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U.S. economy grew anemically in third quarter

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The economy grew at a slightly faster pace over the summer as Americans spent a little more freely.

The government reported Friday morning that the economy expanded at a 2-percent annual rate in the July-September quarter. It marked a slight improvement from the feeble 1.7-percent growth in the April-June quarter. Still, the economy isn't growing at a strong enough pace to make a noticeable dent in high unemployment.

Consumers boosted spending at a 2.6-percent pace. That marked the biggest quarterly increase since a 4.1-percent gain at the end of 2006 before the recession hit.

In addition, employment costs posted another modest gain in the July-to-September quarter with compensation for state and local government employees turning in the weakest performance in nearly three decades.

Employment costs for civilian workers rose 0.4 percent in the third quarter and are up just 1.9 percent for the 12 months ending in September, the Labor Department reported Friday. High unemployment following a deep recession continues to depress workers' bargaining power.

State and local government workers, who have been battered by shrinking budgets, fared even worse than employees of private industry. Their compensation was flat in the third quarter and up only 1.7 percent in the past 12 months.

Both were the weakest showings on records that go back 28 years.

The 1.9-percent 12-month rise in compensation for all civilian workers was little changed from a 1.8-percent increase for the 12 months ending in June. Those gains are significantly below the 3.3-percent increase for the 12 months ending in December 2007, the month the recession began.

With more than 8 million jobs lost from December 2007 to December of last year, employees have not had the bargaining power to demand higher wages.

For the third quarter, wages and salaries for civilian workers rose 0.4 percent, matching the second quarter increase, while benefits were up 0.5 percent, also the same as the April-to-June quarter.

Wages and salaries make up 70 percent of employee compensation while benefits, which include health insurance and pensions, make up the other 30 percent.

For state and local workers, the flat reading on total compensation in the third quarter reflected a 0.3-percent drop in wages and salaries and a 0.7-percent rise in benefits.

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  • Stimulus working in spite of GOP
    This is remarkable in light of the GOP organized plan to undermind the economy and make it fail just to get a political advantage in the election.

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  1. A Tilted Kilt at a water park themed hotel? Who planned that one? I guess the Dad's need something to do while the kids are on the water slides.

  2. Don't come down on the fair for offering drinks. This is a craft and certainly one that belongs in agriculture due to ingredients. And for those worrying about how much you can drink. I'm sure it's more to do with liability than anything else. They don't want people suing for being over served. If you want a buzz, do a little pre-drinking before you go.

  3. I don't drink but go into this "controlled area" so my friend can drink. They have their 3 drink limit and then I give my friend my 3 drink limit. How is the fair going to control this very likely situation????

  4. I feel the conditions of the alcohol sales are a bit heavy handed, but you need to realize this is the first year in quite some time that beer & wine will be sold at the fair. They're starting off slowly to get a gauge on how it will perform this year - I would assume if everything goes fine that they relax some of the limits in the next year or couple of years. That said, I think requiring the consumption of alcohol to only occur in the beer tent is a bit much. That is going to be an awkward situation for those with minors - "Honey, I'm getting a beer... Ok, sure go ahead... Alright see you in just a min- half an hour."

  5. This might be an effort on the part of the State Fair Board to manage the risk until they get a better feel for it. However, the blanket notion that alcohol should not be served at "family oriented" events is perhaps an oversimplification. and not too realistic. For 15 years, I was a volunteer at the Indianapolis Air Show, which was as family oriented an event as it gets. We sold beer donated by Monarch Beverage Company and served by licensed and trained employees of United Package Liquors who were unpaid volunteers. And where did that money go? To central Indiana children's charities, including Riley Hospital for Children! It's all about managing the risk.

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