Maine unemployment rate at 7.3 percent in January

Maine Labor Commissioner Jeanne Paquette says the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 7.3 percent in January, little changed from December’s 7.2 percent.

Using figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Paquette said an estimated 51,700 Mainers were without jobs during the month. That’s down 600 from a year ago, when joblessness stood at 7.4 percent.

The U.S. unemployment rate in January was estimated at 7.9 percent, while the rate in New England was 7.1 percent.

Officials say the not-seasonally-adjusted rates for Maine’s counties ranged from 6.4 percent in Cumberland County to 13.2 percent in Washington County.

Homebuilder confidence slips for short-term sales

Confidence among U.S. homebuilders fell this month because of concerns that increased demand for new homes is exceeding supplies of ready-to-build land, building materials and workers.

In the short term, those constraints could slow sales. But builders’ outlook for sales over the next six months has reached its strongest point in more than six years.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Monday fell to 44 from 46 in February. It was the second decline since January, which was preceded by eight straight monthly gains. A measure of current sales conditions declined from February’s reading.

Dodge Challenger owners told not to drive their cars

Chrysler is telling owners of about 2,500 Dodge Challenger muscle cars with V-6 engines not to drive them because a short in a wiring circuit can set them on fire.

Owners also are being told not to park the cars in a garage or near a structure until the problem can be fixed.

The cars are from the 2013 model year and have V-6 engines. They were made during the eight weeks that ended Jan. 24.

Burger King serving up turkey burgers this week

If you think a Whopper’s too indulgent but are sick of chicken sandwiches, Burger King is offering a turkey burger for the first time.

The Miami-based company is rolling out the new sandwich this week as part of its limited-time offers for spring, marking the latest fast-food effort to cater to health-conscious diners.

Last week, McDonald’s said it plans to offer a lower-calorie version of its Egg McMuffin made with egg whites. The chain said the egg whites will be available for any other breakfast sandwich on its menu as well.

McDonald’s and Wendy’s said they have never offered a turkey burger, meaning Burger King would be the biggest fast-food chain to do so.

But it’s not the first. Sister chains Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s launched a trio of turkey burgers as limited-time offers in late 2010.

Indonesian airline buying 234 aircraft from Airbus

Indonesian airline Lion Air is to buy 234 short to medium range aircraft from Airbus for $24 billion, in what is being billed as the biggest civilian deal in the history of the aircraft manufacturer.

The contract was announced Monday at the French presidential palace, a sign of the deal’s importance to the government. Airbus said it would secure 5,000 jobs at a time when French unemployment hovers around the 10 percent mark.

Lion Air is buying 169 A320s and 65 A321 jets. The first planes will be delivered in 2014.

Airbus, the archrival of U.S.-based Boeing Co., is the civilian aircraft business of the European aerospace and defense company EADS.

– From staff and news services