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Business Briefs — Arkansas, U.S. unemployment rates intersect at 7.4%

Arkansas' jobless rate rose one-tenth of a percent in July to 7.4 percent, while the U.S. unemployment rate fell two-tenths to 7.4 percent. It is the first time that state and national unemployment have intersected since April 2008 when both jobless rates stood at 5.0 percent. Since that month, the U.S. unemployment rate spiked to as high as 10 percent, while the state jobless rate climbed as high as 8.0 percent. During the recovery years since 2008-2009, Arkansas' unemployment rate remained lower than the national rate until now.

Business Briefs — Tyson Foods profits more than triple

Tyson Foods delivered in nearly every quadrant of its business as the meat giant posted quarterly profits of $249 million, more than triple one year ago when profits topped $76 million. Notably, conditions in Tyson's beef segment improved and its chicken and pork business continued to excel. Earnings per share for the quarter ending June 30 rose to 69 cents compared to 22 cents one year ago. Revenues for the Springdale-based protein company cleared $8.73 billion versus $8.26 billion in the previous year's comparable quarter.

Hewlett-Packard laying off around 500

Hewlett-Packard is laying off about 500 workers in Conway as it streamlines its operations at its three-year-old $28 million customer support facility and abroad. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based computer firm opened its Conway service center in 2010 amid tremendous fanfare.

U.S. Treasury delays employer reporting mandate for affordable care act

An official with the U.S. Treasury Department announced that the Obama administration will delay penalties for large employers who do not provide health insurance coverage to workers under the Affordable Care Act. Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy at the Treasury Department Mark J. Mazur said, "The Administration is announcing that it will provide an additional year before the ACA mandatory employer and insurer reporting requirements begin."