In the Region

N.J.'s jobless rate hits 12-year high

Unemployment in New Jersey climbed to its highest level in 12 years in November. The state

Labor and Workforce Development Department

said yesterday that the jobless rate rose slightly from 6 percent in October to 6.1 percent last month - the highest rate since August 1996. Meanwhile, the nation's jobless rate rose to 6.7 percent, the highest rate in 15 years. New Jersey employers slashed 6,200 jobs in November, largely in professional and business services and also manufacturing. That's the fourth consecutive monthly loss. Officials say that over the first 11 months of 2008, employment in New Jersey has followed the national trend, falling by 34,400 jobs. Nationwide, 1,911,000 job losses have occurred over the same period.

- AP

Teleflex to cut 150 jobs

Diversified manufacturer

Teleflex Inc.

, Limerick, said it would eliminate 150 jobs by the end of 2009 to address weakness in marine and industrial markets. None of the job cuts are in the Philadelphia area, it said. The company, which employs 14,000 around the world, said it expected restructuring and related charges of about $2 million in the current quarter, and a total of $10 million to $12 million by the end of 2009. About 50 percent of the charges will be noncash, it said.

- Reid Kanaley

Pfizer buys experimental drug

Pfizer Inc.

will spend $75 million up front and as much as $410 million to buy the rights to develop

Auxilium Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s

experimental drug for two rare diseases including curvature of the penis, the companies said. Pfizer will acquire the rights to market the drug, called Xiaflex, for Peyronie's disease and Dupuytren's contracture, in the 46 European and Asian countries, New York-based Pfizer and Malvern-based Auxilium, said in a statement.

- Bloomberg News

Vanguard restricts access to 2 funds

Vanguard Group Inc.

, the Malvern manager of $1 trillion in U.S. mutual fund assets, closed two Treasury-focused money market funds to deposits from most institutional investors to keep low interest rates from dragging down yields. The $28.3 billion Vanguard Admiral Treasury Money Market Fund and $8.5 billion Treasury Money Market Fund stopped taking deposits Tuesday from financial advisers and other institutional investors, the company said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. The funds will continue to take deposits from individual investors up to a daily limit of $50,000. Restrictions on new customers protect returns for investors already in the funds because managers do not have to buy as many new Treasuries with yields lower than current holdings.

- Bloomberg News

State reduces bureau's grant money

Pennsylvania's grant money to the

Valley Forge Convention and Visitors Bureau

has been reduced from $713,827 to $680,875, or 4.6 percent, the bureau said in a statement. It cited the budget cuts recently announced by Gov. Rendell.

- Rhonda Dickey

Spirit to offer A.C.-to-Boston service

Spirit Airlines Inc.

will begin daily service between Atlantic City and Boston on May 1. The flight will leave Atlantic City International Airport at 5:20 p.m. each day, and will leave Boston for Atlantic City at 10:40 a.m. A coalition of New Jersey state agencies, casino companies, local businesses, and elected officials have been trying to expand air service and attract new airlines to Atlantic City. Boston was one city targeted by the group to draw new customers to Atlantic City casinos. The coalition is also targeting Chicago, Atlanta, and other cities east of the Mississippi.

- Linda Loyd

Lockheed wins part of contract

Lockheed Martin Corp.

said it would participate in a two-year, $20 million contract to develop space-situation awareness for the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center. Most of the work will be done in Valley Forge, where Lockheed has major operations, and in Azusa, Calif.

Northrop Grumman Corp.

will be a partner on the project. The system they develop will allow the Air Force to identify objects in space and enable personnel to make decisions to respond, a Lockheed spokesman said. The objects include satellites and weather-related debris, such as charged particles from solar flares.

- Paul Schweizer

S. Jersey bank to pay stock dividend

1st Colonial Bancorp Inc.

, Collingswood, declared a 5 percent stock dividend, payable April 15 to shareholders of record on April 1. Each shareholder will receive one share of common stock for every 20 shares of common stock he or she owns on that date. The banking company's earnings rose 9.6 percent in the first nine months of this year compared with the same period for 2007, president and chief executive officer Gerard M. Banmiller said. The company, formed in 2000, owns 1st Colonial National Bank and has $225 million in assets. It operates three branches.

- Paul Schweizer

Elsewhere

GMAC extends period for swap offer

GMAC Financial Services

has again extended the time for its offer to swap $38 billion of debt, saying it's getting closer to raising enough regulatory capital to become a bank holding company and eligible for a piece of the government's $700 billion bank-rescue plan. GMAC, which provides financing to General Motors Corp. customers and dealers along with home mortgage loans, is trying to exchange debt held by its divisions and Residential Capital L.L.C. mortgage business for cash, new notes or preferred stock. The move is an attempt to accumulate the $30 billion in regulatory capital required by the Federal Reserve to become a bank holding company.

- AP

Good news for Macy's

Shares of

Macy's Inc.

, the department store company, soared after the company amended its bank-credit agreement to remove doubts about its ability to pay off $950 million in debt maturing next year. The size on the $2 billion credit facility, led by

Bank of America Corp.

and

JPMorgan Chase & Co.

, and the maturity date of Aug. 31, 2012, are unchanged, Macy's said in a statement. The facility remains untapped, it said.

- Bloomberg News

Money market yields drop

The average seven-day yield on taxable money market funds was 0.88 percent this week, down from 0.94 percent last week, according to

iMoneyNet Inc

. A seven-day yield is an annual yield that is based on the preceding seven days' level of income by the fund. The average yield on tax-free funds was 0.58 percent this week, down from 0.62 percent from last week.

- Rhonda Dickey