September 21, 2013

Briefcase

About 50,000 Mainers were jobless in August, data show

Maine’s unemployment rate for August was 7.0 percent, up 0.1 percent from July’s rate of 6.9 percent.

The preliminary seasonally adjusted rate was also lower than the statewide unemployment rate of 7.3 percent a year ago.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated 50,000 were unemployed, down 1,700 over the year.

The percentage of the state’s population that was employed in August was higher than the national average for the 71st consecutive month. Maine’s share of people who were employed was 60.7 percent, compared to the national average of 58.7 percent.

The U.S. unemployment rate estimate was 7.3 percent, down from 7.4 percent in July and down also from 8.2 percent a year ago.

Maine’s August rate was lower than the New England unemployment rate of 7.3 percent. Estimates for other New England states were 5.0 percent in New Hampshire, 4.6 percent in Vermont, 7.2 percent in Massachusetts, 9.1 percent in Rhode Island, and 8.1 percent in Connecticut.

Among the state’s metro areas, the unemployment rate for August in the Portland-South Portland-Biddeford area was 5.3 percent, compared to the Bangor metro area’s rate of 6.6 percent and Lewiston-Auburn’s rate of 6.6 percent.

Oil price falls 1.4 percent, drops by $3.54 for week

Oil fell more than 1 percent Friday as fears of a disruption to Middle East supplies eased while concerns about a shutdown of the U.S. government grew stronger.

Benchmark oil for October delivery dropped $1.72, or 1.4 percent, to close at $104.67 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. For the week, oil dropped $3.54, or 3.3 percent. That’s despite a 2.5 percent increase on Wednesday, when the U.S. Federal Reserve announced it would keep its stimulus policy in place.

BMW recalling 5-Series cars because rear lights can fail

BMW is recalling more than 134,000 5-Series cars in the U.S. because the rear lights can fail.

The recall, posted Friday on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website, affects 528i, 535i, 550i and M5 cars from the 2008 through 2010 model years.

The U.S. safety agency said that increased electrical resistance can damage connections to the lights. That could cause loss of tail, brake turn-signal or backup lights. The agency says the loss of lights can increase the risk of a crash, although BMW says in documents that it has no reports of any accidents or injuries from the problem.

British regulator probing sports bra maker, 3 stores

Britain’s retail regulator said Friday it has evidence that an underwear maker and three department stores colluded to inflate the price of a popular sports bra.

The Office of Fair Trading said it is investigating whether DB Apparel U.K. entered into anti-competitive agreements with retailers John Lewis, Debenhams and House of Fraser between 2008 and 2011 over the Shock Absorber bra.

The investigation involves three of Britain’s most-established retailers.

– From staff and news services

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