The federal government reported a rare surplus for January and is on track to run the lowest annual deficit since President Barack Obama took office.
The Treasury Department said Tuesday that the government took in a surplus of $2.9 billion in January, helped by nearly $9 billion more in Social Security taxes. Last month Congress and the White House allowed a temporary cut in Social Security taxes to expire.
Through the first four months of the 2013 budget year, the deficit has grown $290.4 billion. That’s nearly $60 billion lower than the same period a year ago.
Malt liquor Four Loko plans to settle with FTC
WASHINGTON – The makers of a popular carbonated alcoholic drink guzzled on college campuses are going to be changing the look of its Four Loko cans to settle the government’s charges of deceptive marketing.
The Federal Trade Commission said Tuesday that Chicago-based Phusion Projects will be required to put an “alcohol facts panel” on the back of flavored malt beverage cans containing more than two servings of alcohol. The panel would disclose the alcohol by volume and the number of servings in the container.
Phusion also will have to redesign cans of drinks containing more than 2 1/2 servings of alcohol so they can be resealed.
The FTC had accused Phusion of implying in ads that its supersized 23.5-ounce can of Four Loko was equal to one or two regular 12-ounce beers. In fact, the agency says, the can – which contains up to 12 percent alcohol – is really more like four to five beers.
Four Loko gained national attention in 2010 after the hospitalization of college students in New Jersey and Washington state.
Job openings, hiring down in December
WASHINGTON – Employers advertised fewer jobs in December and cut back on hiring, suggesting many were cautious at the end of the year.
Job openings dropped 4.6 percent in December from November to 3.62 million, the Labor Department said Tuesday. November’s openings were revised higher.
Employers hired 4.2 million people, a 4.8 percent drop and the fewest in a year.
One positive sign: Employers cut just 1.57 million jobs, the fewest layoffs on records dating back to 2001.
The Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey, also known as JOLTS, calculates total hiring, layoffs and quits.
Man gets 6 years for fixing tomato prices
A man who built one of California’s most successful tomato-farming companies was sentenced to six years in prison Tuesday for scheming to inflate tomato prices and deceiving consumers about his products’ quality.
Frederick Scott Salyer, former owner of SK Foods, was accused of bribing buyers to pay inflated prices.