Roundup: DeRidder cleanup / US retail soars / Jobless claims hit new low

    Scrubbed: The Environmental Protection Agency says cleanup of a DeRidder site contaminated with a heavy-duty wood preservative should be complete by 2027, The American Press reports EPA Remedial Project Manager Mike Hebert outlined the cleanup process to the DeRidder City Council last week. The 55-acre site was placed on the national priorities list last year. Hebert says preliminary assessments have found issues including soil contamination and piles of the preservative creosote. Read the full story.  

    Busy shoppers: U.S. retail sales surged in March at the fastest pace since late 2017, as spending on autos, gasoline, furniture and clothing jumped. The Commerce Department said this morning that sales increased a seasonally adjusted 1.6% from February, the strongest increase since September 2017. The gains mark a sharp rebound from a lackluster period of sales dating back to December. It’s a sign that the healthy job market has likely made consumers more eager to spend in ways that boost overall economic growth. Read the full story.  

    Hired: The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits dropped to the lowest level in nearly half a century. The Labor Department says claims for jobless aid fell by 5,000 last week to 192,000, lowest since September 1969. The four-week average, which is less volatile, dropped by 6,000 to 201,250, lowest since November 1969. Read the full story.   

    Editor’s note: The offices of Business Report will be closed on Friday, April 19, in observance of Good Friday Daily Report will not be published, and will return on Monday, April 22. Have a safe and happy holiday.

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