Wal-Mart hiring 60,000 seasonal workers

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it will hire 60,000 employees to meet increased shopping demand over the holiday season. The world's largest retailer said it will have more employees in stores and more registers open during peak hours, and it plans to add department managers at 3,500 stores. Wal-Mart says current employees will have the first choice to pick up additional hours. The Bentonville, Ark.-based company also hired 60,000 people for holiday season jobs last year, but says it has more employees working more hours in its stores than it did in 2014. The company says most of its holiday-season employees stayed with the company after the holidays ended.

Housing starts slid 3 percent last month

Builders broke ground on fewer houses and apartment complexes in August, a possible sign that the housing market may be levelling off after accelerating for much of the year. Housing starts last month fell 3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.13 million homes, the Commerce Department said. Construction activity slowed sharply in the Northeast and Midwest last month, edged downward in the West and climbed in the South. Still, homebuilding appears much stronger than a year ago, despite figures that can be highly volatile on a monthly basis. Construction slowed in part due to the expiration of tax incentives for developers in New York. Housing starts have climbed a solid 11.3 percent this year to date. Steady job gains of 2.9 million in the past 12 months are contributing to increased demand from buyers and renters.

Initial jobless claims down to 2-month low

The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest level in two months, suggesting employers remain confident enough in the economy to hold onto their workers. The Labor Department said weekly applications for unemployment aid dropped 11,000 to a seasonally adjusted 264,000. That's the lowest level since July, when applications plunged to a 41-year low. Applications are a proxy for layoffs, so the decline indicates that employers are cutting fewer jobs. Americans are enjoying strong job security: Applications have been below 300,000 for the past six months, which hasn't happened since 1973.

Computer glitch briefly grounds flights

American Airlines flights to and from Dallas, Chicago and Miami were briefly stopped by a computer problem that prevented passengers from checking in. Airline officials said they fixed their computer systems after less than two hours but were still trying to determine the exact cause of the interruption. American spokesman Casey Norton said there was no indication that the airline's computers had been hacked. The midday failure affected flights on American and its regional affiliate, American Eagle. The Federal Aviation Administration said that American Airlines planes destined for Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, O'Hare Airport in Chicago and Miami International Airport were held on the ground at other airports.

Olive Garden pasta passes sell out in a second

Olive Garden's unlimited pasta passes sold out instantly, drawing the ire of some customers who complained on Twitter and other social media. Customers who logged in to the site and tried to buy the passes the minute they went on sale at 1 p.m. Central time Thursday instead saw this message: Sorry, the never-ending pasta passes have sold out. Olive Garden was selling $100 individual and $300 family pasta passes. Only 1,000 of each pass were available. "At sale time, our system allowed in the first 2,000 guests to purchase the available pasta passes, which occurred in less than a second," said Olive Garden spokesman Justin Sikora.

Facebook sells video ads that play by default

Facebook is now selling video ads that the target audience is sure to see. The world's biggest online social network said advertisers can now buy ads that will be seen — from top to bottom — on a user's screen. Of course, this is still no guarantee that the user will choose to watch the entire video. But the option is likely to make advertisers happy. Facebook, which started showing mobile ads in 2012, views video as the next frontier in advertising. The company said the new buying option will be available for every type of ad, including text, photo and video.

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