A spike in metal prices and a shortage of miners is opening up new prospects for high school graduates. While many students finalize their college plans, some in Western towns are being recruited to head underground. Although mining pays better than typical entry-level positions, it is still dangerous work.
The number of jobless claims for January 2012 was at the lowest point since March 2008. Businesses are reporting profits, buyers are reporting confidence. Diane Swonk, chief economist for Mesirow Financial, discusses whether it's safe to say an economic recovery has begun.
The automaker announced Thursday that it earned its largest profit ever in 2011 — $7.6 billion — citing strong sales in the U.S. and China. The company nearly collapsed two years ago and needed a bailout by the U.S. government, which still owns about 26 percent of the company.
The potential problem for Romney, however, is that even some Republicans, let alone Democrats and many independents, are likely to see GM's financial results as further vindication of the federal bailouts and Obama's approach.
The U.S. rating agency Moody's announced Thursday morning more downgrades are on the horizon — this time for nearly 20 global banks and dozens of additional European firms. Names like Morgan Stanley and UBS could see their long-term credit ratings affected. It's another indicator of the wide reach of Europe's debt crisis.
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