The Labor Department was full of good news Thursday, with lower jobless claims and increased productivity. Here is the news of the day for Nov. 6, 2014.
Jobless Claims Drop Hard Again
The Labor Department Thursday announced that initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 278,000 for the week ending Nov. 1. The four-week moving average of claims fell 2,250 to 279,000, the lowest reading in that category since April of 2000. Economists had expected jobless claims to drop to 285,000 last week. Claims have been below 300,000 for the past eight weeks. On Friday, the government is expected to announce that non-farm payrolls added 231,000 jobs in October after rising 248,000 in September.
Productivity Climbs In Third Quarter
Productivity at U.S. non-farm businesses increased in the third quarter beyond economists’ expectations, the Labor Department announced Thursday. Productivity grew at a 2.0 percent annual rate in the third quarter, after expanding 2.9 percent in the second quarter. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast an increase of 1.5 percent.
OPEC Rethinks Prices
Amid a price war for oil, the world’s largest oil producing organization has had to rethink its price forecasts for the future. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) published its annual World Oil Outlook Thursday and said there would be a "small decline in real values" over this decade along with a "constant nominal price" of $110 per barrel between now and 2020. OPEC added that there was a danger of “substantial over-capacity” in the oil-producing business. The price of oil recently dropped to its lowest level since August of 2011, and earlier this week Saudi Arabia announced that is cutting its oil prices. Iraq’s oil minister told his country’s parliament that OPEC is waging a price war within itself and that the price war may end up as a race to the bottom price that will damage all oil exporters.
General Motors Denies Responsibility
In a court filing Wednesday, General Motors said it should not have to face lawsuits based on safety issues in cars which occurred before its 2009 bankruptcy. That includes the fault ignition switch recall of 2.6 million cars earlier this year. The argument comes against litigation from GM drivers who say the automaker should pay for losses related to the recalls which were announced earlier this year. The ignition switch recalls have grown from February to include numerous problems affecting millions of cars. General Motors is facing approximately 130 lawsuits over accidents and lost vehicle value. GM says the bankruptcy ruling created a “new GM’’ and that it should not be responsible for damages that belong to the “old GM” as part of the bankruptcy protections.
AOL Is Healthy
AOL Thursday reported an 11.7 percent increase in quarterly revenue thanks to strong advertising sales. The digital media and entertainment company reported net income of $28.5 million, or 35 cents per share, for the third quarter ended Sept. 30. The previous year’s earnings were $2 million, or just 2 cents per share. The company, which operates the Huffington Post news websites, said revenue rose to $626.8 million from $561.3 million the previous year.
Apple Products Attacked By Chinese Malware
Palo Alto Networks said Wednesday it has seen indications that a new family of malware can infect Apple desktop and mobile operating systems as hackers continue to target iPhones and mac computers. The "WireLurker" malware can install third-party applications on regular iOS devices and hop from infected Macs onto iPhones through USB connector-cables, according to the Palo Alto Networks intelligence director. The attacks appear to be coming from a Chinese third-party apps store and so far appears to have mostly affected users in that country.