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July 6, 2012 at 5:16 PM
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Best Buy lays off 2,400 employees

RICHFIELD, Minn., July 6 (UPI) -- Electronics chain Best Buy, based in Richfield, Minn., announced Friday it was laying off 2,400 employees companywide as part of its restructuring plan.

Layoffs affect 1,800 store employees and 600 members of its Geek Squad customer service division, The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.

"These changes were previously announced as part of the leadership team's ongoing turnaround plan," said Bruce Hight, a spokesman for Best Buy's board. "We are working to minimize the impact of the changes to store employees, while building a foundation for a strong future."

Best Buy has about 1,050 stores and about 180,000 employees.

The company announced earlier it was closing 50 stores. Those layoffs were not included in the 2,400 total announced Friday.

Employees were notified of the layoffs this week, the Pioneer Press said.

Since March, the company has been in upheaval. Former Chief Executive Officer Brian Dunn resigned after an inappropriate relationship with a 29-year-old Best Buy employee. Board Chairman Richard Schulze resigned from the company he founded 46 years earlier after he failed to report Dunn's conduct. Other executives also have resigned and Schulze has hinted he may take the company private.

U.S. markets stumble Friday on jobs report

NEW YORK, July 6 (UPI) -- Stock indexes tumbled in New York Friday, reacting to a weak report on jobs.

The U.S. Labor Department reported 80,000 jobs were created in June. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 8.2 percent.

The 80,000 added jobs in June were about 10,000 fewer than economists had expected.

In late afternoon trading, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 124.20 points, 0.96 percent, to 12,772.47. On the New York Stock Exchange, 987 issues advanced and 2,033 declined on volume of 2.672 billion shares.

The Nasdaq composite index lost 38.79 points, 1.3 percent, to 2,937.33.

The S&P 500 shed 12.90 points, 0.94 percent, to 1,354.68.

The 10-year benchmark treasury note yielded 1.54 percent.

The euro was $1.2299 from Thursday's $1.2392. Against the yen, the dollar was 79.62 yen from 79.92 yen.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index gave up 0.65 percent, 59.05 points, to 9,020.75.

In London, the FTSE 100 index shed 0.53 percent, 30 points, to 5,662.63.

Incomes in Japan in decline

TOKYO, July 6 (UPI) -- A government report said that a record number of adults in Japan indicate they are struggling financially.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said in a report that 61.5 percent of households indicated they were struggling to earn a living, a record high, Kyodo News reported Friday.

The report said that the average income in Japan dropped sharply from 2009 to 2010.

Average household incomes fell by $1,658 from year to year to $67,613. That was a steep decline from the peak income year of 1994, when the average household income was at $83,473.

Data from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare show that the average household income for 2010 matched the average income level for 1988.

For those over 65 years old, the average household income fell from $38,851 to $38,600.

Households with children also saw incomes fall. The average income of households with one or more children dropped by $4,838 to $82,70, the report said.

Canada jobless rate hovers at 7.2 percent

OTTAWA, July 6 (UPI) -- Canada's unemployment for June was little changed at 7.2 percent, Statistics Canada reported Friday.

On a monthly basis, unemployment was down 0.1 percent. Annually, employment was up 1 percent, or 181,000 jobs, the agency said.

"The number of public sector employees increased by 39,000 in June," StatsCan said. "Employment growth over the previous 12 months was mostly among private sector employees, up 149,000."

Among the sectors that had employment gains were business, building, healthcare, educational services and utilities. Declines were reported in information, culture/recreation and agriculture, the report said.

By province, Newfoundland/Labrador ranked highest in the country for unemployment at 13 percent, which the agency said was attributed to more people entering the labor force and looking for jobs.

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