Forecast gloomy for Augusta area
ATLANTA — The Augusta metro area will see a 0.5 percent decline in jobs this year and add only 0.2 percent in 2013, according to the Economic Forecasting Center at Georgia State University.
Between April and July, metro Augusta lost 1,000 jobs, the fifth consecutive quarter of decline locally.
So far for the year, retailers issued the most pink slips (800), followed by factories and builders (1,200 combined). Gains came mainly in the education/health sector (1,020), according to the center.
The area’s unemployment rate rose to 9.3 percent, topping the state rate of 8.9 and worse than the state’s other metropolitan areas except for Albany, Dalton and Macon.
The center forecasts 1.1 percent job growth for Georgia and unemployment around 9.2 percent for the next two years.
Fed likely to boost bond-buying effort
WASHINGTON — Federal Reserve officials signaled Wednesday that they may be ready to launch a new bond buying program when they next meet in September.
The goal would be to try to lower long-term interest rates to encourage more borrowing and spending.
Minutes of the July 31-Aug. 1 policy meeting released Wednesday don’t explicitly say what action the Fed would most likely take. But they hint that the central bank is preparing to begin more bond buying.
T-Mobile revives unlimited data
NEW YORK — T-Mobile USA, the nation’s fourth-largest cellphone company, said Wednesday that it will start selling an unlimited-data plan again on Sept. 5, after stopping sales of such plans early last year. A day earlier, No. 5 carrier MetroPCS cut the price of its unlimited-data plan as a promotion for a limited time.
The moves by T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS, neither of which sells the iPhone, come as their three larger rivals are thought to be gearing up to begin selling the iPhone 5 in a month or so.
No. 3 carrier Sprint Nextel Corp. already has an unlimited-data plan and credits that with helping it attract customers for its smartphones.