Boeing freezing nonunion workers' pensions

Boeing Co. said it is freezing the traditional defined-benefit pensions for 68,000 nonunion employees — including managers and executives — starting in 2016. The Chicago-based aerospace company said in a statement that the employees will transition to a company-funded defined contribution retirement plan, effective Jan. 1, 2016. They will have a 401(k)-style retirement plan similar to what union machinists approved in a contentious contract-extension vote earlier this year. Nonunion Boeing employees hired since 2009 have not had a traditional defined pension plan. Thursday's announcement applies to those who started working for the company earlier, Seattle TV station KING reported.

Initial jobless claims drop to 3-month low

The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits dropped 26,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 323,000, the lowest level in three months as layoffs remain at prerecession levels. The Labor Department said that the four-week average of applications, a less volatile measure, fell slightly to a seasonally adjusted 336,500. That average indicates that companies are cutting few jobs and anticipate steady economic growth despite the winter slowdown. Applications are a rough proxy for layoffs. A total of 3.4 million Americans received unemployment benefits as of Feb. 15 — the latest period for which figures are available — down from 3.49 million the previous week.

Decline in factory orders eased in January

Factory orders fell again in January, but the rate of decline lessened after a steeper-than-initially-estimated drop the previous month, the Commerce Department said. New orders for manufactured goods, a key indicator of future factory output, were down 0.7 percent in January to $483 billion. Analysts projected orders would decline 0.5 percent. It was the second straight monthly decline and the harsh winter weather in much of the country probably was a factor. December's decline was revised down to 2 percent from an initial estimate of 1.5 percent, the Commerce Department said. The updated figure was the worst since July.

McDonald's testing cream cheese pastries

McDonald's Corp., the world's largest restaurant chain, has begun offering pastries in some locations, part of an effort to turn around declining U.S. sales by attracting more customers in the morning. Restaurants in San Diego recently began selling raspberry and cinnamon cream-cheese Petite Pastries in a test, said Lisa McComb, a spokeswoman for the company. With the purchase of a coffee, customers can also buy two of the pastries for $1.29, she said. Without a drink, two of them are $1.99.