Business Briefs – August 6, 2017

Jobless Rate Raises Question: How Much Better Can It Get?

WASHINGTON (AP) — A drop in the unemployment rate to a 16-year low raises a tantalizing question about the job market: How much better can it get? Earlier this year, economists worried that businesses would struggle to find the workers they need. But Friday’s jobs report from the Labor Department suggests such concerns are premature. Employers added 209,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate ticked down to 4.3 percent, matching a 16-year low.

Employer-Based Health Coverage Likely to Stay Awhile

WASHINGTON (AP) — If you are like roughly half of Americans who get their health insurance through an employer, relax. The turmoil around “Obamacare” all but guarantees you’ll still be able to do that. The reasons? Unemployment is low, skilled workers are hard to find, and people expect employers to provide health care.

U.S. Trade Deficit Narrowed To $43.6 Billion in June

WASHINGTON (AP) – TThe Commerce Department said Friday that the trade gap slid 5.9 percent in June to $43.6 billion.

Exports of goods and services rose 1.2 percent to $194.4 billion, the highest amount since December 2014 on higher foreign demand for American soybeans, computer accessories and other products. Services exports reached a record $65.4 billion.

U.S. exports may be getting a lift from a pickup in global economic growth and a drop in the value of the U.S. dollar against other currencies. A weaker dollar makes American products a better bargain in foreign markets.

Convicted ‘Pharma Bro’ Has an Image Problem, Lawyer Concedes

NEW YORK (AP) — The former pharmaceutical CEO notorious for a price-gouging scandal and for his “Pharma Bro” persona on social media has been convicted on federal charges he deceived investors in a pair of failed hedge funds. A jury deliberated five days before finding Martin Shkreli guilty on Friday of three of eight counts. Skhreli’s lawyer acknowledged that his client has an image issue they would be working on.

Toyota, Mazda Plan $1.6 Billion U.S. Plant, to Partner in EVs

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese automakers Toyota and Mazda plan to invest $1.6 billion and jointly build an auto manufacturing plant in the U.S., a move that will create up to 4,000 jobs. The companies will partner on electric cars, safety and connected vehicles.

British Hacker’s U.S. Arrest Worries IT Security Community

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The arrest of a cybersecurity researcher has sown major concerns among information-security specialists, leading some to warn it could create a climate of distrust between the U.S. government and the computer experts needed to help fight off future cyberattacks. Marcus Hutchins was arrested in Las Vegas Wednesday for allegedly creating and selling malicious software able to collect bank account passwords.

Mexican Court Forbids Imports of U.S. Potatoes

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A Mexican federal court has made a ruling that bans import of U.S. potatoes on the grounds they violate Mexicans’ right to food sovereignty and a healthy environment. A group of Mexican potato growers had sought the injunction.