November 18th, 2009
12:50 PM ET

Financial Dispatch: Goldman Sachs says ‘sorry’

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/11/18/art.cars.jpg caption="More Americans are expected to travel for the 2009 Thanksgiving holiday than they did last year, although air travel will decline."]

Andrew Torgan
CNN Financial News Producer

When it comes to the financial crisis, there's been a lot of blame-shifting and finger-pointing. But in a surprise move, one of the nation's biggest banks is now admitting it played a part in the debacle.

Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein has apologized for taking part in the era of free and easy money.

"We participated in things that were clearly wrong and have reason to regret," Blankfein said at a corporate conference in New York. "We apologize."

Blankfein’s comments came the same day that Goldman announced it’s launching a $500 million initiative called "10,000 Small Businesses," aimed at unlocking the job creation and economic growth potential of America's small companies.

The project's advisory council features an array of business luminaries, including Warren Buffett, the bank’s largest shareholder

It’s worth pointing out that Goldman Sachs earned an eye-popping $3.2 billion in the third quarter, as revenue from trading rose fourfold from a year ago.

We have new signs today that the recovery in the housing market is tenuous at best.

Construction of new homes plunged by nearly 11% last month as builders waited on the sidelines to see whether Congress would extend the homebuyer tax credit.

Housing starts fell 10.6% in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 529,000 - the lowest level in six months. And applications for building permits, a gauge of future activity, fell 4% to an annual rate of 552,000 units.

Both readings were below expectations.

Also on the economic front, consumer prices in October were essentially unchanged from a year ago as the rising cost of oil and gas offset price declines elsewhere.

The Consumer Price Index, the government's key inflation reading, is now down only 0.2% during the past 12 months compared to the same period a year ago. This is the smallest 12-month rate of decline since February.

The core CPI, which is more closely watched by economists because it strips out volatile food and energy prices, is up 1.7% over the past year.

If you thought this year’s graduating class faced a bleak job outlook, next year’s not going to look much better.

New college graduates had 40% fewer job prospects this year, according to a new report. And the outlook for 2010, while better, is still not very promising.

Jobs for graduates with bachelor's degrees, which account for most new graduate hires, will drop nearly 1% next year, according to Michigan State University's survey on recruiting trends.

Hiring of master's degree graduates will plummet by 11% based on a weaker labor market for accounting students, the study said.

Jobs for Ph.D.s will spike by 20% and those for MBA graduates will rise 11%.

Overall, hiring of grads with any degree will decline by 2% compared to 2009.

After a sharp drop last year, more Americans are expected to travel for the 2009 Thanksgiving holiday, although travel by air will decline.

According to the latest forecast from AAA, 38.4 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home for the Thanksgiving weekend, an increase of 1.4% from last year, when 37.8 million traveled.

Driving will account most of the increase, with 33.2 million Americans expected to travel by car, up 2.1% from the 2008 season, according to AAA. But flying will decrease 6.7% to 2.3 million travelers.

Travel by train, boat, bus and other means is expected to edge up 1.2% to 2.9 million Americans, AAA said.

Last year, Thanksgiving travel plunged 25.2% compared to 2007.

Finally, you’d better hoard your Eggos!

Grocery stores will be experiencing a shortage of the frozen waffles until mid-2010 due to problems at two bakeries, a Kellogg's says.

Flooding at an Atlanta bakery during heavy rains in October forced Kellogg, which makes Eggo products, to shut down production temporarily. Plus, equipment at Kellogg's largest waffle facility in Tennessee needs extensive repairs.

Remaining Eggo inventory will be rationed to stores across the country.

Follow the money… on Twitter: @AndrewTorganCNN



Filed under: Andrew Torgan • Economy • Finance • Wall St.
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