Money Minute: Winter's Expected Toll on GDP; Retirement Savings Hits High


Gauging the economic toll of the winter that just won't end. There are lots of economic impacts from the repeated bouts of extreme winter weather. The Wall Street Journal reports the poor and the elderly are especially susceptible, especially in terms of food.

Many people have to take money from their food budgets to pay the added costs of keeping their homes warm enough. Many lower income workers also suffer a drop in pay. They are more likely to be hourly rather than salaried employees, so missing a day of work means less money to pay those rising bills.

A monthly survey by the Journal finds the weather has prompted economists to trim their forecast for gross domestic product growth in the first quarter by about 0.3 percent -- even though some of that lost growth could be pushed into the second quarter.

The surging stock market sent the average 401(k) retirement fund to record highs.
Fidelity Investments says the average balance rose 15.5 percent to more than $89,000. Not surprisingly, older workers -- those aged 55 to 64 -- had higher average balances of above $165,000. The bad news is 35 percent of workers with 401(k) accounts cashed out after leaving their jobs, and that can be a big setback in retirement planning.

Here on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rose 63 points Thursday, the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) gained 10, and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) rallied 39 points. The tech-heavy Nasdaq is riding a six-day winning streak.

Men's clothing retailer Jos. A. Bank (JOSB) has agreed to buy Eddie Bauer for $825 million. What's most significant about this deal is that it may help Jos. A. Bank fend off an unwanted takeover bid from rival Men's Wearhouse (MW).

And some U.S. athletes at the Olympics are blaming Under Armour (UA) for their disappointing performances. Speedskaters says the Mach 39 suits have a design flaw that may be slowing them down, by allowing too much air flow.

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.

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February 14 2014 at 3:26 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

People are tired of Obama's lies.

February 14 2014 at 1:44 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

It's always the politicians with the biggest mouths whose great ancestors weren't there during the founding of this nation.

February 14 2014 at 12:26 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Can I vote for Michele Bachmann again ? How I wanted her to be our president.

February 14 2014 at 12:25 PM Report abuse -5 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to redstateredneck.hillbilly's comment

Is that you dope.

February 14 2014 at 1:43 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

The trade deals are even more unpopular than ever.

February 14 2014 at 12:13 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Team up with the box store to help longterm unemployed? Right the same one that wrongfully terminates and abuses older workers while hiring undocumented aliens!

February 14 2014 at 11:56 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

Down here in the south we poor conservatives love our food stamps and welfare.

February 14 2014 at 11:34 AM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply

Come spring the Democrats will blame poor numbers on floods from the snowmelt, then summer will be extreme heat, fall will be failure of leaves to turn color. Will they ever take responsibility for their actions.

February 14 2014 at 10:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hey racquetguy you got that saying from the republicans. The republican presidents took money out of the social security trust fund to make their bottom look that their debt was not to great. They replaced the money with treasury notes at a very low interest. Now the trustees are cashing in those notes and the GOP does not want them to for they say we could use the money some place. What better than paying your retirement to our senior citizens.

February 14 2014 at 10:08 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply

All the bad things happened when Americans were in Disneyland and were not paying attention. Every dumb cluck went out and bought a second home or first and property they could not afford just because the banks would loan them money. People were greedy when the floodgates opened. This should have never happened and that was the governments fault. They were bribed by big business and they took the loot to get relected. ALan Greenspan was senile at the time and advised the Senate that everything was great! The government let business all move out of our borders convincing the government that the US needed to be the worlds financial leader and we too can sell our stuff to the new emerging powers after we buy all their junk. These same leaders are now telling us we need billions of new immigrants so we can have sweat shops to compete globally !~ The weather has little to do with it except that I am cold.

February 14 2014 at 10:06 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply