Morning Briefs

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JACKSONVILLE'S ECONOMY BETTER, INDICATORS SHOW

Jacksonville's economic outlook is getting better, but consumers may also see rising prices in the coming months, according to the University of North Florida's Local Economic Indicators Project, or LEIP.

LEIP said Thursday its Leading Economic Index for the Jacksonville area rose by 0.59 points to 104.30 in January, reversing a 0.19-point drop in the index in December.

LEIP also said its Consumer Price Index for the area, after barely rising at all in 2010, rose by a seasonally-adjusted 0.28 points to 108.72 in January. If the index continues to rise by that much throughout 2011, that would translate into an annual inflation rate of 3.4 percent for the year. The index rose by just 0.1 percent last year.

UNF economist Paul Mason said that "one month does not a trend make," but the jump in the leading indicators in January is potentially good news for the local economy.

Mark Basch The Times-Union

CONSUMER PRICES UP, INFLATION STILL MODEST

Consumers paid more in January for everything from food and gas to airline tickets and clothing. The price increases reflect creeping but still-modest inflation.

The Consumer Price Index rose 0.4 percent last month, matching December's increase, the Labor Department said. Over the past year, the index has risen 1.6 percent.

Core prices, which exclude volatile food and energy costs, rose 0.2 percent. That's the largest monthly increase in more than a year.

Associated Press

BIG BANK SANCTIONS ARE BEING PREPARED

Major U.S. banks are about to get penalized for "critical deficiencies" and shortcomings in how they handled foreclosures, a top federal regulator said Thursday at a Senate Banking Committee hearing. …

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