Maine’s jobless rate falls to 7.6 percent in August

The Maine Labor Department said Friday that the state’s unemployment rate dropped by one-tenth of a percent to 7.6 percent in August.

The department said that 52,600 people were unemployed during the month.

Maine’s unemployment rate compares favorably to the national unemployment rate of 9.1 percent.

Jobless rates rose in a majority of states in August for a third straight month. Unemployment increased in 26 states, fell in 12 and remained unchanged in 12.

York County had the lowest unemployment rate in Maine, at 4.6 percent. The state’s highest rate, 9.3 percent, was in Piscataquis County.

GE says new Russia deals could be worth $15 billion

General Electric Co. said Friday it has secured two deals in Russia that could generate between $10 billion and $15 billion in sales.

The agreements focus on the energy and health care industries. The energy deal allows GE to manufacture and sell natural gas turbines in the country. The health care deal clears GE to make and sell high-tech medical diagnostic equipment.

The products will be built in Russia, with GE running the operation. GE will start building a plant for its turbine operation later this year. It expects to build turbines with a total generating capacity of up to 5 gigawatts of power.

AT&T takes the wraps off new wireless data network

Unbeknownst to most customers, AT&T has fired up a new wireless data network in five cities in the past few months, offering roughly double the speeds of its older network for a handful of devices.

On Sunday, the phone company will start marketing the network in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. It won’t be selling a new data plan — use of the new “4G LTE” network will be a perk thrown in with existing plans.

AT&T said the network will provide download speeds of 5 megabits to 12 megabits per second.

— From staff and news services