Originally created 12/23/01

Pocket change



WASHINGTON - Mortgage rates rose last week.

The average interest rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages advanced to 7.17 percent Thursday, up from 7.09 percent the previous week, reports mortgage company Freddie Mac. Last week's rate was the highest since the week ending July 13, when 30-year mortgages averaged 7.21 percent.

Rates on 30-year mortgages fell to 6.45 percent in early November, the lowest level since Freddie Mac began conducting its nationwide survey in 1971.

Fifteen-year mortgages rose to 6.65 percent from 6.57 percent the week before.

Worker shortage

The Employment Policy Foundation insists that the nation will face a massive worker shortage over the next few decades.

It's not that the foundation doesn't realize that corporate America is shedding workers by the tens of thousands. The problem, the conservative think tank says, will be the supply of highly skilled employees in the future, when more and more U.S. jobs will depend on sophisticated training.

"Fifty-two percent of today's jobs require at least some college or post-secondary training," foundation President Ed Potter says. "It will be 65 percent 30 years from now."

The consequences of an undertrained work force range from a reduced standard of living to inflation to erosion of the U.S. industrial base, he says.