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Recessions and depressions

US jobless aid applications rise to 311,000

Applications for US unemployment benefits increase to 311k; averages at pre-recession levels
Josh Boak, The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - More people applied for U.S. unemployment benefits last week, although jobless claims continue to be close to pre-recession levels.

Weekly applications for unemployment aid climbed 21,000 to a seasonally adjusted 311,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The prior week's was revised up slightly to 290,000.

Retail sales weaken in Dec. but cap a record year

Retail sales inch up to end record year; holiday-season layoffs boost unemployment claims
Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - America's retailers enjoyed a record 2011 and their first $400 billion sales months ever. But the final month of the year was a dud.

Sales eked out a 0.1 per cent increase in December, to a seasonally adjusted $400.6 billion.

It was the second straight month that sales topped $400 billion. Revised government data showed that sales in November also surpassed that level.

Skyscraper boom may herald downturn

Pride cometh before a fall: Skyscraper boom may herald economic downturn
Erika Kinetz, The Associated Press

MUMBAI, India - A skyscraper building boom in China and India may be a sign of an impending economic correction in two of Asia's largest economies, according to a new report by Barclays Capital.

Barclays has mapped an "unhealthy correlation" between construction of the world's tallest buildings and impending financial crises over the last 140 years.

Today, China is home to half of the world's skyscrapers — defined as buildings over 240 metres tall — currently under construction.

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