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Patrice Hill

Articles by Patrice Hill

**FILE** A clerk straightens out her display at a shoe store in Salem, N.H., on Sept. 10, 2012. (Associated Press)

Consumer confidence, home prices on the rise

Consumer confidence perked up this month while home prices posted their third straight month of gains in the latest signs that the economy continues to slowly but steadily improve. Published September 25, 2012

In this Friday, Sept. 7, 2012, photo, WorkForce One staffer Rose Capote-Marcus works with a client, Pen Osuji as he works on job applications at the Hollywood, Fla. unemployment office. The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell by 3,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 382,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

Workforce dropouts: Frustrated, retired or lack skills

Jobless rates are down both because some people are finding work and because some people have stopped trying, economists say. The big question: Who are all these people who have given up, driving the share of able-bodied Americans in the labor force to a 30-year low of 63.5 percent last month? Published September 20, 2012

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke speaks during a news conference in Washington on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012, following the Federal Open Market Committee meeting to present the FOMC's current economic projections and to provide additional context for the FOMC's policy decision. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

GOP sees Fed move as a ploy in the election

The Federal Reserve took aggressive action Thursday to try to reinvigorate the economy and generate more jobs, announcing a major program of purchasing $40 billion a month in mortgage bonds that it hopes will drive down interest rates to record lows and spur faster growth. Published September 13, 2012

**FILE** A statue of former Treasury Secretary Albert Gallatin stands outside the Treasury Building in Washington on Aug. 8, 2011. (Associated Press)

Moody's warns of downgrade from AAA without budget deal

Moody's Investors Service on Tuesday warned that it will downgrade the U.S. government's AAA credit rating if Congress and the newly installed president next year fail to produce a major budget agreement that stabilizes and reduces the U.S. debt. Published September 11, 2012

Judy Smith of Dalton, Ga., looks over paperwork as she files for unemployment for the first time since being laid off from a catering job. Though the unemployment rate dropped to 8.1 percent in August, pushed down by 368,000 dropping out of the labor force, job growth remains subpar and will not be enough to put millions back to work. (Associated Press)

Economic recovery sending mixed signals before election

President Obama heads into the final weeks of his re-election campaign getting little support from an economy that is growing weakly and remains threatened by political turmoil at home and economic distress overseas. Published September 9, 2012

China's currency reforms may make 'get tough' promise moot

Presidential candidates of both parties like to score points with voters by promising to get tough with China, but recent evidence suggests that currency reforms quietly adopted by the Asian giant since 2005 have come close to eliminating the biggest trade distortion and bone of contention between the two countries. Published September 5, 2012

Terri Doring lost her secretarial job at a Philadelphia law firm in 2009. She now is on the verge of losing much of what remains of her middle-class lifestyle and is scrambling to make mortgage payments on her town house. (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

The Mean Economy: Even law firms hit hard by recession

Terri A. Doring used to take her comfortable middle-class lifestyle for granted. She figured that as a legal secretary at a well-regarded law firm here, she always would have plenty of work and get paid well for doing it. Published August 27, 2012

Offshoring: Coming to a small business near you

Large corporations have been reaping the harvest of profits and efficiency gains from automation and outsourcing for years, but many small businesses, which do not enjoy the same economies of scale, have missed out. Published August 26, 2012

**FILE** Shoppers in New York pass signs for discounted clothing sales on July 19, 2012. (Associated Press)

July surge in spending fraught with caution

U.S. consumers snapped out of a spring funk last month and went on a shopping spree. That sent sales at department stores, restaurants, auto showrooms and other retailers soaring by 0.8 percent, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday morning. Published August 14, 2012

** FILE ** In this Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012, photo, New York Stock Exchange Senior Compliance Associate Matthew Pizzo, an Air Force veteran who has law and business degrees, works in his office at the New York Stock Exchange. Pizzo had gone two years without work, until recently, as he is now finishing his first week of work at the exchange. U.S. employers added 163,000 jobs in July, a hopeful sign after three months of sluggish hiring. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

U.S. economy adds 163,000 jobs; rate rises to 8.3%

The labor market improved last month after a soft spell in the spring, with businesses creating 163,000 more jobs in a wide range of occupations from health care to manufacturing, the Labor Department reported Friday morning. Published August 3, 2012

**FILE** Worker Maria Contrero removes an elite running shoe from a sole press May 1, 2012, during the assembly process at the New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc. factory in Boston. (Associated Press)

Economic growth slowed to 1.5 percent in spring

U.S. economic growth slowed to a crawl in the spring quarter, trudging ahead at a 1.5 percent annual rate after falling off to 2 percent in the first quarter of the year, the Commerce Department reported Friday morning. Published July 27, 2012

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (center), Virginia Republican, walks July 11, 2012, from the House floor on Capitol Hill as he manages the vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act. (Associated Press)

Employers work on health mandate

Now that the Supreme Court has upheld most of President Obama's health care law, U.S. businesses by and large appear skeptical about Republican attempts to repeal the law and are rushing to comply with it, surveys show. Published July 19, 2012

** FILE ** In this June 13, 2012, file photo, job seekers have their resumes reviewed at a job fair expo in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

Economy is in the eye of the policy beholder

Reading the economy these days is like taking a Rorschach test: Optimists see signs of progress in each economic report, while pessimists see the end of the expansion and many others host middling views. Published July 8, 2012

**FILE** A person walks Feb. 15, 2012, on the University at Buffalo campus in Buffalo, N.Y. (Associated Press)

College grads find big degree of debt, difficulty

The Great Recession sent millions of Americans scurrying back to school to improve their chances of securing jobs. But the difficulty that recent college graduates have had finding work — after taking on unprecedented loads of debt — has sparked a lively debate about whether a college degree opens doors the way it once did in the job market. Published July 5, 2012

** FILE ** Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke

Federal Reserve extends program to prop up economy

The Federal Reserve on Wednesday afternoon signaled its concern about the weakening of the U.S. economy and extended a program aimed at holding down long-term interest rates to prop up growth. Published June 20, 2012