Jobless benefits remaining at lowest level in 7 years

Slightly more Americans sought unemployment benefits last week, but the total number of people receiving jobless aid remains at its lowest level in more than seven years.

The Labor Department says applications for jobless aid rose 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 302,000. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, increased 3,000 to a still-low 299,750. A steady decline over the summer in applications means that 2.46 million people collected benefits last week, the lowest total since June 2007, a few months before the Great Recession began.

Bitcoin dealers face prison after pleading to charges

The top executive of a New York City-based Bitcoin company and a Florida Bitcoin exchanger pleaded guilty Thursday to federal charges, admitting that they enabled the digital currency to be funneled to the black market website Silk Road.

Charlie Shrem, 24, of Manhattan, pleaded guilty in federal court there to aiding and abetting the operation of an unlicensed money transmitting business, while Robert Faiella, 54, of Cape Coral, Florida, pleaded guilty to operating an unlicensed money transfer business. Sentencing was set for Jan. 20, when each faces as much as five years in prison.

30-year mortgage rate stays at 52-week low

The average 30-year U.S. mortgage rate this week remained at a 52-week low of 4.10 percent for the third straight week.

Mortgage company Freddie Mac also said the average for a 15-year mortgage, a popular choice for people who are refinancing, slipped to 3.24 percent from 3.25 percent.

At its 52-week low of 4.10 percent, the rate on a 30-year mortgage is down from 4.53 percent at the start of the year. Rates have fallen even though the Federal Reserve has been trimming its monthly bond purchases.

— From news service reports


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