Money in a Minute: Headlines for April 5, 2011

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In today's news: The federal government is reaching a debt limit, McDonald's will go on a one-day hiring spree, oil prices reach yet another new high, bankruptcies reach a new low, and Citibank makes a change that helps customers, for a change.

GOVERNMENT: Geithner says U.S. to reach debt limit no later than May 16

In just over a month, the federal government will have run up $14.29 trillion in debt – and that’s its self-imposed limit. “If the limit hasn’t been raised by May 16, the Treasury Department will turn to a toolkit of emergency measures that can provide up to eight weeks of additional borrowing room,” Bloomberg reports. “That extra time would end about July 8.”

JOBS: McDonald’s wants to fill 50,000 openings in a day

Two weeks from today, McDonald’s will increase its workforce by 7.7 percent – all in 24 hours. “The global restaurant chain said it plans to hire as many as 50,000 new U.S. employees – ranging from restaurant crew to managers – on April 19,” MSNBC reports. “The April hiring event is preparation for the busy summer months.”

OIL: Oil rises above $108 a barrel, gas pump prices up

Today’s $108 price tag for a barrel of oil is a 30-month high. “Sagging demand in the U.S. may eventually pull oil prices down from their highs this year,” USA Today reports, “but so far most traders seem to be waiting for the Middle East to cool off.”

CREDIT: Bankruptcy filings fall 6 percent

Is the bankruptcy boom finally over? ‘The number of filings in the first three months of 2011 dropped to 340,012, down from 363,215 filings recorded in the first quarter of 2010,” CNN Money reports. “The sharp increase in bankruptcy levels in recent years might be starting to level off, and maybe even decrease.”

BANKING: Citi to start clearing smaller checks first

In a move that will hopefully be duplicated by other banks, Citibank is making a change that should minimize overdraft fees for some customers. “It will process checks starting with the smallest amounts first as of July 25,” MSNBC reports. “Most large banks process larger checks first, a practice consumer advocates say increases the potential for multiple overdraft violations on checking accounts.”

Stacy Johnson

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