New claims for unemployment benefits fell unexpectedly last week, the US Labor Department said. Some 286,000 Americans filed new claims for the week ending Sept. 4, down 4,000 from the previous week. The four-week moving average for jobless claims, which smoothes out week-to-week volatility, was up slightly to 287,500, the highest level since Aug. 8, when claims were at 288,250. Many analysts had been forecasting that new claims would increase a little last week. Economists generally consider jobless-claim levels below 300,000 an indication of an extremely tight labor market.
Ford Motor Co. will be the target in this fall's negotiations for a new three-year contract for auto workers in Canada, their leadership announced. A spokesman said the Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW) had chosen Ford because its US counterpart, the United Automobile Workers, was deciding between DaimlerChrysler and General Motors as the target company. The CAW's current contracts covering all three carmakers expire Sept. 21.
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