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Applications for US unemployment aid rise to 6month high

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Applications for US unemployment aid rise to 6-month high by Christopher S. Rugaber, The Associated Press Posted Jan 21, 2016 6:35 am MDT Last Updated Jan 21, 2016 at 10:00 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email WASHINGTON – The number of people seeking unemployment benefits rose last week to the highest level since July, though applications remained at historically low levels.THE NUMBERS: Weekly applications for unemployment aid rose 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 293,000. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, increased to 285,000, the highest since April. The number of Americans receiving aid has fallen nearly 9 per cent in the past year to 2.2 million.THE TAKEAWAY: The applications figure remains below 300,000, where it has stood since last March. That is a low level that points to few layoffs. Yet it has increased nearly 10 per cent in the past month. The rise could reflect volatility in the data after the winter holidays, when many temporary retail employees are laid off. The government adjusts the figures to reflect those seasonal trends, but isn’t always able to do so perfectly.KEY DRIVERS: Global financial markets have plunged since the year began over fears that world economic growth is slowing by more than most analysts expected. A sharp plunge in oil prices has also unnerved investors, who see it as a potential sign of slower growth.Applications for unemployment aid are a proxy for layoffs and can indicate whether businesses are sufficiently nervous about the economy to cut jobs. Some companies have announced job cuts in recent weeks, including Johnson & Johnson, Regions Bank and Aeropostale.Last week’s rise in applications “is not a big move, but it is enough to be concerning,” said Jim O’Sullivan, an economist at High Frequency Economics. “The data are starting to suggest some slowing. Claims will be very important to watch in coming weeks.”BIG PICTURE: Even with all the gloom in financial markets, consumers are still willing to splash out on restaurant meals, autos and travel, providing crucial support to the economy. That is helping to offset the impact of a strong dollar and slower overseas growth, which has hurt manufacturers.So far, most economists expect the U.S. economy to continue growing this year, though at a slow pace, despite the headwinds from overseas. FILE – In this May 30, 2013, file photo, job seekers line up to talk to recruiters during a job fair held in Atlanta. On Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016, the Labor Department reports on the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits a week earlier. (AP Photo/John Amis, File) read more

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Aimia suddenly suspends dividends following Air Canadas decision to cut ties

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Aimia suddenly suspends dividends following Air Canada’s decision to cut ties by The Canadian Press Posted Jun 14, 2017 5:33 am MDT Last Updated Jun 14, 2017 at 6:20 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email MONTREAL – Aimia Inc. (TSX:AIM) is immediately suspending all dividends on common and preferred shares, including previously declared payments that were to be made at the end of this month.The Montreal-based company runs Aeroplan and other customer reward programs for various businesses including Air Canada (TSX:AC), its original customer.Aimia says the dividend suspension is required following Air Canada’s decision to stop using Aeroplan and launch its own customer reward program in 2020.That announcement sparked a major decline for Aimia shares, which closed at $1.89 on Tuesday, worth less than one-quarter what they were worth prior to May 10.Aimia says a capital impairment test required by the Canada Business Corporations Act prevents it from paying the dividends, even though it has the liquidity to do so.“Our business continues to perform well and generate strong free cash flow,” executive chairman Robert Brown said in a statement.Shareholders who are entitled to previously declared dividends may be paid at a future date.Aimia says it’s actively working on forming new long-term relationships for the period after Air Canada departs and is making progress on cutting $70 million of costs from its business.The company also announced Wednesday that it will reduce the size of its board of directors to nine members, from 12.It says Joanne Ferstman, Alan Rossy and Beth Horowitz have resigned as directors. read more

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