Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Briefcase

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Briefcase

Article excerpt

NATIONAL THE ECONOMY Housing Starts Up 6.2% To New Four-Year To New Four-Year High

New housing construction rose 6.2 percent in December to the highest level in almost four years, bolstered by low mortgage rates and growing consumer confidence in the U.S. economy, the Commerce Department said Thursday.

It was the fifth consecutive monthly increase. For all of last year, housing starts were 7.1 percent higher than in 1992, the highest annual level since 1989, the government said.

Also Thursday, the Labor Department said jobless claims last week rose 23,000 to 380,000, a six-month high. Economists had expected them to fall by 14,000. And the four-week moving average of jobless claims, a less-erratic gauge of job loss, rose to 346,750 last week, the highest since early November. Bloomberg RECORDING Studios Deal Blow To Security System

Recording studios refused Thursday to set industry-wide standards to evaluate anti-theft tags for cassette tapes and compact discs, dealing a blow to tag-maker Sensormatic Electronics Corp.

Record stores have been trying to persuade the studios to install Sensormatic's Ultra-Max tags as part of the manufacturing process.

But the six biggest studios - including Sony Corp.'s Sony Music Polygram and Time Warner Inc.'s Warner-Elektra-Atlantic - oppose the Sensormatic technology because they say it distorts the sound in recordings. Reuters AUTOS Saturn Workers To Get `Reward'

General Motors Corp. said Thursday its 8,543 Saturn workers will receive bonus payments of about $2,867 at the end of month. The bonus, which Saturn calls a "reward payment," reflects Saturn's ability to meet its quality and productivity goals while still earning a profit last year. …

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