Business Highlights


Solid hiring, better pay draw more Americans into job hunt

WASHINGTON (AP) — Drawn by steady hiring and slightly higher pay, more Americans began looking for work in September, a sign of renewed optimism about the U.S. job market.

The influx of job seekers sent the unemployment rate up slightly as more Americans were counted as unemployed. Taken as a whole, Friday’s jobs report from the government painted a picture of a resilient economy that could keep the Federal Reserve on track to raise interest rates in December.

Employers added 156,000 jobs, fewer than the 167,000 in August and well below last year’s average monthly gain of 230,000.


Robots? Fat fingers? UK pound endures one of its worst days

LONDON (AP) — The British pound endured one of its biggest falls ever on Friday — with some in the markets blaming trading robots or a fat-fingered typo for sending the currency down a precipitous 6 per cent in just a couple of minutes.

For one of the world’s major currencies, held as a reserve by countries around the world, that’s a huge move. It’s matched only by the pound’s fall in the wake of dramatic events like Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

It recovered its cliff-like fall to later in the day. Still, that’s a level the currency hasn’t seen since 1985.


Stocks end lower to cap first weekly loss in a month

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks ended slightly lower on Wall Street on Friday, giving the market its first weekly decline in a month.

The market edged up in early trading after a much anticipated report on hiring last month showed decent gains. It quickly turned lower and remained down for the rest of the day.

The government reported that employers hired last month at a slower pace than forecast, but not slow enough to signal the economy is in trouble and cause the Federal Reserve to hold off on raising interest rates later this year.


US wholesale inventories dip in August, but sales improve

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. wholesale businesses whittled down their inventories in August, even as sales improved.

The Commerce Department said Friday that wholesaler stockpiles fell 0.2 per cent in August from July. Inventories of hardware, electrical equipment, pharmaceutical drugs, clothing and farm products declined. But sales picked up 0.7 per cent during the same period, with gains in many of the same categories in addition to autos and groceries.

Wholesalers are still adjusting to a prior slowdown that caused inventory levels to rise relative to sales volume.


US consumer borrowing rises in August

WASHINGTON (AP) — American consumers stepped up their borrowing in August, taking on greater debt in a possible sign of optimism amid stable job growth.

Total consumer borrowing rose $25.9 billion in August to nearly $3.7 trillion outstanding, the Federal Reserve said Friday Consumer debt is rising at an annual pace of 8.5 per cent, the strongest clip since September of last year.

Revolving credit, which covers credit cards, increased $5.6 billion, an annual gain of 7 per cent. The category that includes auto and student loans jumped $20.2 billion, an increase of more than 9 per cent from a year ago.


USDA: Egg group inappropriately targeted vegan spread

NEW YORK (AP) — An egg industry group’s discussions about thwarting the sale of an eggless vegan spread were inappropriate, a yearlong investigation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture has found.

The investigation also determined that the American Egg Board, which is responsible for the “Incredible, Edible Egg” slogan, should not have paid for pro-egg ads to appear online when people searched for Hampton Creek’s Just Mayo.

The USDA said it will require training on guidelines for staff at all “checkoff” programs that promote commodities such as eggs, beef and pork as a result.


After 91 years, Ford’s Australian car production ends

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Ford Motor Co. ended 91 years of car manufacturing in Australia on Friday, with the remaining two Australian car makers due to close their doors next year.

Ford Australia said it built the world’s last six-cylinder, rear-wheel drive Falcon XR6 at its plant in Melbourne and 600 employees lost their jobs.

Ford, General Motors Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. announced in 2013 that they were quitting Australia and shedding 6,600 jobs because of high production costs, distance from potential export markets and increasing competition.


ABC’s Diane Sawyer asks that ‘pink slime’ case be dismissed

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — ABC anchor Diane Sawyer, correspondent Jim Avila and the network are asking a South Dakota judge to dismiss a $1.2 billion defamation lawsuit over the network’s reports on a meat producer’s lean, finely textured beef product, which critics dubbed “pink slime.”

Court documents filed this week provide detailed accounts from Sawyer, Avila and others about how they gathered the information for the reports on Beef Products Inc. and also defend their work, arguing it was done in the public’s interest as consumers were unaware that the product at the time was present in 70 per cent of the ground beef sold in supermarkets.


Trucking company involved in explosion ordered off the road

WASHINGTON (AP) — Safety officials are ordering a trucking company that was recently involved in an explosion while hauling automobile air bag inflators to take its vehicles off the road after finding a long list of serious safety violations.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says Industrial Transit Inc. of LaGrange, Georgia, must immediately halt all operations because the company poses “an imminent hazard to public safety.”

One of the company’s trucks was hauling Takata inflators in August when it crashed, caught fire, exploded and destroyed a house near the small Texas border town of Quemado. A woman was killed and four others injured.


Verizon cuts jobs in stores as wireless growth slows

Verizon has cut jobs in stores across the country as it deals with increasing competition in the wireless industry.

Union representative Tim Dubnau estimates that Verizon has cut hundreds or even thousands of jobs.

Verizon spokeswoman Kim Ancin said Friday that stores will have fewer employees but refused to specify the size of Thursday’s layoff. She says estimates of thousands of cuts are “an exaggeration.”


The Dow Jones industrial average fell 28.01 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 18,240.49. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 7.03 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 2,153.74. The Nasdaq composite declined 14.45 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 5,292.40.

U.S. benchmark crude oil fell 63 cents to close at $49.81 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, fell 58 cents to close at $51.93 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline fell 2 cents to $1.48 a gallon, heating oil fell 2 cents to $1.58 a gallon and natural gas jumped 14 cents to $3.19 per 1,000 cubic feet.