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Business Highlights

The Associated Press

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Kodak workers, retirees, investors brace for pain

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) â¿¿ The ripple effect from Eastman Kodak Co.'s bankruptcy reorganization extends in many directions: Employees brace again for layoffs, retirees fret over health care coverage, and the photography icon's biggest creditors and stakeholders â¿¿ from movie studios and big-box retailers to CEO Antonio Perez â¿¿ are preparing for a sharp sting in their pocketbooks.

Rochester mayor Tom Richards described Thursday's Chapter 11 filing as more of a psychological blow than an economic jolt to the city, where Kodak has been an engine of local commerce for 132 years. Its payroll in the medium-sized city along Lake Ontario has slipped below 7,000 from a peak of 60,400 in 1983.

Unable to keep pace with a shift from film to digital technology over the last decade, Kodak said it has secured $950 million in financing from Citigroup Inc. and expects to be able to operate its business during bankruptcy reorganization and pay employees.

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Unemployment claims at 352,000, fewest since 2008

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ The number of people seeking unemployment benefits plummeted last week to 352,000, the fewest since April 2008. The decline added to evidence that the job market is strengthening.

Applications fell 50,000, the biggest drop in the seasonally adjusted figure in more than six years, the Labor Department said Thursday. The four-week average, which smoothes out fluctuations, dropped to 379,000. That's the second-lowest such figure in more than three years.

A department spokesman cautioned that volatility at this time of year is common. Applications jumped two weeks ago largely because companies laid off thousands of workers hired for the holidays.

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Consumer prices flat for 2nd straight month

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ Consumer prices were unchanged last month, the latest sign that inflation remains tame. Lower gas prices offset rising costs for food, medical care and housing.

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