Home' A Plus Magazine : April 2013 Contents 6 April 2013
The unemployment rate in the
United States fell in February
to a new four-year low of 7.7
percent as employers added a
jobs over the month.
The U.S. labour department
said last month that the new job-
less rate, which declined from
7.9 percent in January, was the
lowest since December 2008,
when the unemployment figure
was 7.3 percent.
Although some of the rate
drop was the result of workers
leaving the labour force, the im-
provement reflected a rebound-
ing housing market and solid
gains across a broad swath of
industries, the Los Angeles Times
The strong job growth shows
that employers are positive
about the economy despite
higher taxes and government
spending cuts, The Associated
Press commented, adding that
optimism over hiring has helped
bolster U.S. stock markets.
“Fundamentally, we are
getting on a little better footing
right now,” Omair Sharif, an
economist at the Royal Bank of
Scotland in Stamford, Connecti-
cut, toldtheChicago Tribune.
Growth was led by the
construction sector, which
added 48,000 jobs in February,
the most in a single month since
March 2007, the data showed.
The strengthening housing
market lifted other sectors: em-
ployment in financial ser vices
benefited from the addition of
nearly 9,000 new jobs at real
estate and leasing offices.
Furniture makers and
retailers, and architectural and
engineering services all boosted
payrolls, while the healthcare
and restaurant sectors contin-
ued to expand at a strong pace.
This is the 29th month in a
row that the U.S. has added jobs.
On average, 183,000 jobs were
added each month of 2012.
puts oil deals
in the spotlight
As Venezuela mourns the death
last month of its president, Hugo
Chávez, analysts are evaluating
the potential economic impact of
a change of regime on the oil-rich
South American nation.
BBC News reported of a possi-
ble end to Venezuela selling oil to
nearby countries at below market
prices. Chávez was instrumental
in signing deals with trading
partners – notably Cuba, Haiti,
Nicaragua and Bolivia – that al-
lowed them to pay off Venezuelan
petroleum at low interest rates
and through in-kind goods from
food to apparel.
Overall, Chávez’s death will
cause no more than a momentary
blip in the oil market, the Finan-
cial Times commented.
Venezuela has the largest
oil reser ves in the world, the
International Energy Agency has
Cyprus reaches deal on bailout
after tense negotiations with EU
Default averted but island faces deep recession
Housing recovery helps U.S. jobless rate fall to four-year low
Cyprus sealed a €10 billion
financial bailout deal last month
with its fellow members of the
European Union to avert a bank-
ing collapse and keep the country
in the euro currency bloc.
President Nicos Anastasia-
des, who assumed office only in
February, flew to Brussels for the
emergency talks with European
The agreement followed an
earlier deal involving a bank lev y
on depositors, which was unani-
mously rejected by the Cypriot
parliament. The legislature will
not be required to vote on the
Under the terms of the deal,
holders of large deposits in the
island’s biggest lenders – Laiki
Bank and Bank of Cyprus – would
face losses of up to 40 percent.
Deposits of less than €100,000
would be fully secured.
Analysts said the Cypriot
economy could contract by 10
percent or more as a result of the
financial crisis and bailout.
Interest rates of up to 4.75
percent attracted deposits from
abroad that eventually accumu-
lated to 835 percent of Cyprus’s
gross domestic product by 2011.
Cypriot banks had heavily in-
vested in Greek bonds. When
Greece was bailed out, the
value of the bonds was cut in
half and the interest rate that
those bonds were paying fell
to 3.5 percent.
Billions of dollars in
Russian assets, much of it
believed to be the proceeds of
criminal enterprises, money
laundering and embezzle-
ment from the state, is be-
lieved to have been deposited
Cyprus’s central bank has
said Russian deposits range from
€5 billion to €10 billion. Russian
officials and business people
have denied they launder money
through Cyprus and slammed
the latest bailout plan. Dmitry
Medvedev, the Russian prime
minister, said the EU’s policy was
to “plunder” Russian assets.
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