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The US economy is expected to contract 2.2 percent in 2009 before recovering in 2010 to grow 1.5 percent, the Congressional Budget Office said in new forecasts released Wednesday. Meanwhile, congressional forecasters announced that the US budget deficit would swell to a record $1.186 trillion in FY 2009.

Alcoa Inc. plans to eliminate 13,500 jobs, or 13 percent of its global workforce, in an effort to slash costs, the world's third-largest aluminum maker announced Tuesday at its Pittsburgh headquarters. Citing sharply lower aluminum prices and weaker demand, the company also said it would make deep production cuts, as well as impose a salary and hiring freeze.

Jeb Bush, Florida's governor from 1999 to 2007, said Tuesday he has decided not to run for the US Senate seat that fellow Republican Mel Martinez will relinquish upon retiring in 2010. A popular figure in the state, Bush said he expects to play a role in helping the GOP "to reshape" its message.

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