Poverty rate increases in 2011 The poverty rate has increased in most US cities as the overall poverty rate increased from 14.3 percent in 2009 to 15.3 percent in 2011. The state with the highest poverty rate, according to Reuters, is Mississippi at 22.4 percent. New Hampshire has the lowest poverty rate at 8.3 percent. In 2010, 3.3 million Americans, or 2.9 percent, received some type of public assistance, up 300,000 from 2009. Dow up slightly on Thursday The markets continue to act like a roller coaster. During each day's trading the markets are extremely volatile but generally close within the same range due to the dual forces of Eurozone debt versus strong earnings announcements. The Dow ended up 37 points on Thursday closing at 11,541. The Wall Street Journal reports that Merkel and Sarkozy, the leaders of France and Germany, have delayed a Eurozone announcement until Wednesday. Thus markets are expected to continue to fluctuate based on rumors until that time. Markets in Asia and Europe are up only slightly on Friday. Fed reserve officials pushing QE3 In recent speeches, at least two of the Federal Reserve leaders, are pushing the Fed to consider additional quantitative easing, or bond purchases, to ease the economy, according to Reuters. QE3 would focus on the repurchase of mortgage bonds. The initiative has not been supported by other Fed Reserve officials in the past. Standard and Poors to downgrade multiple US countries The Wall Street Journal reports that it is likely to downgrade the credit ratings of many European countries as the Eurozone sinks into recession. The countries identified by Standard and Poors include France, Spain, Italy, Ireland, and Portugal. The Nordic countries and Germany appear safe from the downgrade. GroupOn seeking to raise $540 million In an attempt to raise $540 million, GroupOn has filed for an IPO, according to CNBC. The company tried to unsuccessfully raise $750 million in its first attempt. The company has been forced to change its accounting methodology twice and has gone through two Chief Operating Officers within the last twelve months. Shares are anticipated to sell for $16-$18 per share. Gap opens first store in Poland In an effort to enter the Central European Market, Gap has opened its first store in Poland, according to USA Today. Gap hopes to increase its global franchise from 200 to 400 stores worldwide, even as it is forced to close some stores in the US. Time to increase your 401k contribution The IRS has released the rates that identify the maximum amounts that can be contributed to your 401k in 2012. The maximum amount for 2012 is $17,000.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.