News Column

U.S. Economy Added 297,000 Jobs in December, According to ADP

January 5, 2011



Automatic Data Processing Inc. said Wednesday the U.S. economy added 297,000 jobs in December, nearly three times more than economists expected.

In Portugal, The New York Times reported, borrowing costs headed higher as it sold $662 million in six-month treasury notes, with average interest rates at 3.69 percent, far higher than a September issue that included yields of 2.05 percent.

In Washington, the Federal Reserve said through released minutes of a Dec. 14 meeting it would press forward with its $600 billion long-term securities purchasing program, despite signs of rising interest rates, which is sure to slow borrowing, already one of the major crinkles of the financial meltdown.

But isn't it more fun to talk about gadgets?

Yes, at the Consumer Electronic Show just under way in Las Vegas, 3-D televisions are old news, but ESPN 3-D is set to announce its ESPN 3-D channel will start broadcasting 24/7, and maybe your neighborhood is next. Most journalists don't remember the first television set in their neighborhoods, but some do. (Ahem.) Now televisions are merging with the Internet, which more journalists remember seeing in its diaper days. The last frontier is no longer space, it's home entertainment where only the exceedingly clever survive, and even if that isn't true, it should be hanging from a banner in Las Vegas, anyway.

Is it too late to ask for a phone that doesn't make

Alexander Graham Bell blush? Way too late.

Gadgets, like insects, are prone to huge batches of offspring -- swarms of cell phones, anyone? -- that evolve just as fast. There is a bug -- a microbe, really -- that can digest oil, having been developed in about six years in a laboratory, but even if it was engineered, in Darwinian terms, six years is a sprint, a blink of an eye.

Cell phones, two decades or so in existence, are now taking over the world. That's not even a metaphor. They are the electronic equivalent of locust.

But the merger of television and the Internet is the story of big business and the further it goes, the more likely television cable companies will find themselves cut out of the loop. Subscribers shelling out $70 per month for reruns of "Roseanne" will become a thing of the past as the Internet is cheaper.

Industry analysts say 2011 will be a breakthrough year when merger between television and the Internet becomes "obvious," said Phil Wiser, co-founder and president of Sezmi, already a bi-medium company.

Consumers potentially will be watching the Super Bowl while a stream of packaged Twitter tweets will scroll across the screen, because everyone will want to know in real time what Fred Knuckles thinks of the Giant's flying wedge formation in the second half of the game. (Presuming it will be the Giants, right?)

Mr. Knuckles, of course, will be watching the game and typing at the same time, while watching the scenery roll by, because he is doing all this from the passenger seat of his Mom's car. Or maybe he is driving a Google car, having plugged in his destination on a global positioning system, which allows him to drive without touching the wheel or the gas pedal.

"A flying wedge formation! Impossible!" Mr. Knuckles types. "That's going backwards."

In international markets Wednesday, the Nikkei 225 index lost 0.17 percent while the Shanghai composite index in China gave up 0.49 percent. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong added 0.38 percent while the Sensex in India shed 0.96 percent.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.58 percent.

In midday trading in Europe, the FTSE 100 index in Britain was flat, falling 0.08 percent while the DAX 30 in Germany lost 1.01 percent. The CAC 40 in France lost 0.82 percent while the Stoxx Europe 600 lost 0.39 percent.

Source: Copyright United Press International 2011

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