Stocks flat…Yellen: Recession made it harder to gauge job picture…Obama offers birth control accommodation

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are little changed in afternoon trading on Wall Street. A speech by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen hasn’t given investors a clear idea on when the Fed might begin raising interest rates. Traders are also monitoring another flare-up in tensions between Ukraine and Russia.

JACKSON HOLE, Wyoming (AP) — Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has told a Fed conference in Wyoming that the recent recession complicated the Fed’s ability to assess the U.S. job market and made it harder to determine when to adjust interest rates. She says the unemployment rate has steadily declined, but other gauges of the job market could reflect continued weakness. These include high levels of people who have been unemployed for more than six months, many people working part time who would like full-time jobs and weak pay growth.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration will offer a new accommodation to religious nonprofits that object to covering birth control for their employees. The measure allows those groups to notify the government, rather than their insurance company, that birth control violates their religious beliefs. The change doesn’t address a key complaint of religious groups that the birth control requirement makes them complicit in a system that violates their beliefs.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The maker of a popular line of wearable fitness-tracking devices says it has never sold personal data to advertisers, contrary to concerns raised by U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer. San Francisco-based Fitbit says it has clarified its privacy policy to make it clear the company doesn’t share information about its users. Schumer raised concerns about the company’s privacy policy earlier this month and called for federal rules to allow consumers to protect their data.

NEW YORK (AP) — The Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced the recall of more than 2 million bean bag chairs after two children opened the zippers on them, crawled inside and suffocated. The chairs are made by Ace Bayou Corp. and sold at a number of stores and online retailers, including Walmart and Amazon.com.

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