Business Briefs – September 8, 2016

Applications for Unemployment Benefits Slipped Last Week

WASHINGTON (AP) – Fewer Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, another sign the U.S. job market remains healthy despite a downshift in hiring last month.

The Labor Department said Thursday that the number of applications for jobless aid slid by 4,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 259,000, lowest since mid-July. Weekly claims have come in below 300,000 for 79 straight weeks, longest streak since 1970. The less volatile four-week average slipped by 1,750 last week to 261,250.

The number of people collecting unemployment checks has fallen more than 5 percent from a year ago to 2.14 million.

Consumer Borrowing Grows By $17.7 Billion in July

WASHINGTON (AP) – American consumers increased their borrowing in July, though the category that includes credit cards grew at the slowest pace since February.

The Federal Reserve said Thursday that consumer borrowing rose by $17.7 billion in July, up from a $14.5 billion increase in June. Revolving credit, which covers credit cards, rose by $2.8 billion, down from $9.2 billion in June and least since February’s $2.2 billion. The category that includes auto and student loans increased by $14.9 billion, up sharply from June’s $5.4 billion gain.

As U.S. Puts Breaks on Megadeals, Walgreens Prepares to Unload

Walgreens believes that it will probably have to unload more stores than expected to ease antitrust concerns over its pending, $9.41 billion acquisition of Rite Aid, a deal that would make the nation’s largest drugstore chain even larger.

While it still expects to complete the acquisition this year, the Deerfield, Illinois, company said Thursday that it will probably have to divest more than 500 stores. The company previously said that it expected to divest 500 or fewer.

Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. says it remains “actively engaged” with the Federal Trade Commission as it reviews the deal.

Mazda Recalls 2.2m Vehicles Worldwide; Rear Hatches Can Fall

DETROIT (AP) – Mazda is recalling 2.2 million cars and SUVs worldwide because the rear hatches can fall on people and injure them. The recall covers certain 2010 through 2013 Mazda 3 compact cars, as well as 2012 through 2015 Mazda 5 vans. Also included are certain 2013 to 2016 CX-5 and 2016 CX-3 SUVs.

Mazda says it has no reports of accidents or injuries caused by the problem.

Door Latch Recall to Cost Ford, Cut Into Full-Year Profits

DETROIT (AP) – Ford will spend $640 million to replace door latches on nearly 2.4 million cars, trucks and vans this year because the doors can pop open while the vehicles are moving.

On Thursday, the company announced it would add 1.5 million vehicles to the pesky and growing recall, which has become so costly Ford had to cut its estimated full-year pretax profit to $10.2 billion from at least $10.8 billion.

Customers have been complaining about the problem, which has affected much of Ford’s North American model lineup, since 2014. At least 3 million vehicles have been recalled due to the problem.

European Central Bank: Governments Must Do More for Economy

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) – The European Central Bank left its stimulus measures on hold Thursday and warned governments in the 19-country euro currency union that they need to do more to help the economy grow and push up inflation to healthier levels. The bank kept its key interest rates unchanged and decided against extending the duration of its existing bond-buying stimulus program.

Bank President Mario Draghi seemed relatively confident about the economy and less inclined to hint at more stimulus than some analysts had expected.