At the end of the week

Does an increase in sales at Red Lobster and the Olive Garden reflect positive movement in the economy? The Washington Post’s Neil Irwin says an uptick in sales does not indicate and uptick for the general economy.

“Details of Darden’s [owner of both chains] earnings report Friday show some of the less promising trends for the U.S. economy behind this generally optimistic story.”

Irwin argues that the earnings report shows that the middle class remains squeezed while the affluent seem to be faring fairly well and that “restaurant workers are getting a smaller share of the money that comes in the door.”

Euro Zone Finds A New Bottom
Recent economic data shows that the European Central Bank’s more aggressive action has yet to stimulate growth. In fact, reportsReutersnews, the services industry PMI “fell to 46.0 in September from 47.2 in August, below even the most pessimistic forecast of 46.5 in a Reuters poll of nearly 40 economists.”

Middle East Protests
The headline photos and news footage focuses on rioting Islamists around the world, but what does the Muslim on the street feel about the recent demonstrations” The Economist tries to find out.

US Congress
The House and Senate went into recess despite failure to reach accord on resolving the fiscal cliff or passing an important Farm Bill.

Weekend Interview
Lally Weymouth of the Washington Post sits down with Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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