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W.Va. unemployment rate dips in November

Dec. 20, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

CHARLESTON -- West Virginia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell two-tenths of a percentage point to 7.3 percent in November.

WorkForce West Virginia said Tuesday that the number of unemployed state residents fell by 1,500 to 58,700, while total employment decreased 900.

A loss of 1,200 jobs in the goods-producing sector offset a slight gain of 300 jobs in service-providing sector.

Total nonfarm payroll employment has fallen 13,800 since November 2011, including losses in the goods-producing and service-providing sectors, as well as mining and logging, government and others.

Nationally, the unemployment rate decreased two-tenths of a percentage point to 7.7 percent last month.

The state's unadjusted jobless rate remained at 6.7 percent in November.

Discounts grow as stores attempt to salvage season

NEW YORK -- When it comes to fat holiday discounts, better late than never.

This holiday shopping season, many stores haven't been offering the same blockbuster deals as they have in years past. Instead, they've dangled offers of free shipping and no-fee layaways to lure shoppers.

But during the final weekend before Christmas, shoppers should expect to see more "70 percent off" and "buy one, get one free" signs as stores try to salvage a season that so far has been disappointing.

Teen retailer Aeropostale Inc. has slashed prices on everything in its stores by 60 percent. Rival teen chain American Eagle Outfitters is offering 40 percent off all purchases.

Saks Fifth Avenue is cutting prices on some designer clothing up to 60 percent. And Children's Place, a children's clothing chain, is offering up to 75 percent off on its website.

The discounts are aimed at luring shoppers who are planning to spend less on holiday gifts this year than last.

The discounting may be good news for shoppers, but the price slashing hurts stores. That's because stores' profits likely will suffer in their last-ditch effort to boost sales during the two-month holiday shopping period, a time when they can make up to 40 percent of their annual revenue.

To be sure, stores have been offering discounts throughout the season, but they resisted the blockbuster deals that ate away at profits last year. In fact, promotions and other discounting efforts were down 5 percent through Dec. 10 compared with last year, according to BMO Capital Markets, which tracks promotions at about two-thirds of mall stores. But sales have been slow, so stores will have to rely on the final days before Christmas to make up the difference.