FAA boss, agency too lax on Boeing; Job claims jump  

The top U.S. aviation regulator said Thursday that the Federal Aviation Administration should have been more aware of manufacturing problems inside Boeing before a panel blew off a 737 Max during an Alaska Airlines flight in January.

“FAA’s approach was too hands-off — too focused on paperwork audits and not focused enough on inspections,” FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker told a Senate committee.

Whitaker said that since the Jan. 5 blowout on the Alaska jetliner, the FAA has changed to “more active, comprehensive oversight” of Boeing. That includes, as he has said before, putting more inspectors in factories at Boeing and its chief supplier on the Max, Spirit AeroSystems.

Whitaker made the comments while his agency, the Justice Department and the National Transportation Safety Board continue investigations into the giant aircraft manufacturer.

Job claims jump

The number of Americans filing for jobless benefits jumped to the highest level in 10 months last week, a sign that the labor market is likely cooling under the weight of high interest rates.

Unemployment benefit applications for the week ending June 8 rose by 13,000 to 242,000, up from 229,000 the week before, the Labor Department reported. That’s significantly more than the 225,000 new claims analysts were expecting and the most since August of 2023.

“While layoffs remain low, an increase in claims may indicate that those losing their jobs are filing for benefits because they are finding it more difficult to get new jobs,” said Nancy Vanden Houten, lead U.S. economist of Oxford Economics. “That would be consistent with a slower pace of hiring and fewer workers leaving their jobs.”

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