- - Thursday, June 16, 2011

UNEMPLOYMENT

Jobless benefits filings drop, but remain high

Fewer Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, though applications remain above levels consistent with a healthy economy.

The Labor Department said Thursday that unemployment benefit applications fell 16,000 to a seasonally adjusted 414,000, the second drop in three weeks. That is a positive sign that layoffs are slowing.

Still, applications have been above 400,000 for 10 straight weeks, evidence that the job market is weak compared with earlier this year.

Applications had fallen in February to 375,000, a level that signals sustainable job growth. They stayed below 400,000 for seven of nine weeks, but applications surged in April to 478,000, an eight-month high, and have declined slowly since then.

AUTOS

Chrysler recalls vehicles to fix steering columns

DETROIT Chrysler Group LLC is recalling 11,351 cars, minivans and other models because a manufacturing problem can cause the steering wheel to collapse improperly in a collision.

Chrysler told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that it doesn’t know of any crashes or injuries caused by the problem. The recall affects 11 of the 20 models Chrysler has on sale for the 2011 model year.

NHTSA said on its website Thursday that a missing or incorrectly installed rivet could cause the problem, increasing the risk of injury in a crash.

Recalled vehicles include the Chrysler 200 midsize sedan and convertible and Town and Country minivan; the Dodge Avenger midsize sedan, Caliber compact car, Caravan minivan, Journey crossover vehicle and Nitro sport utility vehicle; and the Jeep Compass wagon and Patriot, Liberty and Wrangler SUVs.

The vehicles were built from mid-April to the middle of May.

HOUSING

Mortgage rates level off after hitting yearly low

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