Business Briefs – June 4, 2017

Jobs Data Could Signal Shortage Of Qualified Workers to Hire

WASHINGTON (AP) – A hiring pullback captured in Friday’s U.S. jobs report raises the prospect that employers are starting to run out of qualified workers to hire. Employers added just 138,000 jobs in May, though that was enough to help cut the unemployment rate to a 16-year low of 4.3 percent.

Companies are now choosing from among a smaller pool of applicants, especially for those who have the education or skills they need.

One unusual characteristic of today’s job market is that the unemployment rate keeps falling even as hiring has slowed. Economists say the main reason is that the proportion of adults who either have a job or are looking or one has remained unusually low. Once people stop looking for a job, they’re no longer counted as unemployed.

Contributing to the trend has been the continuing retirements of America’s vast generation of baby boomers. In addition, companies are increasingly seeking workers with college degrees or specialized know-how — construction experience, for example, or a background in machine automation.

Quitting Paris Likely to Have Muted Effect in Key Industries

DALLAS (AP) – President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord may have only limited immediate impact on many U.S. companies, according to analysts.

In part that is because the Paris agreement only went into effect last year, it’s voluntary and doesn’t carry penalties for countries that fall short of emissions-cutting targets.

“What you have is a president making a nonbinding withdrawal from a nonbinding agreement,” said Kevin Book, an analyst with ClearView Energy Partners. “And that’s not likely to change fundamentals very much at all.”

Many big companies in industries such as autos and aviation have already committed to reducing emissions and are spending billions to do it. They aren’t likely to change course.

Walmart Touts Investment in People, Technology as Advantages

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) – Walmart CEO Doug McMillon touted the company’s investments in people and technology at its shareholder meeting. He also said the company may have reached an employment peak and urged employees not to be afraid of automation.

President Faces Tough Task Unwinding Obama Cuba Policy

HAVANA (AP) – President Trump faces a complex scenario as Cuban-American legislators and lobbyists pressure him to fulfil his campaign promise to undo Obama’s detente with the Cuba. Administration officials say the Trump administration is weeks away from announcing a new Cuba policy that would prohibit business with the Cuban military while maintaining the full diplomatic relations restored by Obama.

Retirees at GE Plant in Canada See Hope for Health Claims

PETERBOROUGH, Ontario (AP) – Retired workers at a General Electric factory in Canada have long blamed cancers on decades spent in proximity to toxins inside the huge GE plant northeast of Toronto. Many had their health claims denied. But a newly published analysis of workplace safety at the Peterborough plant has prompted Ontario’s labor minister to publicly back the retirees.

Google’s Chrome Browser to Block Some Ads Starting Next Year

NEW YORK (AP) – Websites that run annoying ads such as pop-ups may find all ads blocked by Google’s Chrome browser starting next year. The digital-ad giant’s announcement comes as hundreds of millions of users have already installed ad blockers on their desktop computers and phones to combat ads that track them and make browsing sites difficult.