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Roundup: Bayer cuts 200 U.S. jobs; US trade deficit widens 8 percent in September; more

| Friday, Nov. 15, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Bayer to lay off 200, mostly in U.S.

Bayer HealthCare, which includes the former Medrad facilities in the greater Pittsburgh area, is laying off about 200 employees in the United States and the European Union. About 75 percent of the layoffs will impact employees in the United States, including Pittsburgh, Bayer spokesman Raymond F. Kerins Jr. said Thursday. The layoffs are hitting the company's HealthCare radiology business, “following unprecedented and unexpected market changes in the U.S. and some countries in Europe,” Kerins said. Bayer employs about 110,000 employees globally, with more than 15,000 in the United States and about 2,500 in the Pittsburgh area, Kerins said. Bayer's Pittsburgh operations include material sciences and health care, legal and human resource divisions, and its financial arm, according to Kerins. The company's greater Pittsburgh locations include the Heilman Center for Innovation in RIDC Park, O'Hara; the Friel Center in Indiana Township; and the Marshal Township and Saxonburg facilities.

Trade deficit widens 8% in September

The U.S. trade deficit widened in September as imports increased to the highest level in 10 months while exports slipped. The wider gap suggests growth was somewhat slower over the summer than previously estimated. The deficit increased to $41.8 billion, up 8 percent from August, the Commerce Department said Thursday. It was the largest trade gap since May and marked the third straight month that the deficit has risen since hitting a four-year low in June.

McDonald's to add window to drive-thru

McDonald's has an idea for speeding up service at the drive-thru: add another window. Under the current set up, customers place their orders, then drive up to a window where they pick up their food. The fast-food chain says it's testing a “Fast Forward Drive-Thru” that lets customers drive to a third stop if their orders aren't ready. McDonald's spokeswoman Lisa McComb says the Fast Forward Drive-Thru will be featured in new and renovated restaurants starting next year.

Unemployment benefit applications dip

The number of people applying for U.S. unemployment benefits slipped 2,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 339,000, the fifth straight decline. The Labor Department said Thursday that the less volatile four-week average fell 5,750 to 344,000. The average has dropped 11 percent in the past year. Applications are a proxy for layoffs. They have fallen back near pre-recession levels this month after spiking in early October because of the partial government shutdown and processing backlogs in California.

Other business news

• A North Side complex, where the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has a truck maintenance and warehouse for distribution of advertising inserts in the paper, has been placed on the market for an undisclosed price. The newspaper previously has said it was investing in a new printing press, but declined to identify any site. Randy McCombs, executive vice president, Grant Street Associates Inc., is marketing the property. MCombs is also helping find a new location for the Post-Gazette with reports that it is considering sites near Pittsburgh International Airport and in Crafton.

— Staff and wire reports

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