Bank profits owe debt to borrowers

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street and Main Street gave banks a boost last quarter.

Fees from corporate mergers and commissions from trading fueled profits at big financial firms. But average Americans also helped by taking out more home loans and paying off debts. Here's a look at what drove the first-quarter results:

Higher gas prices sparked modest inflation in March

WASHINGTON (AP) — Higher-priced gasoline slightly boosted consumer prices in March, a sign that some of the effects of cheaper oil are fading and that inflation may be edging up to healthier levels.

Economic indicators rise 0.2% in March

WASHINGTON (AP) — An index designed to predict the future health of the economy slowly crept upward for the third straight month, a sign that the pace of growth has been weakening since the start of 2015.

The New York-based Conference Board said Friday that its index of leading indicators rose 0.2 percent in March, after gains of 0.1 percent in February and 0.2 percent in January.

Home construction off to weak start in March

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. homebuilders opened the spring buying season in March at a slower pace than last year, a warning that recent hiring gains have failed to translate into a stronger real estate market.

Jobless claims rise but remain at low level

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid rose for the second straight week yet remained at a low level that is consistent with more hiring.

Jobless rate for recent college grads rose in 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — The job prospects for recent college graduates deteriorated slightly last year despite an improvement in the overall job market, the Labor Department said Thursday.

Wage rally part of national event

CHAMPAIGN — Low-wage workers and other area residents are planning a rally at 5 p.m. today outside the McDonald's restaurant at Neil St. and Kirby Ave.

Ricky Baldwin, co-chair of Central Illinois Jobs with Justice, said the event is part of a National Day of Action, a movement intended to improve the lives of low-wage workers across the country.

Mayors' testimony 04-13-15

Mayors' testimony 04-13-15: Play now!

The mayors of Champaign, Danville, Rantoul and Urbana spoke to the Illinois Senate Appropriations Committee at the Illini Union on Monday, April 13.


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Corporate deal appetite hits 5-year high

LONDON (AP) — The current wave of corporate takeovers and mergers is set to grow as the appetite for deals among global executives hits a five-year high in the wake of the strong dollar and low oil prices, a survey found Monday.

Wise: Faculty hiring plan may be pushed back

URBANA — University of Illinois administrators' ambitious goal — to hire 500 new professors by the year 2020 — may need to be revised, given the state of the state economy.