- - Tuesday, April 19, 2011

LABOR

Unemployment falls in two-thirds of states

The unemployment rate fell in two-thirds of the nation’s states last month, the latest evidence that the strengthening economy is encouraging many employers to boost hiring.

The Labor Department said Tuesday that the unemployment rate dropped in 34 states in March. That’s the largest number of states to record a decline since June. The rate rose in seven states and was unchanged in nine and the District.

Employers hired more workers in 38 states. A government survey of employer payrolls found only 12 states plus the District lost jobs last month, the fewest since October.

Nationally, the unemployment rate fell in March to a two-year low of 8.8 percent, and private employers added more than 200,000 jobs for the second consecutive month. That’s the largest two-month hiring total in four years.

HOUSING

New-home construction increased in March

Builders broke ground on more new homes last month, giving the weak housing market a slight boost at the start of the spring buying season.

Home construction rose 7.2 percent in March from February to a seasonally adjusted 549,000 units, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. Building permits, an indicator of future construction, rose 11.2 percent after hitting a five-decade low in February.

Still, the building pace is far below the 1.2 million units a year that economists consider healthy. And March’s improvement came after construction fell in February to its second-lowest level on record dating back more than a half-century.

ADVERTISING

Hoover pulls ads over canceled soaps

NEW YORK | A Hoover executive who says his wife and mother are big fans of two soap operas canceled by ABC is yanking the vacuum-makers’ ads from the network in protest.

Hoover’s vice president of marketing, Brian Kirkendall, announced on the company’s Facebook page that the ads will be lifted Friday, if not sooner. More than 11,000 people said they “liked” the action, many writing messages of support.

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