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Business

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Briefs

GM poised to call back Cruze cars

General Motors is preparing to recall about 33,000 Chevrolet Cruze compact cars because the air bags might not inflate properly in a crash.

Spokesman Jim Cain says the cars were built with an faulty part made by Japanese supplier Takata Corp. But he says the problem is different from another issue with Takata air bags that is affecting much of the auto industry.

The recall could come as early as today. It affects certain 2013 and 2014 Cruzes.

GM on Wednesday told dealers to stop selling Cruzes until it figured out the problem. But Cain says the stop-sale order was lifted for most Cruzes later that day. He didn’t know whether it cost GM any sales.

The Cruze is built in Lordstown, Ohio, and is GM’s top-selling car.

Senate approves job training bill

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act approved Wednesday by the Senate includes a provision offered by Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind.

Donnelly’s proposal would “modify existing federal training programs so that they place a priority on programs and certifications that are recognized and demanded by industry,” his office said.

“We need to prepare workers for the jobs that are available now,” Donnelly said.

The bill, which passed the Democratic-controlled Senate 95-3, goes to the Republican House for consideration.

The legislation is designed to update and streamline federal job training programs and would replace the Workforce Investment Act of 1998.

Jobless aid claims show slow decline

The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits declined last week, the latest evidence that a sharp economic slowdown earlier this year hasn’t caused employers to cut jobs.

Weekly unemployment benefit applications fell 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 312,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, rose 2,000 to 314,000.

The average has fallen 9 percent since the start of this year.

Applications are a proxy for layoffs, so the declines indicate that companies are cutting fewer jobs.

The figures come a day after the government said the economy shrank at a 2.9 percent annual rate in the first three months of the year, the worst reading since early 2009, when the U.S. was mired in the depths of the recession.

The number of people actually receiving benefits inched up by 12,000 to 2.57 million. But the small increase comes after the level fell to a six-year low in the previous week.

Alcoa invests $3 billion in jet engine parts firm

Alcoa is delving deeper into the aerospace industry, spending nearly $3 billion to acquire the British jet engine component company Firth Rixson.

The Pittsburgh company said Thursday that the deal will boost annual aerospace revenue by 20 percent, to about $4.8 billion, as the company continues to turn its focus away from its mining and aluminum smelting roots.

Company shares rose more than 2 percent while broader indexes slipped.

Alcoa will pay $2.35 billion in cash and $500 million in stock to Firth Rixson’s current owner, the private equity firm Oak Hill Capital. Firth Rixson products include jet engine parts like turbine and compressor cases.

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