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New jobless claims up by 12,000

WASHINGTON » The number of people filing new claims for unemployment benefits jumped last week after three straight declines, another sign that the pace of layoffs has not slowed.

Initial claims rose by 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 472,000, the Labor Department said yesterday. It was the highest level in a month and overshadowed a report that showed consumer prices remain essentially flat.

The rise highlighted concerns about the economic rebound — especially after a report earlier this week said home construction plunged in May after government tax credits expired.

Maui sister firm builds biodiesel plant

Pacific Biodiesel Technologies, sister company of Maui-based Pacific Biodiesel, has designed and built the first commercial biodiesel plant for Alaska Green Waste Solutions in Anchorage, Alaska.

The plant, which held its grand opening yesterday, has a capacity of 1,000 gallons a day.

 

Consumer prices decline again

WASHINGTON » Consumer prices fell for the second straight month, extending a break for Americans’ pocketbooks. Less expensive energy bills were the main factor pulling down prices.

The Labor Department reported yesterday that the Consumer Price Index, the government’s most closely watched inflation barometer, dropped 0.2 percent in May, following a 0.1 percent dip in April.

"The weak recovery has its upside, declining energy costs, and that is helping take pressure off the cash-strapped consumer," said Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors.

The drop marked the biggest decline since consumer prices plunged 0.7 percent in December 2008. That was a period when the worst recession since the 1930s stoked fears of deflation. The country didn’t get stuck in a deflationary spiral then, and probably won’t now, economists say.

 

Executive resigns MySpace post

MySpace Co-president Jason Hirschhorn resigned from News Corp.’s social-networking site effective June 30, the latest management change as Internet users flock to bigger rival Facebook Inc.

Hirschhorn, who joined Los Angeles-based MySpace last year, is returning to New York, News Corp. Chief Digital Officer Jon Miller said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. Co-president Mike Jones will lead the business, and there are no plans to bring in additional management, Miller said.

MySpace already has gone through a management shakeup this year as usage declines. Hirschhorn and Jones were promoted to co-presidents in February after Owen Van Natta stepped down as chief executive of the unit. A former Facebook executive, Van Natta resigned less than a year after he was hired to replace co-founder Chris DeWolfe.

 

EU to reveal potential bank losses

BRUSSELS, Belgium » European Union leaders agreed yesterday to go public with the results of "stress tests" checking the stability of the bloc’s banks, an attempt to restore confidence to markets spooked since Greece demanded a bailout to prevent an embarrassing default.

Markets welcomed the news with the euro climbing to about $1.24, its highest in about three weeks, and stock markets rising.

Despite market fears that Spain might be the next to need a rescue plan, EU leaders meeting at a summit of the 27-nation bloc in Brussels insisted that they are not worried.

 

ON THE MOVE

The Doubletree Alana Hotel-Waikiki has appointed David W. Betham to director of finance. His experience includes working in various positions at Polynesian Adventure Tours, Turtle Bay Hilton Golf & Tennis Resort, Aramark-Denali Park Resorts and VECO Alaska, as well as being president of USO and vice president of KTG Trans.

Hawaii resident D. Trinidad Hunt was honored with the 2010 VIP Woman of the Year Award from the National Association of Professional Women. Hunt is an international motivational speaker and corporate consultant and has 30 years’ experience in education curriculum and corporate program development.

Brad Packer has been appointed as director of public relations for Four Seasons Resorts Hualalai at the Historic Kaupulehu, and will continue to serve for the company’s resort in Bora Bora. He has 18 years of hospitality experience as director of public relations at Four Seasons Resorts Lanai, Chris Blackwell’s Island Outpost and Noble House Hotels & Resorts, as well as PR manager for the Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino and holding casino marketing and public relations positions with Station Casinos and Mirage Resorts.

 

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