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Business briefs.

Fallon lays off 62

WORCESTER -- Fallon Community Health Plan, an insurer offering multiple health plans to organizations and individuals, laid off 62 workers, or about 6 percent of its workforce, on Thursday.

Fallon President and Chief Executive Patrick Hughes said in a written statement that the insurer made the cuts to operate as efficiently and effectively as possible.

"This decision was made following a very careful review of our current and projected costs,'' Mr. Hughes said in a statement. "As all responsible companies do, we routinely evaluate all aspects of our business to determine how to be best positioned for future growth, and to meet new challenges in an evolving health care marketplace.''

Fallon continues to employ about 1,060 workers.

The health insurer posted net income of $7.3 million during the second quarter ended June 30. At that time, it had 229,385 members.

Fallon reported that workers affected by cuts are receiving severance and job placement services.

-- Lisa Eckelbecker

Mass. growth at 3.5%

The Massachusetts economy grew at an annual rate of 3.5 percent during the third quarter, outpacing U.S. growth of 2.8 percent, according to a new report.

MassBenchmarks, a journal published by the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, also revised upward the state's second-quarter growth rate, saying it came in at annualized rate of 1.7 percent, up from original calculations of 0.8 percent.

The journal attributed third-quarter growth to "slow, but better job growth, rising wage and salary incomes, and a higher rate of spending on items subject to sales taxes,'' according to a news release. "A recovering housing market and consumer and business spending are driving economic growth, providing some relief from the considerable federal fiscal drag in the form of mandated sequestration spending cuts and higher payroll taxes than last year that continues to slow both state and national growth.''

The calculations were based on employment estimates, since the Massachusetts employment report for September was delayed by the partial government shutdown last month.

In Washington, the Commerce Department reported growth accelerated to a 2.8 percent annual rate in the third quarter, an increase from 2.5 percent in the second quarter, but much of the gain came from a buildup in company stockpiles.

-- Lisa Eckelbecker

AMSC posts gains

DEVENS -- American Superconductor Corp. posted higher revenue during its fiscal second quarter as sales increased in its wind and power grid businesses.

The company, which goes by AMSC, said revenue during the quarter ended Sept. 30 totaled $24.2 million, up from $20.9 million during the same period last year.

AMSC lost $14.6 million, or 24 cents per share, during its second quarter, less than the loss of $15.9 million, or 31 cents per share, posted a year ago.

AMSC Chief Executive Daniel P. McGahn said in a news release that the company sees risks to hitting its full-year revenue target because of government factors impacting the energy industries in Australia, China and India. The company forecast revenue of more than $18 million and a loss of less than $17 million, or 28 cents per share, during its third quarter.

AMSC develops power technologies.

-- Lisa Eckelbecker

Hearing on Yellen

WASHINGTON -- The Senate Banking Committee has announced that it will hold a confirmation hearing next week to consider President Barack Obama's nomination of Janet Yellen to succeed Ben Bernanke in leading the Federal Reserve.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has said he will delay a full Senate vote on Yellen and other Obama nominees until the administration lets survivors of last year's attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, speak with congressional investigators.

-- The Associated Press

Fewer jobless

WASHINGTON -- The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits fell 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 336,000 last week, bringing applications to pre-recession levels.

The Labor Department said Thursday that the less volatile four-week average dropped 9,250 to 348,250.

-- The Associated Press
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Nov 8, 2013
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