When Gary Gless bought his sleek, modernist house in Los Angeles in 2002, he thought he had hit a "gold mine." The world's largest inner-city park - featuring a lush, 18-hole golf course - was about to get built across the street. The park plan was ditched, and Freeport-McMoRan Oil & Gas LLC now operates 700 wells there - and 400 more are on the way. All the drilling, Gless says, has caused house foundations to crack and swimming pools to start to slide down hills. "I wouldn't even buy my own home." Freeport-McMoRan, part of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc, said that, for the past three years, its surveys of the oilfield and surrounding communities have found no connection between its activities and "localized claims of property damage." It said it would continue to evaluate the issue.
First-time claims for US unemployment benefits jumped in the first week of December from November's low numbers, official data released Thursday showed. New jobless claims rose to 368,000 in the week ending December 7 from the prior week's upwardly revised figure of 300,000, the Labor Department said. Adjusting the data for the Thanksgiving holiday is always problematic, however, and this jump will likely be reversed in subsequent weeks," said Marisa Di Natale of Moody's Analytics. The claims numbers, a sign of the pace of layoffs, came after the Labor Department on Friday reported the jobless rate fell to a five-year low of 7.0 percent in November and the economy added 203,000 jobs, picking up from the two previous months.