Global Glance: EU and Britain fail in Brexit talks; US unemployment claims rise slightly

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

EU and Britain fail to make a breakthrough in Brexit talks

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union warned Britain Thursday that negotiations over its exit from the bloc have so far failed to make enough headway for discussions on a future trade deal to begin in October. Following four days of talks, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said “we are far from seeing sufficient progress” for him to be able to tell EU leaders that enough progress has been made for talks on a future relationship to begin. Read more

US unemployment claims rise slightly, remain low

More Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, but the numbers remained low and consistent with a healthy job market. The Labor Department said Thursday that 236,000 people filed claims for jobless aid, up from 235,000 a week earlier. The less volatile four-week average slipped by 1,250 to 236,750, the lowest since May. The number of Americans collecting unemployment checks fell slightly to 1.94 million, down 9.5 percent from a year ago. Read more

French president faces biggest test yet over labor reform

PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron faces his biggest test yet with Thursday’s release of a divisive pro-business labor reform that he hopes will foster stronger growth and reduce the country’s stubbornly high unemployment rate by revolutionizing the way the French work. But the high-stakes move comes just as his popularity is sinking, and unions and political opponents have already called for street protests and strikes in what could be an unusually hot autumn for the recently elected president. His plans to reform the labor market to make it more flexible were at the heart of Macron’s election campaign. However, opponents fear it will weaken hard-won worker protections that have become globally synonymous with the much-envied French lifestyle. Read more

China factory growth accelerates, service industries slip

HONG KONG (AP) — Chinese manufacturing activity picked up pace in August, according to an official survey indicating a crucial component of the world’s second-biggest economy is holding firm. The data released Thursday showed the monthly factory purchasing managers’ index rose to 51.7 from 51.4 in July. The index is based on a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 indicate expansion. Read more

Home Depot settles charges that it sold recalled products

NEW YORK (AP) — Home Depot has agreed to pay the U.S. government $5.7 million to settle charges that it sold recalled washing machines, fire extinguishers and other faulty products. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says the recalled products were sold by the home-improvement retailer between 2012 and 2016. In agreeing to the settlement, Home Depot did not admit guilt. Home Depot also agreed to continue a compliance program designed to make sure recalled products are not sold in its stores. Read more

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