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Consumer confidence receives boost

BY DSN STAFF

WASHINGTON — The Conference Board said Tuesday that its Consumer Confidence Index reached its highest level in eight months as Americans grew more optimistic about the job market.

The index climbed to 60.6 this month, up from 53.3 in December. While that reading surpassed expectations, it still fell short of the 90 level that indicates a healthy consumer mindset.

The January figure was the highest since last May’s 62.7. The index has not risen above 90 since the recession began in December 2007.

However, in the Conference Board survey, the percentage of people surveyed who felt jobs were hard to get fell slightly to 43.4% from 46% in December. The share who expected to see more jobs six months from now rose to 16% from 14.2%.

While confidence has stayed weak since the recession ended in summer 2009, consumer spending has been picking up. During the 2010 holiday shopping season, sales increased at the fastest rate in six years. Economists are hoping that consumer confidence will keep improving in 2011 as the economy begins to show greater signs of strength and unemployment declines.

The jobless rate fell to 9.4% in December from 9.8% in November, but the economy added only 103,000 jobs. Employers added 1.1 million jobs for all of 2010, or about 94,000 a month. The nation still has 7.2 million fewer jobs than it did in December 2007, when the recession began. But many economists expect the nation will create twice as many jobs this year as it did last year.

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Virginia Cox joins 3D

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — 3D Communications on Tuesday announced that Virginia Cox will join its team of communication and healthcare experts, effective Feb. 1.

Cox comes to 3D from the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, where she was SVP communications and strategic initiatives. Cox served as the chief strategist for the association’s external communications efforts surrounding regulatory and legislative issues impacting the pharmaceutical industry.

Over the course of her career, Cox has served as a senior aide to Commissioner Jane Henney at the Food and Drug Administration as director of outreach and strategic initiatives, and as special assistant to Secretary Donna Shalala at the Department of Health and Human Services. She also worked in the White House as an aide to former vice president Al Gore.

“Virginia not only has vast experience and knowledge of the regulatory, public affairs, advocacy and education landscape, she also brings tremendous insight and intelligence from both her government and pharmaceutical experience,” stated 3D Communications partner Cindy DiBiasi. “Her perspective will be a valuable asset to our clients.”

Cox received her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, and her law degree from Georgetown University. She is a member of the Maryland Bar.

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Weis’ Mignola gets promoted

BY Michael Johnsen

SUNBURY, Pa. — Weis Markets recently promoted Mike Mignola to VP merchandising, according to published reports.

Mignola last year had been named regional VP, overseeing 66 Weis Markets locations in Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia.

Mignola will report to SVP sales and merchandising Kurt Schertle.

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