Business Briefs – January 8, 2017

U.S. Approves Fix for Some Volkswagen Diesels

DETROIT (AP) – Volkswagen will soon be able to repair some of its diesel cars so they meet U.S. emissions standards.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board said Friday that they have approved a fix for around 67,000 of the 475,000 Volkswagens and Audis with 2-liter diesel engines that were programmed to cheat on U.S. emissions tests.

The German automaker acknowledged the cheating in 2015.

The remedy will fix 2015 models of the Volkswagen Beetle, Beetle Convertible, Golf, Golf SportWagen, Jetta and Passat as well as the Audi A3.

U.S. Adds 156k Jobs; Unemployment Rate Ticks Up to 4.7 Pct.

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. employers added 156,000 jobs in December, capping a year of slower but solid hiring.

Friday’s report from the Labor Department portrayed a job market that remains durable 7½ years after the recovery from the Great Recession began. Though the unemployment rate rose to 4.7 percent from a nine-year low of 4.6 percent, it did so for an encouraging reason: More people began looking for work. Because not all of them found jobs immediately, more people were counted as unemployed in December.

Hourly pay jumped 2.9 percent from a year earlier, the sharpest increase in more than seven years.

U.S. Factory Orders Drop 2.4 Percent But Investment Up

WASHINGTON (AP) – Orders to U.S. factories fell for the first time in five months in November, but much of the weakness reflected a swing in the volatile category of commercial aircraft. A key category that tracks business investment spending posted an increase.

Factory orders dropped 2.4 percent after a 2.8 percent rise in October, the Commerce Department reported on Friday. It was the first decline since June but the weakness was led by a 73.8 percent plunge in demand for commercial aircraft following a 94.5 percent surge in October.

Wal-Mart Names John Furner As Sam’s Club Next CEO

NEW YORK (AP) – Wal-Mart says it named John Furner as CEO of its Sam’s Club stores to replace Rosalind Brewer, who is retiring next month.

Furner, who is 42, will head the membership-only warehouse chain next month. Furner has been Sam’s Club’s chief merchandising officer since October 2015. Wal-Mart says he first joined the company as an hourly store associate in 1993.

Brewer will leave her position on February 1. The 54-year-old has been CEO of Sam’s Club for five years and has had a variety of executive roles since joining the company about 11 years ago.

The Limited to Close All Brick-and-Mortar Shops

WASHINGTON (AP) – More grim news for malls came Friday as apparel retailer The Limited said it will close all its brick-and-mortar stores at the end of this weekend.

The company says it will continue to operate online only after the Jan. 8 closures. A spokesman said the New Albany, Ohio-based chain operated about 250 retail stores in 2016 and that about 4,000 jobs, including seasonal and temporary ones, would be lost.

The announcement comes on the heels of Macy’s and Sears announcing store closures and job cuts.

Volkswagen Recalls 136,000 Autos for Antilock Brake Fix

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Volkswagen Group of America is recalling nearly 136,000 Audi and Volkswagen autos to fix potential problems with their antilock brake systems.

The recall covers 135,683 vehicles, including certain 2009-10 Volkswagen Jetta A5 sedans, 2009 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen, Eos, GTI, Rabbit and Audi A3 vehicles and 2010 Volkswagen Golf A6 vehicles. In them, the control unit for the antilock brake system may fail when the system or the auto’s electronic stability control are activated.

Volkswagen will notify owners, and repairs will be made free of charge.

The automaker traced the problem to the use of an incorrect solder compound, which may cause cracks that prevent sufficient electrical power to flow.