Biz Bits

Turnaround expected in federal borrowing


WASHINGTON --- The government's explosive borrowing has hit a turning point: It's expected to drop 18 percent this year after last year's record high.

The brighter picture is because of higher tax revenue and less government spending as the economy has improved.

The Obama administration still expects this year's deficit to set another high: $1.56 trillion. Even if, as expected, that number declines a bit when the administration issues a revised estimate this summer, it isn't likely to drop below $1.4 trillion -- last year's all-time record.

Owner starts hunting buyer for 'Newsweek'

NEW YORK --- The Washington Post Co. is putting Newsweek up for sale after two years of losses at the 77-year-old weekly magazine.

In its attempts to turn its fortunes around, Newsweek cut costs through voluntary buyouts that have reduced its staff by about a quarter; it ended 2009 with 427 employees. It also tried to better compete with more upscale magazines such as The Economist and The New Yorker with a complete redesign of its print and online editions last year. Neither step has done enough.

The Post Co. would not comment Wednesday on what would happen if no buyer steps up.

Service sector growth continues in April

NEW YORK --- The service sector expanded in April, with business activity accelerating at the strongest pace in four years.

The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing executives, said its service sector index read 55.4 in April, the same level as in March. It's the fourth consecutive month of growth.

Economists polled by Thomson Reuters had expected a stronger reading of 56. A level above 50 indicates growth.

The service sector accounts for 80 percent of U.S. jobs in areas such as health care, retail and financial services. It has lagged behind the smaller manufacturing sector in the recovery as consumers curtailed their spending.