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Learn from developing nations, Bernanke says

WASHINGTON — Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says the United States and other rich nations could re-learn a few lessons from developing countries: Adopt disciplined budget policies, embrace free trade, make public investments and support education.

Bernanke’s speech about the explosion of growth in the developing world was largely academic. But in his conclusion, he appears to criticize U.S. lawmakers and others in developed countries who he says have failed to embrace some key economic principles.

Bernanke has cautioned U.S. lawmakers against cutting deficits too quickly to reduce budget deficits. He has said that could put the fragile economy at risk.

Durable goods orders are positive indicator

WASHINGTON — Companies ordered more machinery, computers and communication equipment in August, a positive sign for the slumping U.S. economy.

An increase in demand for longer-lasting factory goods suggests businesses are sticking with their investment plans, despite slow growth and weak consumer spending.

Overall orders for durable goods slipped 0.1 percent last month. The modest decline was largely due to an 8.5 percent drop in orders for autos and auto parts. In July, demand for those goods surged 10.2 percent – the biggest increase in eight years.

Economists looked past the headline figure and focused more closely on a 1.1 percent increase in a key category that measures business investment plans. Those are core capital goods that are neither used for defense nor transportation.

Another bright sign: shipments of those goods rose 2.8 percent, the fourth consecutive gain.

– From wire reports


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Grad rates show improvement by local school systems

Graduation rates in both Richmond and Columbia counties followed the statewide trend of slow and steady increases in 2014, although progress in individual schools varied greatly.
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