-Nearly 20% of US Workers Underemployed in Jan
Nearly 20 percent of the U.S. workforce lacked adequate employment in January and struggled to make ends meet with reduced resources and bleak job prospects, according to a Gallup poll released Tuesday.
In findings that appear to paint a darker employment picture than official U.S. data, Gallup estimated that about 30 million Americans are underemployed, meaning either jobless or able to find only part-time work.
Underemployed people spent 36 percent less on household purchases than their fully employed neighbors in January, while six out of 10 were not hopeful about their chances of finding adequate work in the coming month, the poll said.
-Consumer Confidence Falls to 10-Month Low in February
-FDIC Says Number of Problem Banks Jumped 27%The number of "problem" U.S. banks jumped 27 percent during the fourth quarter of 2009 to 702, the highest level since 1993 and a sign the industry's recovery remains uneven, regulators reported Tuesday.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp said the industry overall eked out a profit of $914 million for the quarter, benefiting from a healing economy, but said the improvement was concentrated in the largest banks.
FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair said the profit was a huge improvement over the $37.8 billion loss the industry reported in the fourth quarter of 2008. "It's not that this was a strong quarter. It's simply that everything was so bad a year ago," Bair said in a statement.
She later told reporters that although the number of problem banks "sounds scary," she described the bank industry as "challenged but stable."
Smaller institutions are still struggling with deteriorating loan portfolios, especially with loans tied to commercial real estate. The FDIC set aside an additional $17.8 billion during the fourth quarter for expected bank failures.
Regulators have closed 20 U.S. banks so far this year and 185 since January 2008, as banks continue to struggle with loan portfolios stocked with souring loans.
The additional provisions for expected bank failures sunk the balance of the FDIC's insurance fund even further to a negative $20.9 billion at the end of the year.