- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 11, 2014


Yellen to investors: Expect continuity at the Fed

WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen sought Tuesday to reassure investors that she will embrace the approach to interest-rate policy that her predecessor, Ben Bernanke, pursued before he stepped down as chairman last month.

Yellen told Congress that if the economy keeps improving, the Fed will take “further measured steps” to reduce the support it’s providing through bond purchases.

In her first public comments since taking over the top Fed job last week, Yellen said she expects a “great deal of continuity” with Bernanke. She signaled that she supports his view that the economy is strengthening enough to withstand a pullback in stimulus but that rates should stay low to further improve a still-lackluster economy.

Yellen’s remarks to a House committee suggested that the Fed will keep its key short-term rate near zero for a prolonged period. Her message of continuity at the Fed was a reassuring one for investors, and it contributed to a major rally on Wall Street.


Widest earnings gap for college grads in 48 years

WASHINGTON (AP) - The earnings gap between young adults with and without bachelor’s degrees has stretched to its widest level in nearly half a century. It’s a sign of the growing value of a college education despite rising tuition costs, according to an analysis of census data released Tuesday.

Young adults with just a high-school diploma earned 62 percent of the typical salary of college graduates. That’s down from 81 percent in 1965, the earliest year for which comparable data are available.

The analysis by the Pew Research Center shows the increasing economic difficulties for young adults who lack a bachelor’s degree in today’s economy that’s polarized between high- and low-wage work. As a whole, high-school graduates were more likely to live in poverty and be dissatisfied with their jobs, if not unemployed.


Wiggle room for big firms under new coverage rule

WASHINGTON (AP) - Big stores, hotels, restaurants and other companies with lots of low-wage and part-time workers will be among the main beneficiaries of the Obama administration’s latest tweak to health care rules.

Consultants and government officials say companies with 100 or more workers can avoid the biggest of two potential employer penalties in the Affordable Care Act if they offer coverage to 70 percent of their full-timers.

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