Business Update: Budget Talks, Hostess, GE

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Investors across the country are focused on Washington's budget talks as the nation continues to edge close to the so-called fiscal cliff.

The S&P 500 increased for the second week in a row, gaining 0.5 percent to close at 1,416 for the week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended flat, advancing 0.1 percent, to 13,025. The NASDAQ eked out a gain of 1.4%

Wall Street has some better than expected economic data to thank for those gains. Consumer confidence rose in November to the highest level in almost five years. The index read 73.7 up from 73.1 in October.

Gross Domestic Product grew at an annual rate of 2.7 percent in the third quarter, beating the prior expectation of 2 percent GDP growth. Also, U.S. orders for durable goods in October came in flat, but topped forecasts of a 0.4 percent loss. Missouri's Rapid Response Team is helping hostess employees who are facing displacement as the Twinkie maker liquidates and closes bakeries across the country.

The Missouri Department of Economic Development suggests the nearly 100 workers who lost their jobs at the Hostess bakery in Boonville file for Unemployment Insurance immediately.

But it's not all bad news in the mid-Missouri job market. General Electric created 115 additional jobs as it opened a renovated factory in Slater. GE spent $3 million turning the former storage warehouse into an air filters manufacturer and expects to spend an additional $11 million more on upgrades. GE now employs 300 people in slater.

"It's good business for everybody else. People go for lunch at the restaurants around, and they go to Casey's. So i mean it brings business to other places beyond this building," said 20-year employee Vida Dewolfe.

In the upcoming week, investors will have a plethora of jobs numbers to work with. Payroll processing firm ADP releases its employment report Wednesday. On Thursday, the Challenger job cuts report will provide investors with insight as to where layoffs could happen. The Labor Department will release non-farm payroll numbers and the nation's unemployment rate on Friday.

Some analysts expect the data to show employers are postponing hiring until there is a resolution in Washington. Many are hopeful that would encourage lawmakers to find consensus and ensure the nation does not tumble off the fiscal cliff.

KOMU 8's Katie Brennan will break down the jobs numbers and how they will play into budget talks in next week's Business Update.