The U.S. Labor Department said Friday that the unemployment rate hit 5.7 percent in January, but does that rate tell the real story?» Read More
Fewer shoppers are feeling the love this Valentine's Day.
Following holiday season woes that the retail industry has failed to shake in the new year, the National Retail Federation said it expects Valentine's Day spending to reach $17.3 billion in 2014. That's a decline of about 7 percent from last year's tab of $18.6 billion.
(Read more: High-tech Valentine's Day gifts for your sweetheart)
"Consumers can expect Cupid's holiday to resemble the promotional holiday season we saw just a few months ago, as retailers recognize that their customers are still looking for the biggest bang for their buck," said federation President Matthew Shay.
The winter of 2013-2014 was already bad enough before Thursday's storm threatened another foot of snow for much of the East Coast.
And it's not just you and your aching back: The maps prove there's a lot more snow in a lot more places this year than last.
Another massive winter storm is bearing down on the southeastern and eastern United States, making an already bad season that much worse.
Airlines and passengers have already lost billions of dollars on flight cancellations, while cities and towns have used up their salt and blown their overtime budgets.
And that doesn't even count the damage ice and snow have done to homes and cars.
The U.S. Labor Department said Friday that the unemployment rate fell to 6.6 percent in January—but does that rate tell the real story?
A number of economists look past the "main" unemployment rate to a different figure the Bureau of Labor Statistics calls "U-6," which it defines as "total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of all civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers."
In other words, the unemployed, the underemployed and the discouraged — a rate that still remains high.
It stands to reason that the people who want to purchase a high-end fur coat right off the runway are often the same ones who are gambling on the stock market.
As such, there has long been a correlation between the sentiment of affluent consumers—who may covet the brands on display during New York Fashion Week—and stock market performance.
Unity Marketing, a firm that specializes in providing business insights into the luxury consumer, conducts a quarterly survey among the top 20 percent of U.S. households based on income, which typically starts at about $100,000. To participate, the households must have purchased a luxury good or service in the past three months.
(Read more: Michael Kors rally won't set a retail trend)
The survey asks these affluent consumers a series of questions—including how they feel about their financial status now and in the future, and how they feel about the direction of the country. A statistician then compiles the responses to pull together a figure representative of the group's confidence, which is known as the Luxury Consumption Index (LCI).
A score of 100 is the baseline from when the survey began in 2004.
GM says it's on track to break even in Europe by 2015, but it will have lost a lot of money on the way there.
The company posted another quarter of European losses on Thursday and faced tough questions about whether it could turn that business around. Executives say yes, while acknowledging the road there has been difficult.
It's getting cheaper and cheaper to buy a big house.
The latest weekly applications data from the Mortgage Bankers Association shows a widening gap between the rate on so-called conforming mortgages ($417,000 or less) and jumbo mortgages (those above $417,000).
If your boss is getting on your case for missing deadlines at work, tell her your track record isn't nearly as bad as federal financial regulators.
More than three years ago, Congress passed the sweeping, 850-page Dodd-Frank overhaul of the rule book that bankers, brokers and the rest of the financial services industry is supposed to play by. But to date, only about half of those new rules have been completed by the dozen or so agencies in charge of writing and enforcing them. About a quarter of the rules haven't even been proposed.