and some regional bank presidents who are concerned that the Fed’s policies will lead to high inflation.

IRS

Agency: 100,000 preparers don’t follow new rules

The Internal Revenue Service says 100,000 paid tax preparers who worked on 2011 returns did not follow new rules requiring them to register with the agency.

The IRS launched an initiative last year to better police a largely unregulated industry used by most taxpayers. All paid tax preparers must get an identification number from the IRS and provide it on returns they prepare. They will eventually have to pass a competency exam and get annual training.

The agency said it is sending letters to 100,000 preparers who signed 2011 returns but did not provide proper identification numbers.

Some 712,000 tax preparers have registered so far. The rules do not apply to certified public accountants, lawyers or enrolled agents because they already are regulated through their professions.

IRELAND

Country’s bond rating cut to junk

BRUSSELS — Moody’s Investors Service says it has downgraded Ireland’s government bond ratings to junk because of a growing risk the highly indebted country will need a second bailout in which private investors will be hurt.

The rating agency cut Ireland’s rating by one notch to “Ba1” from “Baa3” and kept a negative outlook. The downgrade follows a similar move on Portugal’s debt last week.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive that oversees Ireland’s exiting bailout, immediately criticized the downgrade, saying “it contrasts very much with the recent data, which support a return to GDP growth this year, and the determined implementation of the [bailout] program by the Irish government.”

The downgrade comes as concern over the eurozone debt crisis reached a new high this week.

From wire dispatches and staff reports