Business Briefs – May 25, 2016

CEO Pay in 2015: When a $468,449 Raise Is Typical

NEW YORK (AP) – CEOs at the biggest companies got a 4.5 percent pay raise last year. That’s almost double the typical American worker’s, and a lot more than investors earned from owning their stocks — a big fat zero.

The typical chief executive in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index made $10.8 million, including bonuses, stock awards and other compensation, according to a study by executive data firm Equilar for The Associated Press.

The raise alone for median CEO pay last year, $468,449, is more than 10 times what the typical U.S. worker makes in a year.

U.S. Probes E-Commerce Giant Alibaba’s Accounting Practices

WASHINGTON (AP) – Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba wowed investors when it went public in the U.S. in September 2014, and its profits have bucked Wall Street expectations amid the Chinese economy’s slowdown. Yet its unorthodox business structure has raised eyebrows, it’s been suspended from an anti-counterfeiting group, and now U.S. regulators are investigating its accounting practices.

Alibaba disclosed in a regulatory filing that the Securities and Exchange Commission has requested documents and information related to the way it adds together earnings from its various divisions, and how it reports transactions with other companies it has a stake in, among other things.

Group of 7 Seeks Way Forward For Aging, Faltering Economies

ISE, Japan (AP) – Leaders of the Group of Seven rich nations plan to voice unity over fighting terrorism, pandemics and tax evasion at their summit in Japan this week. Finding a consensus on how to breathe life into their sluggish economies is proving more elusive.

Aging workforces, sagging productivity and lingering damage from the 2008 financial crisis are complicating efforts to spur growth. And ahead of the summit meetings that begin Thursday, finance ministers and central bank governors of the G-7 meeting agree the world’s have failed to agree on a coordinated approach to solve the malaise.

Most American Households Doing Better Financially

WASHINGTON (AP) – Most American households say their finances have strengthened slightly, but nearly half report that they would struggle to meet $400 in expenses from an unexpected emergency, according to the Federal Reserve’s annual survey on economic well-being.

The latest survey found that 69 percent of those responding reported that they were either “living comfortably” or “doing ok.”

However, 31 percent, or approximately 76 million adults, said they were either “struggling to get by” or were “just getting by.” And 22 percent of workers were working two or more jobs to make ends meet.

Ford Recalls 271K Pickups To Fix Brake Fluid Leak

DETROIT (AP) – Ford is recalling some of its top-selling vehicles in the U.S. to fix a fluid leak that can reduce braking power. The recall covers about 271,000 F-150 pickups in North America from the 2013 and 2014 model years that have 3.5-liter V6 engines.

Ford says brake fluid can leak from the master cylinder. That could reduce the ability of the front brakes to stop the trucks. The company reports nine alleged crashes with no injuries, but one person said they suffered a knee injury while applying the brakes.

Microsoft Cuts More Jobs In Troubled Mobile Unit

NEW YORK (AP) – Microsoft said Wednesday it will cut up to 1,850 jobs and take a $950 million hit to its books as it tries to salvage its rocky entrance into the smartphone market.

The firm acquired Nokia’s phone business in 2014, hoping to expand its share of the fast-growing mobile tech industry. But by last summer it had slashed the value of that business severely and eliminated 26,000 jobs.

After it failed to gain traction with the Nokia venture, CEO Satya Nadella has pursued a different strategy: pushing Microsoft to make its flagship Windows operating system and other popular software programs work on a variety of devices.

Military Spouses Struggle to Find Jobs

WASHINGTON (AP) – Military spouses struggle to find jobs and are more likely to work for less pay or in positions below their education level, spurring unemployment and other costs of as much as $1 billion a year, according to a study.

Wrestling with frequent moves, deployments and erratic schedules of their service member mates, military spouses have an unemployment rate of up to 18 percent, compared to last month’s national jobless rate of 5 percent.