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Economy still sluggish as nation prepares to vote

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ The last read on the economy before the midterm elections found Americans are spending a little more but not nearly enough to bring down high unemployment â¿¿ one final bit of bad news for Democrats.

The economy expanded at a 2 percent pace from July to September, the Commerce Department said Friday. It marked a slight improvement from the scant 1.7 percent growth rate in the previous quarter.

But to keep up with population growth and actually bring down unemployment, the economy must grow much faster. Economists figure it takes growth at a rate of about 5 percent for a full year to lower the jobless rate by a percentage point.

Democrats risk losing control of the House and perhaps the Senate on Tuesday at a time when nearly 15 million Americans are out of work and the jobless rate is 9.6 percent.

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Sick of campaign ad avalanche? TV stations aren't

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ For TV viewers, this cutthroat election year is a riot of attack ads and media saturation made possible by big-money donors. For TV stations, it's a stimulus package.

One research group expects TV political spending to hit a record $3 billion. The windfall may continue well past Election Day because regular advertisers are getting squeezed out of the schedule and could spend their ad budgets later. Coming out of a recession that put some broadcasters in or near bankruptcy protection, political spending is emerging as a critical â¿¿ but temporary â¿¿ source of revenue.

Several factors created the upsurge: tea party enthusiasm, self-financed millionaire candidates, an unusually high number of toss-up races and a Supreme Court ruling in January that eased rules on corporate campaign donations.

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In France, happiness is retiring at 60

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