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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, February 12, 2010

BUSINESS BRIEFS
First-time jobless claims fall more than expected


Associated Press

WASHINGTON The number of newly laid-off workers seeking unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week to the lowest total in a month, a sign the job market may be improving.

The Labor Department said that first-time claims for unemployment insurance dropped by 43,000 to a seasonally adjusted 440,000. Wall Street economists expected a smaller decline of 15,000, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters.

The jobless claims report was the first of the year that wasn't affected by a holiday backlog.

JOB CREATION MAY HIT 95,900 EACH MONTH

WASHINGTON The United States is likely to add an average of 95,900 more jobs each month this year, while personal savings will remain high as credit remains tight, according to a new White House report.

With the public souring on Obama's handling of the economy, the White House's Council of Economic Advisers' report trumpeted the $787 billion economic stimulus package as creating or saving some 2 million jobs.

Facing a tough election season for fellow Demo-crats, Obama's team used its annual report to blame the economy they inherited.

NO DETAILS OFFERED IN HELP FOR GREECE

BRUSSELS European Union leaders faced down markets yesterday with a statement of support for Greece but offered no detailed bailout for a debt crisis that has plunged the euro into its deepest crisis since it was launched 11 years ago.

The 16 countries that use the euro promised to "take determined and coordinated action, if needed, to safeguard financial stability in the euro area as a whole."

But they left out any detail about what they might do to prevent the country from defaulting on its huge debt.

USA TODAY STAFFERS FACE WEEK FURLOUGH

McLEAN, Va. USA Today is forcing its staff to take an unpaid week off to help the newspaper cope with a persisting ad slump.

The newspaper's nearly 1,500 employees must take the furloughs between Feb. 28 and July 3, according to USA Today spokesman Ed Cassidy.

Most of USA Today's workers had to take two weeks of unpaid leave last year as part of a plan mandated by the newspaper's owner, Gannett Co.

Like most major newspaper publishers, Gannett has been hard hit by three consecutive years of falling ad revenue that has triggered wage reductions, layoffs and furloughs.

FIRSTENERGY BUYING ALLEGHENY ENERGY

NEW YORK FirstEnergy said yesterday that it is buying Allegheny Energy in a $4.7 billion stock deal that will bring together two neighboring rivals to form one of the biggest power companies in the country.

The new company will be made up of 10 utilities serving 6.1 million customers from Ohio to New Jersey, with $16 billion in annual revenue and $1.4 billion in profit.