The outlook for the U.S. job market is brightening after a government report showed a sharp drop in the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits. Weekly applications fell 27,000 to a seasonally adjusted 341,000. And the four-week average stayed near a five-year low. Economists were encouraged by the decline but want to see the progress sustained and more jobs created. They note that since the recession ended the job market has shown brief bursts of improvement that have faltered after a few months.
The price tag for a South Carolina project intended to turn weapons-grade plutonium into fuel for Tennessee Valley Authority nuclear reactors has gone up by $2 billion, according to the General Accountability Office. GAO estimates the overall cost for the National Nuclear Security Administration project is now just under $7 billion, with still several more years to go before the facility is expected to open. The MOX plant would blend weapons-grade plutonium to create fuel for commercial nuclear reactors and is the first of its kind in the United States. Officials say the project is more than half completed. TVA also has begun holding public meetings and gathering input in preparation for potentially signing on as a MOX customer, he said.