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Top News Links: Monday, Aug. 22

P&R Metals completes expansion in Birmingham

P&R Metals has completed a $700,000 expansion that will allow the industrial flooring manufacturer to dramatically increase sales. P&R added an 8,000-square-foot building with an additional 20,000 square feet of additional paved site work. The company estimates this could increase sales by up to $10 million annually. – AL.com

State’s July unemployment rate down to 5.7 percent

A statement issued Friday by the governor's office says Alabama's July unemployment rate was 5.7 percent, down three-tenths of a percent from June. It's also below the jobless rate of a year ago. – AP/AL.com

Trump appears to soften illegal immigrant plan

Donald Trump’s plan to deport millions of illegal immigrants and then build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to keep them out may have helped catapult him to the Republican nomination, but the candidate now appears to be softening his controversial deportation threat and embracing a far less draconian conservative posture on immigration reform. – Fiscal Times

Much-forecast drop in used car prices isn’t happening

It's been a familiar refrain: In 2016, used-vehicle prices would drop because of the increased supply of off-lease vehicles. But that hasn't happened. In fact, the Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index in July rose for the fourth straight month to its highest level -- 127.0 -- since 127.5 in June 2011. Here’s why. – Automotive News

Former Alabama secretary of state dies

Jim Bennett, who left a distinguished journalism career to enter politics and became Alabama's longest-serving secretary of state, has died after a long fight with cancer. He was 76. Bennett's death was announced Thursday by his alma mater, Jacksonville State University, where Bennett was chairman of the board of trustees. – AP/TimesDaily

Colorado engineering firm opens Huntsville office

Boulder-based engineering firm Special Aerospace Services has opened a new engineering office in Huntsville to capitalize on relationships with space and defense contractors. SAS provides engineering services in the aerospace industry, including contracts to work with companies on NASA’s Commercial Crew program as well as NASA’s Space Launch System. – BizWest.com

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