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Obama, Congress focus on unemployment benefits
Obama, Congress focus on unemployment benefits Katherine Hackett, an unemployed Connecticut woman who introduced Obama, called the benefits “absolutely essential” to covering her necessities, such as her mortgage and health care, as she looked for work. She said she's cut expenses and “is not just 

Mel Watt becomes new chief overseeing Fannie, Freddie
Eulada Watt looks on in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building of the White House, January 6, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/MCT) Watt, 68, said in a statement he was “honored” to lead the little known, but very

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State of the Union: Trump can tout economy's strength in speech, but headwinds ahead

U.S. businesses are defying those headwinds, for now. Many analysts attribute the economy's current health to Trump's tax cuts in late 2017 and a jump in government spending last year, as part of a budget deal between the administration and Congress.

"No other major economy in the world did what we did," said Ethan Harris, global economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. "The stimulus did a very good job of covering up all the blemishes of the economy, including the risks of the trade war."

Economic growth reached 3.8 percent last spring and summer, the fastest six-month pace in four years. It also accelerated job gains at a time when many economists expected hiring to slow. With the unemployment rate already low, analysts figured that companies would have fewer unemployed people to hire.

Yet employers stepped up their hiring and drove the unemployment rate down to 3.7 percent in November, the lowest in five decades. It has since ticked up to 4 percent, partly because of government workers who were temporarily unemployed because of the shutdown.

'A daily struggle': Veterans in federal workforce feel effects of government shutdown

WASHINGTON — Army veteran David Shanley-Dillman, a project leader with the U.S. Forest Service in rural Michigan, just wants to get back to work.

The 53-year-old has been furloughed since Dec. 22 because of the partial government shutdown that has closed several federal agencies. He and his wife have depleted their savings, are living off credit cards and plan to ask family members to borrow money for their mortgage.

“It’s tough. It’s kind of dire,” Shanley-Dillman said Wednesday. “We’re trying to be very conservative about what we pay. We’re wondering which bills we should pay and which ones we should wait with and just take the late fees. It’s not good.”

On Wednesday, the shutdown entered its 19th day, making it the second-longest in U.S. history.

It started when President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats hit an impasse over funding for border security, specifically Trump’s request for $5.7 billion to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

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