Georgia's Unemployment Rate Declines in August
The Georgia Department of Labor announced Thursday that Georgia’s unemployment rate decreased to 8.7 percent in August, down from 8.8 percent in July. The rate was three-tenths of a percentage point lower than 9.0 percent in August a year ago. The decline follows three consecutive months of rate increases.
“The primary reason the rate dropped is that we had a significant reduction in layoffs, in fact, the fewest since September 2007,” said State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. “Also, we had a small increase in the number of jobs.”
There were 35,503 new layoffs, represented by initial claims for unemployment insurance, 18,603, or 34.4 percent, fewer than the 54,106 in July. Much of the decline came in manufacturing, as workers who were temporarily laid off in July returned to work in August. Fewer claims also came in construction, trade, and administrative and support services.
“The job gains that we normally would have in August, especially in the private sector, occurred in June and July, two months in which we normally lose thousands of jobs,” Butler said. “As far as the overall number of jobs, we are much better off this August than last.”
Georgia gained 82,300 jobs, or 2.1 percent, since August 2012 when there were 3,962,800 jobs.
There were 176,300 long-term unemployed workers, down by 3,600, or 2.0 percent, from 179,900 in July. This was the fewest since 168,200 in December 2009.
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Last Update on March 05, 2015 08:35 GMT
ECONOMY-THE DAY AHEAD
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Labor Department will report today on the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits last week. The department will also issue its revised report on fourth-quarter productivity. And the Commerce Department will report on U.S. factory orders for January. Also today, Freddie Mac will release average mortgage rates.
The jobs market has been steadily improving in recent months.
And a private survey Wednesday showed that U.S. businesses added more than 200,000 jobs in February for the 13th straight month. It was the latest sign that strong hiring should boost the economy this year.
Payroll processor ADP says companies added 212,000 jobs last month, a solid gain, though down from 250,000 in the previous month. January's figure was revised up from 213,000. The figures come just before tomorrow's government report on the labor market, which economists forecast will show an increase of 240,000 jobs, according to a survey by data provider FactSet. The unemployment rate is expected to fall to 5.6 percent from 5.7 percent.
BEIJING (AP) -- China is setting a lower economic growth target for this year and is promising to open more industries to foreign investors as it tries to make its slowing, state-dominated economy more productive.
In a report to the National People's Congress, Premier Li Keqiang (lee kuh-TYAHNG') says the growth target of about 7 percent, down from last year's 7.5 percent, is in line with efforts to create a "moderately prosperous society." Actual economic growth last year was 7.4 percent, the lowest since 1990.
The ruling Communist Party is in the midst of a marathon effort to guide the world's second-largest economy to slower but more self-sustaining growth based on domestic consumption and services. It is trying to replace a worn-out model driven by trade and investment in construction and heavy industry that has left China's air and water badly polluted.
JOHNSON & JOHNSON-PHARMACYCLICS
Report: J&J close to deal to buy partner Pharmacyclics
UNDATED (AP) -- Health care giant Johnson & Johnson reportedly is close to buying biopharmaceutical company Pharmacyclics, its longtime partner in developing the blood cancer treatment Imbruvica.
London's Financial Times reports "people familiar with the matter" say Johnson & Johnson's anticipated offer would value Pharmacyclics of Sunnyvale, California, above its current $17 billion market capitalization. Those sources said a deal could be announced within days but might unravel.
J&J spokeswoman Amy Meyer declined to comment.
Pharmacyclics shares surged on the rumor, jumping 6.3 percent in regular trading and another 3 percent after hours to $237.48.
Johnson & Johnson, based in New Brunswick, New Jersey, usually makes mid-sized acquisitions worth several billion dollars, but paid $21.3 billion in 2011 for Synthes, a Swiss maker of orthopedic surgical equipment. J&J has annual revenue of $74 billion.
MANDARIN ORIENTAL-DATA BREACH
NEW YORK (AP) -- Upscale hotel chain Mandarin Oriental says it is investigating a potential credit card breach at its hotels.
"Unfortunately incidents of this nature are increasingly becoming an industrywide concern," the company said in an emailed statement. Mandarin Oriental said it is coordinating with credit card agencies and forensic specialists. The company didn't disclose how many hotels were affected nor how many customers reported fraudulent charges on their credit cards.
Mandarin Oriental operates hotels across the world including Paris, Shanghai, Hong Kong, London, New York, Miami, San Francisco, Prague, Boston, Las Vegas, Macau and Barcelona.
The breach was first reported by cybersecurity news website KrebsOnSecurity.
WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) -- A Delaware judge is eyeing approval of a $275 million settlement in a shareholder lawsuit alleging that videogame maker Activision Blizzard was shortchanged in a $6 billion buyback of shares from French media conglomerate Vivendi SA in 2013.
Following a hearing Wednesday, the judge said he viewed the settlement favorably, and that the defendants were providing reasonable value to settle the claims against them.
An attorney for the lead plaintiff told the judge that the $275 million settlement is the largest ever in a derivative suit, in which shareholders sue on behalf of a company.
The lawsuit alleged that Activision executives and directors, working with Vivendi, breached their fiduciary duties by entering into a deal that improperly benefited CEO Bobby Kotick and co-chairman Brian Kelly.
ELIZABETH, N.J. (AP) -- Democratic lawmakers and environmentalists are criticizing a proposed legal settlement between Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's administration and Exxon Mobil over oil and chemical contamination.
The state had sought $9 billion in damages. But a person familiar with the matter says the settlement is for about $250 million. The person wasn't authorized to speak before details were released publicly and spoke Wednesday to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.
Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto is planning a public hearing. Senate President Steve Sweeney and Sen. Ray Lesniak have threatened a lawsuit.
A judge found Exxon liable in 2008 for contamination in Bayonne and Linden. But there's been no ruling on damages.
Irving, Texas-based Exxon Mobil Corp. had said damages should be capped at $3 million.
CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) -- A bankruptcy court judge says more time is needed to seek higher bids for Atlantic City's former Revel Casino Hotel.
Judge Gloria Burns delayed a decision Wednesday on the proposed $82 million sale of the shuttered gambling hall to Florida developer Glenn Straub.
She did so after Los Angeles developer Izek Shomof expressed interest in buying Revel, but for $2 million less.
Leo Pustilnikov, Shomof's partner, says he's interested in making a formal bid soon.
Burns says she's giving Revel AC and potential bidders time to work out the best possible deal for the shuttered casino.
A new hearing is set for March 12.
Two previous sales of Revel have fallen through.
The $2.4 billion casino closed in September after two years of operation, and never turned a profit.
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