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Recessions and depressions

US unemployment falls to 7-year low, but wages are flat

US unemployment falls to 7-year low, but paychecks remain flat, and many job-seekers give up
Christopher S. Rugaber, The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - U.S. unemployment fell to a seven-year low of 5.3 per cent and employers hired at a solid pace in June, but other gauges of the job market drew a bleaker picture: A wave of people stopped looking for work, and paychecks failed to budge.

The figures released Thursday capture the persistently uneven nature of the recovery from the Great Recession.

The job market "remains consistent with a two-steps-forward, one-step-back expansion the U.S. economy finds itself in," said Scott Andersen, chief economist at Bank of the West.

Parliament approves referendum; Greece's future in balance

Greek parliament OKs referendum proposal; country faces critical week as future in balance
Raf Casert And Elena Becatoros, The Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece - Greece's parliament voted early Sunday in favour of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' motion to hold a July 5 referendum on creditor proposals for reforms in exchange for loans, with the country's future in the eurozone looking increasingly shaky.

Retail sales weaken in Dec. but cap a record year

Retail sales inch up to end record year; holiday-season layoffs boost unemployment claims
Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - America's retailers enjoyed a record 2011 and their first $400 billion sales months ever. But the final month of the year was a dud.

Sales eked out a 0.1 per cent increase in December, to a seasonally adjusted $400.6 billion.

It was the second straight month that sales topped $400 billion. Revised government data showed that sales in November also surpassed that level.

Skyscraper boom may herald downturn

Pride cometh before a fall: Skyscraper boom may herald economic downturn
Erika Kinetz, The Associated Press

MUMBAI, India - A skyscraper building boom in China and India may be a sign of an impending economic correction in two of Asia's largest economies, according to a new report by Barclays Capital.

Barclays has mapped an "unhealthy correlation" between construction of the world's tallest buildings and impending financial crises over the last 140 years.

Today, China is home to half of the world's skyscrapers — defined as buildings over 240 metres tall — currently under construction.

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