Business news

Augusta area gains 800 jobs in August


Some of the jobs lost in July came back in August, according to numbers released Thursday by Georgia’s Labor Department.

The number of jobs in the Augusta metro area increased by 800 in August, making up for some of the 2,200 jobs lost in July.

The majority of employment gains came in government, education and health, offsetting losses in retail and hospitality.

Compared to August 2010, Augusta is down by 3,500 jobs, most of that in retail and government work.

The number of jobs in Georgia increased by 7,300 in August, most of the gain coming from seasonal workers in the public school systems who returned to work after being laid-off for the summer.

Also, first-time claims for unemployment insurance benefits in August decreased 8.3 percent to 56,476. Most of the first-time claims were filed in manufacturing, administrative and support services, trade, and construction.

In Augusta, initial claims for unemployment benefits declined 25 percent in August.

The Labor Department reported 1,966 claims for the metro area last month, down from 2,634 in July.

Higher prices eat into U.S. purchasing power

WASHINGTON — Consumers paid more for a range of goods and services last month, pushing up inflation and squeezing Americans’ purchasing power.

The Consumer Price Index rose 0.4 percent in August after jumping 0.5 percent in July. The core index, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, rose 0.2 percent.

For the 12 months that ended in August, the core index surged 2 percent, the biggest year-over-year increase in nearly three years. That’s at the high end of the Federal Reserve’s informal inflation target. It could limit the central bank’s ability to take further steps to try to revive the economy.

Blackberry-maker’s stock falls on losses

TORONTO — Shares of Research In Motion plummeted more than 16 percent after hours after the BlackBerry maker reported its net income and revenue declined in its fiscal second quarter.

The company continues to struggle to compete with the iPhone and smartphones running Google’s Android system.

RIM said Thursday that its net income was 419 million, or 80 cents per share, in the three months that ended Aug. 27. That’s down from $796.7 million, or $1.46 per share, a year ago. Analysts expected 90 cents per share, according to a poll by FactSet.

Factory ouput rises, mostly due to autos

WASHINGTON — Manufacturing was mostly weak in August, a troubling sign for the economy. But auto production increased for the second straight month, as supply chains improved after months of delays caused by the Japan crisis.

Factory output rose 0.5 percent in August, after increasing 0.6 percent in July, the Federal Reserve said Thursday.

Nearly all of the gain came from a 2.6 percent rise in autos and related products, evidence that supply chain disruptions are easing.

Overall industrial production ticked up 0.2 percent. That was weaker than July’s 0.9 percent increase.

In other news

THE AVERAGE RATE on a 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 4.09 percent this week, down from 4.12 percent. That’s the lowest rate seen since 1951.