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In a sign that the labor market continues to be tight, the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits plummeted last week to 257,000, the lowest level since Dec. 1, 1973, the Labor Department reported. It earlier compiled similar statistics for the week ending April 1.

A silicon chip plant that was built in 1997 but never opened in central Scotland will be put into service by US electronics giant Motorola, the company said. An announcement said Motorola would invest $2 billion in buying and developing the 100,000 square-foot facility at Dunfermline, Scotland's ancient capital and one of its most economically depressed areas. Once up and running, in mid-2001, the plant will turn out chips for mobile phones. It is expected to employ 1,350 people. The factory was built by Hyundai Electronics Co. of South Korea, which promptly mothballed it amid the emerging Asia-wide financial crisis.

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(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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