Midwest Memo: Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Chrysler headquarters in Michigan. Photo by fiatontheweb via flickr.

Michigan based automaker Chrysler says it plans to pay back the government bailout it received during the recession by the end of June. Chrysler received $7.4 billion in loans from the U.S. and Canadian governments. The company said they will pay back the remaining $6.6 billion it still owes as long as economic conditions remain steady. U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was one of the chief architects of the government loans given to Chrysler and GM. He will be making an appearance at the Detroit Economic Club today. Geithner will discuss economic matters with local political, business, and community leaders.


Rising gas prices have slowed economic recovery nationwide. Photo by Kristen Steele via Flickr.

The national recovery slowed down sharply in the first quarter of this year. That’s thanks to rising gas prices, delayed construction projects due to bad weather, and the federal government’s cuts to defense spending. Nonetheless, the Commerce Department said today that the economy grew by 1.8 percent annual rate during the last three months.

The number of people seeking unemployment benefits jumped by 25,000 to a seasonally adjusted 429,000 last week. That’s the highest it’s been since the end of January. At the height of the recession, 659,000 people were asking for unemployment benefits.

Benton Harbor, the first Michigan city to use the state’s new emergency manager laws may be out of the red. Joe Harris, the state-appointed emergency manager for Benton Harbor said that the city will have a budget surplus next year. Benton Harbor has taken center stage in the debate over how much power should be given, if any, to emergency managers.

Chicago Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel told an audience full of members of the Chicago arts community that they too would have to share in the city’s sacrifice. That means things like non-profits having to pay for water, something they are currently exempt from. Emanuel emphasized how significant he thinks the arts are to the success of a city.

Chicago Mayor-Elect Rahm Emanuel. Photo: Micki Maynard

Some Indiana politicians have suggested easing the pain felt at the pump by suspending the state’s gasoline tax. Gas prices have passed the $4 a gallon mark there too, and some lawmakers say taking the 40 cent per gallon tax off over the summer months would help people get to work.

Chicago-based Exelon Corp. is buying Constellation Energy Group Inc. for $7.9 billion in a deal announced today. Constellation shareholders will get 0.93 shares of Exelon for every Constellation share they own. The deal is expected to close early next year.

Cleveland based greeting card manufacturer American Greetings saw its profits slip 17.6 percent to $15.5 million in the last quarter of 2010. The company said sales and profits slipped in the fourth quarter because of one-time expenses, though both sales and profits were up for the company overall during 2010.




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