In other news Thursday, BP announced it will attempt to use a smaller pipe to siphon leaking oil to the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, and a new report shows that the number of American households facing foreclosure is down 2 percent from a year ago, signaling signs of possible economic recovery.
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And now to the other news of the day.
Here's Hari Sreenivasan in our newsroom.
BP announced it will try and use a smaller pipe to stem the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. A company spokesman said the plan is to insert a six-inch tube into the jagged pipe where the oil is gushing, and siphon it to a tanker waiting on the surface. That work is set to begin tonight. BP put off plans to deploy a smaller containment dome over the leak until next week.
Meanwhile, the owner of the rig, Transocean, sought to limit its liability for the spill to $27 million. The company filed a petition in U.S. district court in Houston today.
In economic news, there were signs the foreclosure crisis could be easing. RealtyTrac, a foreclosure listing firm, reported the number of American households facing foreclosure is down 2 percent from a year ago. That marks the first annual decline in five years. At the same time, mortgage rates dropped to their lowest level so far this year. Mortgage corporation Freddie Mac attributed the decline to a high demand for U.S. government securities.
On the jobs front, the Labor Department reported new claims for unemployment dipped, but only slightly. It's the fourth straight weekly drop, indicating employers are hiring again, but not at levels to reduce the jobless rate.
President Obama addressed the unemployment issue today in Buffalo, New York. He acknowledged, many families are still struggling to pay their bills, but insisted the economy is improving, courtesy of the Recovery Act.
U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
We can say beyond a shadow of a doubt today we are headed in the right direction.
We are headed in the right direction.
All those tough steps we took, they're working. Despite all the naysayers who were predicting failure a year ago, our economy is growing again.
The president also pressed Congress to take fast action on a new round of jobs legislation. The measures are aimed at strengthening small businesses.
The new unemployment numbers sent stocks sliding on Wall Street today. The Dow Jones industrial average lost nearly 114 points to close just under 10783. The Nasdaq fell more than 30 points to close at 2394.
Those are some of the day's major stories — now back to Jeff.