Business Briefs: Pa.'s rehab hospitals saw jump in operating margin

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Pa.'s rehab hospitals saw jump in operating margin

Pennsylvania's rehabilitation hospitals had an average 14.13 percent operating margin in fiscal 2011, a near-4 percent increase, while the average operating margin at freestanding psychiatric hospitals fell slightly to 5.23 percent. The data were reported today by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council, an independent state agency in Harrisburg. More than half of the patient revenue for the state's 19 psychiatric hospitals came from Medical Assistance. The list of 19 hospitals does not include Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic because it is part of the larger UPMC health system. Long-term acute care hospitals saw a slight decline in their average operating margin, from 6.23 percent in fiscal 2010 to 5.97 percent in 2011. The report will be available on the council's website, www.phc4.org.

Fresh Market signs lease for Mt. Lebanon location

The Fresh Market chain, based in Greensboro, N.C., announced it has officially signed the lease for the site at 1551 Washington Road in Mt. Lebanon, its first Pittsburgh-area location.

Small banks, credit unions tend to offer free checking

Looking for a free checking account? You're more apt to find one at a small bank or credit union, according to a nationwide survey by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. The survey found free checking was available at roughly six out of 10 small banks and credit unions, but only at about one-quarter of big banks. Big banks were defined as having more than $10 billion in deposits.

K&L Gates approved to open Seoul office

Pittsburgh-based K&L Gates said it won approval from the Korean government to open an office in Seoul. The office, which K&L expects to open in January, will be the firm's 42nd location worldwide and seventh in Asia.

Consumer price index ticked upward in October

The consumer price index rose a seasonally adjusted 0.1 percent in October, the Labor Department said Thursday. That's down from sharp gains of 0.6 percent in the previous two months, which were driven by a spike in gas prices that has since receded. Gas prices fell 0.6 percent last month. Food prices rose 0.2 percent, pushed higher by steep increases in milk and cheese costs. Excluding volatile food and gas, core prices increased 0.2 percent last month.

Jobless benefit applications spike in wake of storm

Superstorm Sandy caused a spike in the number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits last week with Pennsylvania taking the hardest hit, up 7,766. Nationwide, the Labor Department said applications surged by 78,000 to a seasonally adjusted 439,000, the highest level in 18 months. Economists say the increase is temporary and applications should fall in a few weeks after the storm's impact fades.

McDonald's USA president Jan Fields steps down

Jan Fields, president of McDonald's USA, has stepped down, days after the Oak Brook, Ill.-based burger giant announced its first monthly same-store sales decline in nearly a decade. Ms. Fields, 57, will be succeeded by Jeff Stratton, currently the company's global chief restaurant officer.

Fewer U.S. homes entered foreclosure through October

Between January and October, 971,533 homes were placed on the path to foreclosure, down 8 percent from the same period last year, foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday. At the other end of the foreclosure process, banks repossessed 559,063 homes through the end of last month, a decline of nearly 19 percent from a year earlier. That puts lenders on pace to complete 650,000 foreclosures this year, down from 800,000 in 2011, the firm said.

Chrysler expects more jobs

Chrysler plans to add up to 1,250 jobs at three factories as it prepares for a rise in pickup sales. The company said Thursday that it will invest $238 million at engine plants in Detroit and suburban Trenton, Mich., and add a third shift at a pickup truck factory in nearby Warren.

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