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Jobless claims up as demand falls

The number of people filing for unemployment benefits shot up unexpectedly last week and is likely to keep climbing as businesses slash production in response to sinking demand.

New orders for cars, appliances and other durable goods, which offer a sense of manufacturing output in the months to come, fell 5.2 percent in January, the sixth consecutive monthly decline, data released Thursday by the Commerce Department showed.

Cutting production means cutting jobs and the number of first time jobless claims rose to 667,000 last week, an increase of 36,000 from the previous week.


Microsoft cutting temp agency costs

Microsoft Corp. is slashing overtime, hours and pay for U.S. temporary workers as part of an overall push to curb expenses during the recession.

Microsoft will cut what it pays the staffing agencies by 10 percent for current projects and won’t raise the rate it pays for temporary workers who return after a mandatory annual 100-day break. The company also plans to reduce overtime.


Rocky Mountain News folding

The Rocky Mountain News announced Thursday that it was printing its final edition today, becoming the latest casualty of the decline in the economic viability of newspapers.

Just two months shy of the paper’s 150th birthday, Richard Boehne, chief executive officer of the E.W. Scripps Co., told staffers that it would close effective today. That will leave the Denver Post as the city’s only daily newspaper.

Scripps had announced in December that the paper was for sale and allowed one month for possible buyers to come forward. Only one suitor emerged, but backed out after discovering it could cost up to $100 million to keep the publication going, Boehne said.

From wire reports