Friday, April 20, 2018
Business

Applications for U.S. unemployment benefits fall to 262,000

WASHINGTON — Fewer people sought U.S. unemployment benefits last week, evidence that layoffs are scarce and employers are likely hiring at a solid clip.

The numbers: Weekly applications for unemployment aid slipped 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 262,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The four-week average, typically a less volatile measure, rose 3,000 to 265,250.

The number of people receiving benefits ticked up 15,000 to 2.18 million. That's nearly 4 percent lower than a year earlier.

The takeaway: Applications are a proxy for layoffs. They have remained below 300,000 for 76 straight weeks, the longest streak since 1970. The low readings are more impressive given the growth in the U.S. population since then.

While layoffs have fallen, hiring has improved. Employers added 255,000 jobs in July, after a strong 292,000 in June, the most in eight months. More Americans earning paychecks should boost growth in the coming months.

Key drivers: The economy expanded at a sluggish pace in the first six months of this year, growing at a tepid 1 percent annual rate. Some of that weakness occurred because companies cleared out stockpiles of goods in their warehouses and on store shelves, and therefore ordered fewer new products.

With inventories lower and Americans still se, most economists now forecast growth will rebound in the July-September quarter to about a 2.5 percent annual pace.

Still, solid hiring amid slow growth is a cause for concern. It indicates that the economy is less productive, with more workers needed to produce the same or slightly more output. Productivity, or the amount of output per hour, has expanded just 0.6 percent a year for the past five years. That's the slowest five-year pace since the early 1980s.

Tepid productivity growth could hobble the U.S. economy and keep a lid on pay gains. Greater productivity allows companies to boost workers' pay without raising prices.

Comments
Regulators allow major solar company to lease home equipment

Regulators allow major solar company to lease home equipment

State regulators Friday determined that one of the country’s largest residential solar companies, San Francisco-based Sunrun, is allowed to lease solar energy equipment for homes in Florida. The decision, solar energy advocates say, could open the do...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Florida unemployment at 3.9 percent for sixth straight month

Florida unemployment at 3.9 percent for sixth straight month

For the sixth month running, Florida’s unemployment rate held at a nearly 11-year low of 3.9 percent in March as steady job gains continued. While many factors kept Florida’s economy chugging along, three industries stand out for leading year-over-ye...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Owners say new house is a disaster; developer accuses them of ‘online terrorism’

Owners say new house is a disaster; developer accuses them of ‘online terrorism’

ST. PETERSBURG --- Stretched across the front of Tim and Hyun Kims’ two-year-old house is a big banner with the name of a developer and the words: "I have to fix my new house."Some of what needs fixing is instantly apparent. The front steps are too ...
Published: 04/20/18
Florida hits a milestone: More than 100,000 people are registered to use medical marijuana here

Florida hits a milestone: More than 100,000 people are registered to use medical marijuana here

Florida has hit a milestone of sorts as it slowly moves toward wider availability of medical marijuana.The number of patients in the state who are registered to use the substance has surpassed 100,000 for the first time, according to Florida Departme...
Published: 04/20/18
Q&A: Walmart leader chats about Florida stores, and the chain’s latest retail strategy

Q&A: Walmart leader chats about Florida stores, and the chain’s latest retail strategy

The Tampa Bay Times recently sat down with Walmart director of corporate communications Phillip Keene to chat about the retail giant’s latest retail strategies and how the company is winning over customers in a competitive market.Already, two of the ...
Published: 04/20/18
Judge: Foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa violated numerous rules of conduct

Judge: Foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa violated numerous rules of conduct

Tampa Bay foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa has violated numerous rules of professional conduct and caused two clients to nearly lose their homes because he failed to tell them about settlement offers from their banks. In preliminary findings of ...
Published: 04/20/18
SunTrust warns 1.5 million clients of potential data breach

SunTrust warns 1.5 million clients of potential data breach

Associated PressNEW YORK — SunTrust Banks Inc. says accounts for 1.5 million clients could be compromised following a potential data breach. The Atlanta bank says that it became aware of the potential theft by a former employee and that the investiga...
Published: 04/20/18
Spring break, hurricane relief boosted Tampa Bay hotels in March

Spring break, hurricane relief boosted Tampa Bay hotels in March

The Tampa Bay area’s hotel occupancy rate rose to 87.5 percent in March, the highest level in three years. The rise was fueled by spring break vacationers as well as insurance adjusters and hurricane cleanup crews flooding the state to restore it aft...
Published: 04/20/18
St. Petersburg police remove disabled adults from ‘deplorable’ assisted living facilities

St. Petersburg police remove disabled adults from ‘deplorable’ assisted living facilities

ST. PETERSBURG — Beef jerky, mayonnaise and Altoids mints were the only edible things in view inside one of the houses. There was no running water. The refrigerator was empty. A bed sat on top of the deteriorating living room floor. Cigarette butts b...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Here’s your first look at what will be Riverwalk Place, Tampa’s tallest tower

Here’s your first look at what will be Riverwalk Place, Tampa’s tallest tower

TAMPA — Developers on Thursday detailed plans for what they touted as the tallest building on Florida’s west coast, with condominiums priced in six and seven figures and a shimmering glass design they say would stand out in the skylines of New York, ...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18