• Auto industry update

    More good news from the auto industry: GM reported its highest-ever annual profits today. Writes CNN:

    "Overall global sales volume rose 7.6% to 9 million for the year, enough to allow it to recapture the global sales title it held for 77 years before it fell behind Toyota Motor (TM) in 2008. Revenue rose 10.8% to $150.8 billion.

    "The company's previous record profit was in 1995, when its net income was $6.9 billion, although $900 million of that earlier profit came from units it was in the process of spinning off. GM considers its previous record profit to have come in 1997, when it earned $6.7 billion."

    GM's report follows news from Chrysler that the company had posted a profit for the first time since 2005, and an update from Ford, which released its best earnings report since 1998 last month. According to the Washington Post, the three announcements mark "the first time in years that Chrysler, Ford, and GM have all been profitable at the same time."

    "That's been a huge boon to the auto market. It's restored consumer confidence, giving them the courage to shop for cars again. It's also helped make credit more readily available—something that prohibited many would-be buyers from looking for new rides during the depths of the Great Recession."

    For more on the auto turnaround, check out this fact sheet on steps President Obama is taking to help keep the industry's recovery on the right track.