Weekly jobless claims drop
The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid fell 22,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 344,000, evidence that the job market might be picking up.
The four-week average of applications dropped 6,750 to 355,000, the Labor Department said Thursday.
Economists were mildly encouraged by the decline. It “suggests further healing in the labor markets,” Sal Guatieri, an economist at BMO Capital Markets, said in a note to clients.
Stronger hiring is one of the reasons economists expect growth is probably picking up in 2013 after a disappointing October-December quarter, when the economy barely grew.
Groupon shopping for CEO
Struggling online deals pioneer Groupon says it ousted CEO Andrew Mason and will look for a new chief.
Executive Chairman Eric Lefkofsky and Vice Chairman Ted Leonsis were appointed to the Office of the Chief Executive while a replacement is found.
The announcement came Thursday after the market closed.
Chrysler to hire 1,250 in Ind.
Chrysler will hire 1,250 new workers and spend $374 million to upgrade transmission plants in central Indiana, the only place in North America where the automaker makes transmissions.
The investment calls for $212 million to improve two plants in Kokomo and $162 million for equipment and the purchase of a plant in nearby Tipton, Ind.
The investments will help Chrysler build more nine-speed transmissions for the new Jeep Cherokee that goes on sale later this year, a redesigned Chrysler 200 to be launched next year and the Dodge Dart.
Chrysler said it expects to hire 400 new workers at its transmission and casting plants in Kokomo and 850 workers at the new Tipton plant.
Penney takes a big drop
Shares of J.C. Penney Co. plunged nearly 16 percent on Thursday, the biggest loser on the Standard &Poor’s 500 index for most of the day. The drop comes a day after the department-store chain reported its fourth consecutive larger-than-expected quarterly loss on another steep sales decline