Weekly applications for unemployment aid dropped 11,000 to a seasonally adjusted 304,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. That's not far from a reading of 298,000 two months ago, which was the lowest since 2007, before the Great Recession began.
The four-week average, a less volatile measure, dipped 3,500 to 311,500, the second-lowest level since August 2007. Applications are a proxy for layoffs, so the low readings indicate that employers are letting go of fewer workers.
The figures are the latest sign that the job market is steadily improving. Employers are adding jobs at a healthy clip and the unemployment rate is at a 5 1/2-year low.
Boeing raises forecast for new airplane demand
CHICAGO (AP) — Boeing Co. raised its long-term forecast for new airplane demand by more than 4 percent, based on expected orders of smaller, more fuel-efficient planes and burgeoning travel in Asia.
The Chicago company said Thursday that it expects deliveries of 36,770 new airplanes over the next 20 years, with total list prices valued at an estimated $5.2 trillion.
That's up from Boeing's forecast last year that global airlines would need 35,280 jets worth $4.8 trillion over the next 20 years.
Low-cost carriers are fueling the fastest growing segment of the market — single-aisle airplanes. Those aircraft, such as the Boeing 737 and rival Airbus A320, make up 70 percent of all orders, with the heart of that demand found in the 160-seat range.
UAW: 'Consensus' reached with Volkswagen on union
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — United Auto Workers leaders said Thursday they have reached a "consensus" with Volkswagen and expect the German automaker to recognize the union if they sign up enough workers at a new local for the company's assembly plant in Tennessee.
The union in February suffered a bitter setback in its effort to organize its first foreign-owned plant in the South when workers at the Chattanooga plant rejected UAW representation by a 712-626 vote.
Gary Casteel, the UAW's secretary-treasurer, said the creation of Local 42 will avoid the need for another election that could involve "third-party interference." He stressed that no employee will be required to join, and that no dues would be collected until after a collective bargaining agreement is reached.
Aereo presses case despite Supreme Court setback
NEW YORK (AP) — Aereo, the television-over-the-Internet service that suspended operations after the Supreme Court ruled against it, is refusing to disband for good.
The company is now using the Supreme Court's own language to force broadcasters to treat it just like a cable TV company. In Aereo's view, that means broadcasters must license their signals to Aereo under a 1976 copyright law.
But the Supreme Court actually stopped short of declaring Aereo a cable company, and previous court rulings have said Internet-based services don't qualify. Even if Aereo is considered a cable company, a 1996 communications law overrides some of the guarantees that Aereo is seeking.
By The Associated Press=
The Dow Jones Industrial average fell 70.54 points, or 0.4 percent, to 16,915.07 Thursday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index slipped 8.15 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,964.88. The Nasdaq composite fell 22.83 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,396.20.
Benchmark U.S. crude for August delivery gained 64 cents to $102.93 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, rose 54 cents to $109.01 on the ICE Futures exchange in London. Wholesale gasoline rose 2 cents to $2.96 a gallon. Natural gas fell 5 cents to $4.12 per 1,000 cubic feet. Heating oil added 2 cents to $2.89 a gallon.