Global Glance: U.S. unemployment dips, General Motors profit doubles

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Here are today’s top business headlines from across the nation and world:

U.S. unemployment applications dipped to 253,000 last week

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits declined slightly last week, falling to the lowest point in 13 weeks. The Labor Department says that weekly benefit applications dipped by 1,000 to 253,000, the lowest level since it stood at 248,000 for the week of April 16. The weekly claims applications had been at 254,000 for the previous two weeks. Weekly claims, which are a proxy for layoffs, have been below 300,000 for 72 consecutive weeks, the longest stretch since 1973. Despite this prolonged low level, there had been worries that employment growth was slowing after weak reports in April and May. However, the anemic increase of 11,000 jobs in May was followed by a gain of 287,000 in June, easing fears that the country’s job machine might be sputtering. Read more

General Motors 2Q profit more than doubles on U.S. earnings

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors’ second-quarter profit more than doubled to a record $2.87 billion, even as the company cut sales to rental car companies and saw its sales fall in the U.S., its most lucrative market. The profit was so strong that GM raised its full-year earnings per share guidance by 25 cents to $5.50 to $6. Read more

European Central Bank keeps interest rates at record low

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The European Central Bank left its key interest rates unchanged at record lows on Thursday as it assesses the impact on the economy of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union. ECB President Mario Draghi is expected to use his post-decision news conference to underline the bank’s willingness to add to its stimulus programs in coming months if the economy appears to be taking a serious hit. The June 23 vote to leave the EU holds the potential to hurt trade between Britain and the remaining 27 European Union countries since they will have to negotiate new trade rules, a process that will take years. Read more

U.S. Treasury chief stresses need for Greek debt relief

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew stressed Thursday the importance of making Greece’s debt sustainable, praising the country’s progress in reforming its economy as part of its international bailouts but urging it to continue implementing the necessary measures. Speaking in Athens after talks with Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos, Lew said further progress on reforms was important so European creditors could begin discussions with the International Monetary Fund on “the timing and details of debt relief.” Read more

Clinton has more cash; Trump forgives loans

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her party entered July with nearly $11 million more on hand than her Republican counterpart’s operations, a strong showing of fundraising as both campaigns dive into the general election. Republican nominee Donald Trump also zeroed-out more than $47 million in personal loans he’s made to his own campaign since last year. Trump and the Republican Party, which officially selected Trump as its White House contender Tuesday, had $41 million cash on hand compared with Clinton and the Democrats’ $52 million. Read more

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