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Nov. 15, 2012 at 7:57 PM
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Market slump drags on

NEW YORK, Nov. 15 (UPI) -- U.S. stock markets were mixed Thursday after the Labor Department said first-time unemployment claims soared in response to Hurricane Sandy.

Initial benefit claims rose by 78,000 to 439,000, partly due to a backlog of claims that could not be filed the week the hurricane hit and partly because some work has been suspended in the aftermath of the storm.

By close of trading Thursday, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 28.57 points or 0.23 percent to 12,542.38.

The Nasdaq was off 9.87 points or 0.35 percent to 2,836.94.

The Standard and Poor's 500 dropped 2.16 points or 0.16 percent to 1,353.33.

On the New York Stock Exchange, 999 stocks advanced and 2,086 declined on a volume of 3.8 billion shares traded.

The benchmark 10-year treasury was yielding 1.594 percent.

The euro rose to $1.2784 from Wednesday's $1.2735. Against the yen, the dollar rose to 81.21 from 80.25 yen.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index gained 1.9 percent, 164.99 points, to 8,829.72

In London, the FTSE 100 index lost 0.77 percent, 44.26, to 6,577.75.

N.Y. has all-time high 7.3 million jobs

ALBANY, N.Y., Nov. 15 (UPI) -- New York state has an all-time high 7.3 million job count after adding 5,900 private-sector jobs in the latest month, the state Labor Department said Thursday.

The state's unemployment rate fell 0.2 percentage points to 8.7 percent in October and New York City's fell to 9.3 percent from 9.5 percent, said the department, which reported its figures nearly two weeks after the U.S. Labor Department reported national figures.

The October U.S. unemployment rate, reported Nov. 2, was 7.9 percent, up a notch from September's 7.8 percent.

New York state added 9,400 non-farm jobs in October, the state Labor Department said. The number of unemployed in the state dropped 17,500 to 830,600.

New York City's economy is the biggest regional economy in the United States and the world's second-largest city economy after Tokyo's. The state's economy is No. 3 in the country, behind those of California and Texas.

The city's non-farm job growth, including the private sector and government, was up 2.6 percent compared with the same month last year, as employers added 98,400 non-farm jobs between October 2011 and last month. Private-sector job growth alone in the city was up 2.9 percent, or 94,400 jobs, year to year, the department said.

Ithaca, in central New York, had the state's highest year-to-year non-farm job growth, at 3.7 percent. New York City was second, followed by Kingston, 90 miles north of New York City, at 1.5 percent, the department said.

New York City, Ithaca and Kingston accounted for the greatest job growth in the state so far this year, the department said.

Study finds ads can change pay equality

CHICAGO, Nov. 15 (UPI) -- Women are as willing as men to negotiate salaries if they have been invited to do so, researchers at the University of Chicago said.

Concerning a study in which some jobs were advertised as having a negotiable salary and others were not, John List, the Homer J. Livingston professor of economics, said "simple manipulations of the contract environment can significantly shift the gender composition of the applicant pool."

The study was done by posting 18 job openings online in nine major U.S. cities from November 2011 through February 2012. The ads received interest from 2,422 people, out of which 2,382 were identified by gender by sorting through first names.

Negotiations for salaries were conducted by email. However, the study found women initiated discussions of salary 8 percent of the time and men 11 percent when salaries were listed as fixed. When they were listed as negotiable, women initiated the discussion 24 percent of the time, while men did so 22 percent of the time.

The study also found women were three times more likely to apply for a job that listed the salary as negotiable.

The study was conducted by List and Andreas Leibbrandt, a senior lecturer at Monash University in Australia and a former postdoctoral fellow at the University of Chicago's Department of Economics.

"By merely adding the information that the wage is 'negotiable,' we successfully reduced the gender gap in applications by approximately 45 percent," said List.

The study concluded that how a job is listed could have tremendous effect on pay equity, given women, if invited to negotiate on pay at the start of a job, would start a job on equal footing or less far behind than a male job applicant.

NHL standoff hurting retailers

TORONTO, Nov. 15 (UPI) -- The National Hockey League's union/owners' standoff is taking a major revenue toll on Canadian sports retailers, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

With all games through November already canceled, sports-reliant stores in Ontario and Quebec are reporting sales declines as high as 30 percent, the broadcaster said.

The frustration is shown in a YouTube video posted by Alan Pearson, who owns Raxan Collectibles in Kirkland, Quebec.

It's entitled "The NHL Destroyed My Business."

"I've run my business for more than 20 years," he posted. "I've been paying royalties. And what do you guys do for the second time in eight years?"

The 2004 season was canceled entirely over league and union disputes.

Bob Reaume, who runs a self-named sports shop in Windsor, Ontario, said his sales were down by at least 30 percent.

In big business, a major sponsor of hockey in Canada, brewer Molson Coors, said beer sales are down as a result of the standoff and will look for lost compensation from the NHL, the report said.

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