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Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 12/21/2011

Get started ‘On’ Dec. 21: Housing shows recovery signs, lobbyists warn against tax cut expiration

Our daily blend of the latest news, trends and tips for the small business community.

What’s going ‘on’:

New-housing start construction accelerated in November to its fastest pace in a year and a half. (Bob Wellinski - AP)
Housing market appears to bounce back: Good news for the construction industry, as the deeply depressed housing sector finally appears to be bouncing back. Several key housing indicators have stabilized in recent months, and according to new data released Tuesday, new-housing starts showed a 9.3 percent gain in November, bumping the rate of residential construction to its highest level in 19 months.

House Republicans follow through on threat: The House has rejected a bipartisan Senate proposal to extend a payroll tax cut for two months, plunging Washington into uncertainty concerning the fate of the tax cut enjoyed by 160 million workers. Lawmakers defeated the bill on a vote of 229 to 193 and requested a formal conference with the Senate to work out a deal.

Unemployment sinks in nearly every state:Unemployment rates fell in 43 states in November, the most number of states to report declines in eight years, the Labor Department announced Tuesday. Only three states reported higher rates, while four reported no change from October.

Keep an eye ‘on’:

Lobbyists starting to panic over tax cut expiration:The business community has stayed relatively quiet on the payroll tax cut fight, but now that political rancor has imperiled even a two-month extension, some industry players are speaking out. Most recently, the International Franchise Association warned that a failure to extend the payroll tax would “jeopardize the creation of 168,000 new jobs” for franchise small businesses in 2012.

Groupon founders pushing new loyalty card start-up: Brad Keywell and Eric Lefkofsky, two of the masterminds behind Groupon, are pouring more than $1 million in a Chicago-based start-up called Belly. Formerly known as “Bellyflop,” the company aims to replace traditional loyalty punch cards with a more personalized and digital approach using iPads and mobile applications.

Helpful advice ‘on’:

How to expand your clientele (Small Biz Bee)

How to establish and protect your trademark (NFIB)

How to get started in mobile commerce (Entrepreneur)

How to manage business during the holidays (Small Biz Trends)

By  |  05:00 AM ET, 12/21/2011

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