EMPLOYMENT APPEARS WEAKER IN DECEMBER - The Buffalo News

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EMPLOYMENT APPEARS WEAKER IN DECEMBER

A Reuters survey of claims for state unemployment benefits shows a rise in joblessness during December, consistent with a stagnant labor market, economists said.

Reuters compiled the data in an attempt to provide a unofficial substitute for the jobless claims report that has been shelved as a result of the federal government shutdown.

A seasonally adjusted total for the Dec. 30 and Dec. 23 weeks, based on an estimated figure for 49 extrapolated states, yielded totals of 353,000 and 375,000 initial claims respectively.

Adjusted figures for the Dec. 16 and Dec. 9 weeks, based on 49 reporting states, produced totals of 363,000 and 334,000, respectively.

"It's telling you that the employment situation probably worsened in December," said Marilyn Schaja, money market economist at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Securities Corp.

Big Three to idle eight plants
DETROIT (Reuters) -- A day after reporting a drop in sales for 1995, the Big Three U.S. automakers said Friday they will slash production next week, idling eight North American car and truck assembly plants.

Ford Motor Co. said it would idle its truck plants in Edison, N.J., and St. Paul, Minn., its Mustang car plant in Dearborn, Mich., and its car and van plant in Lorain, Ohio.

General Motors Corp. said it is idling its Cadillac plant in Detroit next week, and will not build Camaro and Firebird sport coupes for the second week in a row at its plant in Ste. Therese, Que.

Chrysler Corp. said it will idle its Belvidere, Ill., plant, which builds Neon small cars, for the first time in a year. It also has scheduled down-time at its Newark, Del., plant, which builds Chrysler's Dodge Intrepid and Chrysler LeBaron cars.

U.S. to bolster trade enforcement
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Clinton administration put America's biggest trading partners, including Japan, Canada and Europe, on notice Friday that it will beef up enforcement efforts to make sure foreign countries are abiding by trade deals with the United States.

U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor said the administration will set up a new unit at his agency to make sure trade agreements reached by President Clinton and his predecessors are being honored. "As we have said time and again, the most important part of our job is what happens after we sign an agreement," Kantor said in a speech unveiling the new initiative.

Fastest Pentiums aren't so fast
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) -- Reviving memories of 1994's embarrassing defect in its Pentium chip, Intel Corp. revealed Friday that a computer bug overstated test results for some of its processors.

Intel blamed the error on the beta compiler it uses in an industry-standard test that compares the relative performances of computer chips.

Results for Pentium processors with speeds of 100 MHz and higher that were reported from Sept. 1, 1995, onward, and Pentium Pro processors introduced on Nov. 1, 1995, were about 10 percent higher than they should have been.

"We are embarrassed and truly sorry for this oversight," the company said in a statement.

Intel, AMD ink licensing pact
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) -- Almost a year to the day after they ended eight years of legal hostilities, semiconductor giants Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. said on Friday they signed a five-year patent cross-license agreement.

The arrangement gives Intel and its smaller rival the rights to use each others' patents and certain copyrights, exclusive of microprocessor microcode copyrights. The deal addresses forward-looking technology advances, allowing the companies to create an industry standard so that software developers can write to that standard, the companies said.

KLM, Northwest cut fares to Europe
MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) -- Northwest Airlines Inc. and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines said Friday they were offering discounts of 40 percent to 60 percent off regular advance-purchase air fares for U.S. travelers going to Europe during the winter season.

Northwest said tickets must be purchased at least seven days in advance for travel beginning Jan. 12 through Feb. 29 and completed by March 30. Deepest discounts are available for travel Monday through Thursday, the carrier said. A Sunday stay is required.

Couple says Goldinger cheated them
SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) -- Two investors who claim to have lost $4.8 million have accused financial adviser Jay Goldinger of hiding huge losses generated by his investment practices.

Michael and Linda Blumenfeld of New York contend in a lawsuit filed here that Goldinger continued to collect substantial commissions from trading activities even as losses mounted.

Goldinger's lawyers declined to comment until they had seen the lawsuit.

Common Fund president resigns
NEW YORK (AP) -- The president of the Common Fund, an investment pool that lost more than $138 million for 700 universities and colleges, resigned Friday.

David K. Storrs said in a statement that he has spent the six months since the losses were discovered trying to strengthen his fund's protections against investment risk.

The Common Fund has blamed the losses on securities trader Kent Ahrens of First Capital Strategists of York, Pa., claiming he disregarded its instructions to hedge investments to reduce risk.

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