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U.S. unemployment aid applications hit 10-week low

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The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell by 24,000 last week, to a seasonally adjusted 334,000. The drop left unemployment benefit applications at their lowest level in 10 weeks, the Labor Department said Thursday.

While some of the decline may have been caused by seasonal factors, the broader trend has been favorable. The four-week average, which smooths out fluctuations, fell 5,250, to 351,000.

‘‘We believe labor market conditions remain on a gradually improving trajectory,’’ said Laura Rosner, an economist at BNP Paribas.

Weekly applications data can be volatile in July. Automakers typically shut their factories in the first two weeks of the month to prepare for new models, which leads to a temporary spike in layoffs. But this year much of the industry has skipped or shortened the shutdowns to keep up with stronger demand.

Applications are a proxy for layoffs. They have declined 5 percent since January. The drop has coincided with stronger job growth.

Employers added an average of 202,000 jobs a month through the first six months of the year, up from an average of 180,000 in the previous six months.

In June, they added 195,000 jobs, and revisions showed 70,000 more jobs were added in April and May. The unemployment rate stayed at 7.6 percent last month but is down from 8.2 percent a year earlier.

Despite the gains in hiring, economic growth has been weak and many more people are working part-time jobs because full-time unemployment is unavailable. Most economists expect growth slowed in the April-June quarter to an annual rate of 1 percent or less, down from a tepid 1.8 percent rate at the start of the year. That would mark the third straight quarter of growth below 2 percent.

Many economists are hopeful that steady hiring will help spur faster growth in the second half of the year.

More than 4.5 million people received unemployment aid in the week ending June 29, the latest data available. That’s down just 1,900 from the previous week. The number of recipients has fallen 21 percent in the past year.

Recent reports have painted a mixed picture of the economy. Americans bought more cars, clothes and furniture in June, but cut back retail spending almost everywhere else. Excluding purchases in the volatile categories of autos, gas and building materials, retail sales rose at the slowest pace since January.

Meanwhile, factory output grew in June for the second straight month, a separate Fed report said, a sign manufacturers are recovering from a slow start to the year.

More hiring could help the economy grow faster later this year by increasing the number of Americans earning paychecks. That could fuel more consumer spending and overall growth.
 

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  1. PJ - Mall operators like Simon, and most developers/ land owners, establish individual legal entities for each property to avoid having a problem location sink the ship, or simply structure the note to exclude anything but the property acting as collateral. Usually both. The big banks that lend are big boys that know the risks and aren't mad at Simon for forking over the deed and walking away.

  2. Do any of the East side residence think that Macy, JC Penny's and the other national tenants would have letft the mall if they were making money?? I have read several post about how Simon neglected the property but it sounds like the Eastsiders stopped shopping at the mall even when it was full with all of the national retailers that you want to come back to the mall. I used to work at the Dick's at Washington Square and I know for a fact it's the worst performing Dick's in the Indianapolis market. You better start shopping there before it closes also.

  3. How can any company that has the cash and other assets be allowed to simply foreclose and not pay the debt? Simon, pay the debt and sell the property yourself. Don't just stiff the bank with the loan and require them to find a buyer.

  4. If you only knew....

  5. The proposal is structured in such a way that a private company (who has competitors in the marketplace) has struck a deal to get "financing" through utility ratepayers via IPL. Competitors to BlueIndy are at disadvantage now. The story isn't "how green can we be" but how creative "financing" through captive ratepayers benefits a company whose proposal should sink or float in the competitive marketplace without customer funding. If it was a great idea there would be financing available. IBJ needs to be doing a story on the utility ratemaking piece of this (which is pretty complicated) but instead it suggests that folks are whining about paying for being green.

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