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Business in brief: Spokane Airways files claims

Spokane Airways Monday filed damage claims for up to $14 million against the City of Spokane, Spokane County, and the Spokane International Airport board of directors for the improper condemnation of buildings it occupied at the airport.

A five-member panel of Washington Supreme Court justices last week declined to hear lower-court rulings in favor of Spokane Airways, which occupied six buildings razed in 2006 because they blocked control tower line-of-sight to the runway.

Spokane Airways said the airport had given assurances comparable structures would be made available at the same rates. The company remains in business.

Spokesmen for the airport, county and city said they could not comment because litigation is ongoing, or because officials have not had time to review the claim.

Bert Caldwell

More competing for fewer jobs

Washington – The competition for jobs is intensifying as companies are reluctant to hire new workers, leaving millions of unemployed Americans chasing fewer job openings.

There were nearly 6.4 unemployed workers, on average, for each available job at the end of November, according to Labor Department data released Tuesday. That’s up from 6.1 in October and a record high.

There were 1.7 jobless people for each opening in December 2007, when the recession began.

Associated Press

Trade deficit up 9.7 percent

Washington – The U.S. trade deficit jumped to the highest level in 10 months as an improving U.S. economy pushed up demand for imports.

The Commerce Department reported Tuesday that the trade deficit jumped 9.7 percent to $36.4 billion in November.

Exports rose 0.9 percent, the seventh consecutive gain, as demand was up for American-made autos, farm products and industrial machinery. Imports, however, rose a much faster 2.6 percent.

Associated Press

China curbs high-risk loans

Beijing – While the rest of the world is trying to recover from recession, China is trying to slow its economy down.

Beijing took steps Tuesday to curb the kinds of high-risk loans that can create housing bubbles, as happened in the United States. It ordered banks to set aside more reserves, and its central bank raised interest rates on one-year bills.

The Chinese government acted after food prices edged up and news reports said bank lending skyrocketed in the first week of January.

Associated Press