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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, January 1, 2010

BUSINESS BRIEFS
More than 20M receive jobless benefits in 2009


Associated Press

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Marilyn Brundage of Washington, D.C., has been looking for full-time work over the past year. Yesterday, the government announced that the number of newly laid-off workers filing claims for unemployment benefits dropped unexpectedly last week.

JACQUELYN MARTIN | Associated Press

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WASHINGTON A record 20 million-plus people collected unemployment benefits at some point in 2009, a year that ended with the jobless rate at 10 percent.

As the pace of layoffs slows, the number of new applicants visiting unemployment offices has been on the decline in recent months. But limited hiring means the ranks of the long-term unemployed continues to grow, with more than 5.8 million people out of work for more than six months.

The number of new claims for jobless benefits dropped last week to 432,000, the Labor Department said yesterday, down sharply from its late March peak of 674,000. The decline signals that the economy could begin adding a small number of jobs in January, several economists said.

RESTAURANTS CLAIM MEAT IS STILL SAFE

Restaurant chains and beef processors defended their products' safety yesterday after a report that an ammonia treatment thought to kill harmful germs in meat isn't as effective as the industry and regulators believed.

The New York Times reported yesterday, citing government and industry records, that E. coli and salmonella were found dozens of times in testing for the federal school lunch program on ammonia-treated beef from Beef Products Inc. The meat was not served.

Fast-food chains McDonald's Corp. and Burger King Holdings Inc. both use the meat in their hamburgers, Both said yesterday they'll keep using the meat and that their products are safe.

WASHINGTON TIMES CUTS STAFF BY 40%

WASHINGTON The Washington Times slashed its staff by more than 40 percent and will eliminate its sports section and most local coverage in 2010, shifting its focus to politics, business and investigative reporting.

The 27-year-old newspaper announced the latest round of layoffs in its edition yesterday and said the last sports section would appear today.

Among those let go was the newsroom leader, Managing Editor David Jones. Another round of cuts was made earlier in December, and the newspaper published its last Sunday edition last weekend.