U.S. unemployment applications fall
WASHINGTON — The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits tumbled 23,000 last week to 298,000, nearly a six-year low that shows companies are laying off fewer workers. The Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average declined 10,750 to 322,250. Last week's unemployment benefit applications nearly matched a September figure that was distorted by late reporting from California. When excluding the September report, last week's figures were the lowest since May 2007.
States compete for Boeing's favor
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — With Boeing the king of U.S. aircraft manufacturing, more than a dozen states are groveling before the throne for a share of the riches to be made from the next-generation 777 jetliner. From coast to coast, states are rushing to impress Boeing with lavish incentive packages that offer property, labor deals and billions of dollars in tax breaks — all this in the hopes the aerospace giant will select them to assemble the new 777X — or at least give them a wing to construct. The competition underscores Boeing's commanding bargaining position in an economy where top-notch manufacturing jobs remain scarce and elected officials feel obligated to pursue every growth opportunity, no matter how improbable.
Workers protest, seeking wage hike
NEW YORK — Fast-food workers and labor organizers marched, waved signs and chanted in cities across the country on Thursday in a push for higher wages. Organizers say employees planned to forgo work in 100 cities, with rallies set for another 100 cities. But by late afternoon, it was unclear what the actual turnout was or how many of the participants were workers. At targeted restaurants, the disruptions seemed minimal or temporary. The protests are part of an effort that began about a year ago and is spearheaded by the Service Employees International Union, which has spent millions to bankroll local worker groups and organize publicity for the demonstrations. Protesters are calling for pay of $15 an hour, but the figure is seen more as a rallying point than a near-term possibility.