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Business highlights. US unemployment holds steady

The United States unemployment rate remained at 7.3 percent in July, its sixth month at that level, the Labor Department reported Friday. The economy created 245,000 jobs. That largely offset the total of people coming into the labor force to find work. Most of the job gains were again in the service sector, but manufacturing employment held steady for the first time this year.

The pool of the unemployed rose slightly, to a total of 8.45 million.

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The civilian labor force grew by more than 500,000 workers, the department's monthly survey of 60,000 American households showed. Almost all of that growth was accounted for by teen-agers looking for summer jobs.

However, the number of people laid off or fired from their jobs rose by 200,000. If the trend continued over several months, it could be disturbing for an economy still emerging slowly from the last recession.

Atlanta broadcaster Ted Turner, rebuffed in his bid to acquire CBS, is reportedly considering acquiring part of MGM-UA Entertainment Company. Turner Broadcasting in Atlanta had no immediate comment on the report, which was carried in the Friday New York Times. Mr. Turner's holdings include the Turner Broadcasting System and the Atlanta Braves baseball team. MGM-UA Entertainment is a film production company in Culver City, Calif. Its operations include United Artists Corporation.

Last week, CBS said it successfully concluded an offer to buy back 21 percent of its common stock from shareholders. Combined with a rather sluggish response from federal regulators, the CBS maneuver appears to have gone far toward thwarting Turner's takeover attempt.

Resolution of a strike against Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corporation appeared doubtful late last week. About 8,200 members of the United Steelworkers are staging the nation's first major steel shutdown in 26 years to protest Wheeling-Pittsburgh's effort to reduce wages and benefits. The company dissolved its labor contract as part of its current Chapter 11 reorganization in bankruptcy court.

After a meeting with the company last Thursday, US mediators said they would await company response to their proposals before setting a meeting with union leaders.

A nationwide strike by 20,000 teamsters is now in its second week, with no new contract talks scheduled with the National Automobile Transporters' Association. The union's bargaining team plans to meet tomorrow in Annapolis, Md. A few dealers have started bypassing striking car haulers to collect cars directly from factories, truck terminals, and rail yards.

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Ford said dealers had picked up more than 1,000 cars. Ford usually ships 14,000 cars and trucks a day. GM officials said they knew of no dealers picking up cars.

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