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The Journal Gazette

Friday, October 13, 2017 1:00 am

Briefs

Wholesale prices soar from storms

News services

WASHINGTON – Rising energy costs led prices at the wholesale level to climb 0.4 percent in September – a bout of inflation that happened in the wake of Hurricane Harvey closing a critical number of U.S. gasoline producers.

The sharp rise is expected to be temporary as the effects of the hurricane fade.

The Labor Department said Thursday that its producer price index, which measures inflation pressures before they reach the consumer, has risen 2.6 percent over the past 12 months. September's burst of inflation is likely the result of oil refineries shuttering along the Gulf of Mexico due to Hurricane Harvey toward the end of August. As a result, gasoline prices surged 10.9 percent in September.

The jump in producer prices is occurring after years of subdued inflation. The Federal Reserve targets a 2 percent yearly increase in consumer prices in order to encourage economic activity, but the U.S. central bank has persistently missed that target for the past five years.

Chase profits up 7% from a year earlier

JPMorgan Chase & Co. third-quarter profits rose 7 percent from a year earlier, as the bank was able to increase revenue in its consumer banking business even though the company saw a sizable drop in trading revenue in the quarter.

The biggest bank by deposits and assets said Thursday that it earned a profit of $6.73 billion, or $1.76 per share, compared with $6.29 billion, or $1.58 a share, in the same period a year earlier. The results beat analysts' forecast of $1.65 a share, according to FactSet.

JPMorgan's consumer bank was the driver of this quarter's growth, reporting a 16 percent rise in net income. The bank saw higher deposit and loan growth and higher revenue in its credit card division, which the bank has been expanding aggressively in the last year with a new high-end credit card known as Chase Sapphire Reserve. Charge-offs in that business have been creeping steadily higher for several quarters, however, and the bank had to set aside an additional $223 million to cover potential losses.

Canada union chief says GM plans exit

The president of the Canadian auto workers union says General Motors is threatening to move production of the Chevrolet Equinox small SUV to Mexico as a strike continues at an Ontario factory that makes the same vehicle.

Unifor President Jerry Dias says GM has declared war on Canada with the threat. A GM official with knowledge of the bargaining says they're still talking but are at impasse over job security.

About 2,500 workers at the plant west of Toronto went on strike Sept. 17. The union wants GM to designate the plant as the main Equinox producer.

Unemployment applications drop

Fewer people sought unemployment benefits last week as the impact of last month's hurricanes on the U.S. economy fades.

Applications for U.S. unemployment aid fell 15,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 243,000. Applications fell in Texas and Florida, where Hurricanes Harvey and Irma inflicted heavy damage in late August and September.

The number of people receiving benefits nationwide fell 32,000 to a seasonally adjusted 1.89 million, the lowest level since late December 1973.