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Unemployment claims fall, job openings rise

BY CSA STAFF

Washington, D.C. The Labor Department reported Thursday that applications for unemployment benefits fell last week for the fourth time in five weeks, a sign that layoffs are declining.

Initial claims for jobless aid dropped by 11,000 to a seasonally adjusted 445,000. It’s the lowest level since the week ending July 10 and down from 504,000 initial claims in mid-August — the high point for the year.

Economists were mildly encouraged by the drop. But they also pointed out that claims remain at an elevated level consistent with weak job growth. Employers aren’t hiring enough to bring down the 9.6% unemployment rate.

In a separate report, the department said job openings rose in August for the second straight month to 3.2 million. Private sector openings increased to their highest level in 21 months, which could bode well for future hiring.

The department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey also said that private-sector layoffs plummeted to 1.6 million in August, the lowest monthly total in more than four years.

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Here comes the Modern Bride line at JCPenney

BY CSA STAFF

Here comes the Modern Bride line at JCPenney

PLANO, Texas – JCPenney announced that it is partnering with Conde Nast to launch Modern Bride, a new line of bridal accessories, to expand its bridal offerings.

The fine jewelery line will launch in February 2011 in stores and online with merchandise targeted primarily to the 25 to 34 year-old customer. The line will include an expanded assortment of bridal jewelery including engagement rings and wedding bands.

"This collaboration with the experts at Conde Nast will allow us to take our bridal business to the next level, creating an even more comprehensive and distinct destination for brides," said Myron Ullman, III, chairman and chief executive officer of JCPenney. "Conde Nast’s deep understanding of the bridal market and valuable direct connection to potential customers make them the ideal partner, allowing JCPenney to cater to brides who will appreciate the Modern Bride name and continue to shop with JCPenney beyond their wedding day."

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NRF anticipates moderate growth for holiday sales

BY CSA STAFF

NRF anticipates moderate growth for holiday sales

WASHINGTON – One of the world’s largest retail trade associations is projecting that holiday sales will increase by a moderate 2.3% to $447.1 billion.

The National Retail Federation said that while growth remains slightly lower than the 10-year average holiday sales increase of 2.5%, it would be a marked improvement from both last year’s 0.4% uptick and the dismal 3.9% holiday sales decline retailers experienced in 2008.

“While many consumers will be wishing for apparel and electronics this holiday season, retailers are hoping the holidays bring sustainable economic growth,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. “Though the retail industry is on stronger footing than last year, companies are closely watching key economic indicators like employment and consumer confidence before getting too optimistic that the recession is behind them.”

NRF’s holiday sales forecast is based on an economic model using several indicators, including employment, industrial production, disposable personal income and previous monthly retail sales reports. NRF defines holiday sales as those made in November and December.

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