Business Briefs – June 7, 2016

World Bank Downgrades Its Forecast For 2016 Global Economy

WASHINGTON (AP) – The World Bank is reducing its forecast for the global economy this year — again.

The aid agency predicted Tuesday that the world economy will expand 2.4 percent this year, down from the 2.9 percent it expected in January and unchanged from a tepid 2015.

“The global economy is fragile,” said World Bank economist Ayhan Kose, who helped produce the forecast. “Growth is weak.”

In the years since the world began recovering from the 2008 financial crisis, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have repeatedly proved too optimistic about the world economy and have had to downgrade their previous forecasts.

Adviser’s Serial Firings Show ‘Big Problem’ at Brokerages

SCOTRUN, Pa. (AP) – He was fired from one company, then another, then another. And still Anthony Diaz continued handling other people’s money.

A financial adviser who was fired from five companies for misconduct is now facing federal fraud charges. Diaz has pleaded not guilty.

It happens with alarming frequency: Nearly half of financial advisers fired for misconduct find a new job in the industry within a year — and are at greater risk of reoffending.

GM CEO Sticks to Strategy Despite Falling Sales and Shares

DETROIT (AP) – Despite tumbling U.S. sales and a falling stock price, General Motors CEO Mary Barra says she’ll stay the course with a strategy of cutting low-profit sales to rental car companies and keeping resale prices strong.

GM’s sales fell 18 percent last month compared with a year ago. Its 15.7 percent market share was the lowest since at least 1980, according to Ward’s Automotive. The company’s stock price is down more than 10 percent for the year. But the company’s first-quarter profit doubled, to $1.95 billion, and it posted record earnings last year of $9.7 billion.

U.S. Worker Productivity Slumped Again in 1Q

WASHINGTON (AP) – American workers were less productive again in the January-March quarter, although the decline wasn’t as severe as first thought. Meanwhile, labor costs climbed at a faster pace than initially estimated.

The Labor Department said Tuesday that productivity declined at an annual rate of 0.6 percent in the first quarter after a 1.7 percent drop in the fourth quarter. The government first estimated that productivity fell at a 1 percent rate. Labor costs for employers rose at a 4.5 percent rate in the first quarter, even faster than the 4.1 percent gain first reported.

Puerto Rico Left Without Air Ambulance Service Over Debt

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) – Puerto Rico’s only active air ambulance company announced Tuesday that it has suspended its services, blaming a multimillion-dollar government debt amid a deepening economic crisis that has affected basic services in the U.S. territory.

Aeromed said in a statement that it has been negotiating with Puerto Rico’s government for nearly three years, but that health officials last week rejected a deal to make a minimum payment of $4.4 million, a portion of a much larger overall debt.

“We acknowledge the government’s fiscal situation … but there is no way we can continue to offer our services with inconsistent payments and fees that are unsustainable,” said Aeromed director Jose Hernandez.