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  Wednesday, 12 Apr 2017 | 11:45 AM ET

Blue states would benefit most from Republican tax plan, study says

Posted ByNick Wells

They didn't vote for Donald Trump, but blue states might reap more benefits from Republican tax plans. That's according to a CNBC analysis of fresh estimates from the Tax Foundation, a right-of-center think tank.

The foundation's new analysis adds a state-by-state look to a study done last summer when the House Republicans released their tax reform plan. It estimates the gain in after-tax income for the median household in each state. Overall, the tax reform plan would increase after-tax incomes of median households by 8.7 percent, the study found.

But that figure is different for each state, depending on the economic breakdown of the population. CNBC combined the tax-gain estimates with election returns and population data.

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  Tuesday, 11 Apr 2017 | 3:00 PM ET

Americans being forced off planes against their will is actually a regular thing

Being physically dragged off a plane may be rare, but passengers are being denied boarding against their wishes every day.

United Airlines is under fire after a video surfaced of a passenger being forcibly removed from a United Express flight operated by Republic Airways.

Airlines are well within their rights to deny a passenger the right to board a plane, but they have to ask for volunteers first. If they don't get enough volunteers, the airline uses a computer system to choose passenger to block from the aircraft.

Last year alone, more than 40,000 people were involuntarily denied boarding on 12 major U.S. airlines, according to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Those are people who declined to take compensation, but were kicked off anyway.

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  Tuesday, 11 Apr 2017 | 11:14 AM ET

Corporate debt is at new highs, and these companies owe the most

Posted ByMark Fahey

Corporate debt hit new highs in 2016, even as earnings grew at a slower pace. The gradual increase in debt in recent years has attracted attention because the ratio of debt to corporate earnings usually peaks during economic downturns, not during economic expansions.

That imbalance, which has led some investors to worry about the health of the market, is not spread evenly across all companies. Much of the debt accumulation relative to earnings has taken place in a few industries, according to an analysis by CNBC.

Over the last decade, total annual EBITDA for the S&P 500 as a whole rose and then flattened, while debt issuance has continued to take off in recent years. That means that the net debt over EBITDA ratio, or how many years it would take to pay off that corporate debt, has been driven up.

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  Friday, 7 Apr 2017 | 12:43 PM ET

These companies should be worried about wage growth

Posted ByMark Fahey

The unemployment rate continues to fall and wages continue to rise. That's good news for workers, but not for the companies that are most reliant on labor.

Retail companies like Wal-Mart, Staples or Gap are worth $50,000 to $100,000 in market capitalization for each person they employ. That's much lower than average, indicating that those companies would be hit harder by a dollar increase in wages. On the flip side, tech titans Netflix and Facebook are worth more than $10 million for each employee, a figure that suggests to analysts that wage increases will be less of a burden on the companies' bottom lines.

Hourly wages rose by 2.7 percent year over year in March, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report released Friday. That's slightly less of a gain than last month, but continues the general upward climb over the last few years. Those additional costs have hit wage-sensitive stocks more than others, especially consumer discretionary companies.

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  Friday, 7 Apr 2017 | 8:49 AM ET

The government reported a 4.5% unemployment rate, but here's the realistic number

Posted ByNick Wells

The unemployment rate fell to 4.5 percent in March, according to the Labor Department. But relying on that one headline number as an indicator for the economy as a whole ignores important information just below the surface.

Each month on "Jobs Friday," the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases a ton of economic data, each point providing its own perspective on the employment situation. Economists look past the official unemployment rate — that 4.5 percent figure, also known as the "U-3" — to other measures of jobs in this country.

One of those measures is the U-6 rate, which has a broader definition than the U-3 rate. In March, that figure fell three-tenths of a point to 8.9 percent.

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  Thursday, 6 Apr 2017 | 1:05 PM ET

This is what the Fed can buy with its $4.5 trillion balance sheet

Posted ByNick Wells

Officials at the Federal Reserve want to start winding down the massive $4.5 trillion balance sheet the central bank has built up. The news came Wednesday when minutes from the Federal Open Markets Committee's March meeting were released.

During that meeting, the members of the committee voted to raise the federal funds rate a quarter of a point, the third such hike since the financial crisis. The Fed built up the behemoth balance sheet over the past decade through several rounds of quantitative easing, buying up bonds and mortgage-backed securities and has been discussing how to wind it down.

When you're talking about numbers that high, things get out of perspective. We thought we'd help out and show you what $4.5 trillion could buy.

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