Jobless claims down
The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell slightly in the
last week of 2013, suggesting that the U.S. labor market remains on a path of
gradual improvement. In the seven days ended Dec. 28, initial jobless claims
dropped by 2,000 to 339,000, the U.S. Labor Department said today. That's the
lowest level in four weeks. One year ago, claims stood at 372,000.
Best-selling U.S. truck
Ford Motor Co. is putting the F-150 pickup's 37-year winning streak on the line
in 2014, with an expected radical shift to aluminum. The new F-150 is expected to
use 600 pounds of aluminum, replacing about 1,000 pounds of steel, according to
industry consultant Ducker Worldwide. The move accounts for a big chunk of the
750 pounds that Ford has vowed to cut to improve fuel economy. Some experts
believe the truck will be able to get about 30 miles per gallon, up from the 17
to 19 mpg of current models.
productive in December
U.S. manufacturing ended the year on a high note, growing in December at its
fastest pace in 11 months, while the rate of job growth was the swiftest since
March, an industry report showed on Thursday. Financial data firm Markit said
its final U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index rose to 55 last month,
beating November's 54.7 reading and an initial December estimate of 54.4. A
reading above 50 indicates expansion.