US Pensions Set To Rise Slightly

Posted October 19th, 2011 at 2:30 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. pensioners will get a modest increase in payments next year, when Social Security benefits are raised 3.6 percent to make up for inflation.

Social Security is the American government-funded pension program for the elderly.

It is the first such increase since 2009, because the financial crisis kept inflation very low for a while. The Associated Press reports that average payment is a bit less than $1,100 a month and the increase will typically add about $39 a month.

While pensioners will welcome the larger checks, government officials say higher premium costs for the government-run health insurance program for the elderly may take up some or all of the gain.

A separate economic report Wednesday showed that prices climbed three-tenths of a percent in September, mostly due to higher gasoline and food costs.

Outside the volatile food and energy areas, prices in the rest of the economy move up just one-tenth of a percent for the month.

Experts at the U.S. central bank say the U.S. economy expanded slightly faster in September and early October but was still moving at a modest pace. The Federal Reserve report says car sales and manufacturing both improved.

Other economic data Wednesday showed that U.S. builders started work on more projects in September.

The Commerce Department says if work continued at September’s pace for a full year, builders would make 658,000 homes, apartments and condominiums.

That is a 15 percent increase from the previous month, and the highest since late 2008.

Most of the increase comes from new apartments and condominiums. In the wake of the financial crisis, fewer families are buying single-family homes, which is increasing the need for apartments.