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BUSINESS BRIEFLY

Verizon to charge $30 for cellphone upgrade

Verizon Wireless, the country's largest cellphone company, says it will start charging $30 every time a subscriber wants to upgrade to a new phone.

Other phone companies have introduced similar fees. Competitor AT&T raised its fee from $18 to $36 this year.

Verizon says it will start charging the fee April 22 and that it will help fund customer support and online educational tools.

Verizon is introducing the fee as cellphone companies are seeing profits cut by the cost of subsidizing smartphones, especially iPhones. Smartphones generally cost hundreds of dollars more than they sell for in stores. Wireless carriers count on making the money back through service fees over time, but those fees aren't growing as fast as smartphone sales. -- Associated Press

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Hiring looking good again

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A Federal Reserve survey of business conditions across the United States suggests last month's pullback in hiring may be temporary.

The survey released Wednesday showed that each of the Fed's 12 bank districts grew steadily from mid-February through April 2. And hiring was stable or increased throughout most of the country, according to the survey.

The Labor Department last week said job creation slowed in March to half the pace from the previous three months. But the Fed survey, which is anecdotal, didn't reflect the weakening.

"I didn't see any companies say that they're scaling back sharply on hiring because demand is slowing," said John Canally, an economist at LPL Financial.

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Best Buy probe continues

Best Buy Co.'s probe into former Chief Executive Officer Brian Dunn's personal conduct remains open after the electronics retailer's interim CEO told employees the disclosure of Dunn's departure was confusing.

Mike Mikan, director and interim CEO, assured 167,000 employees worldwide in an email today that the Richfield, Minnesota-based company will keep them apprised of developments.

Best Buy, the world's largest electronics retailer, announced Dunn's resignation yesterday, saying that the change was part of a "mutual agreement" that new leadership was needed. The company later said a board committee was investigating Dunn's "personal conduct, unrelated to the company's operations or financial control." -- Bloomberg News

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Financial seminars offered

Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Buffalo will hold four free financial seminars this month in honor of April's status as Financial Literacy Month.

The first class, "Money in Motion," will be held at 5:30 p.m. today; "Dollars and Sense" will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday; "Credit Counts" will be held at 6 p.m. April 19; and "Credit Reports Review Express" will be held at 9 a.m. April 28.

All classes will be held at the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Buffalo office, 40 Gardenville Parkway, Suite 300, in West Seneca. For reservations or more information, call 712-2060.

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Statewide job fair today

Eight career fairs will be held simultaneously in New York State today, one of them in Buffalo.

Buffalo's job fair will be held from 12:30 to 4 p.m. at the Walter J. Mahoney State Office Building, 65 Court St. Employers with jobs to fill in fields such as health care, manufacturing, government, higher education and retail will be present.

Job listings are also posted at www.jobs.ny.gov.

Other job fairs will be held in Albany, Binghamton, Hauppauge, New York City, Poughkeepsie, Syracuse and Utica.

There will be on-site interview space for employers wishing to conduct interviews.

For more information, call (888) 4-NYSDOL or visit www.labor.ny.gov.