Business Briefs – July 12, 2016

Exceptions To Rule: Big Cities Where Homes Remain Affordable

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Homes in many areas of the United States have become so costly that few can afford them.

Nationally, home ownership is near a 48-year low. A key reason is that surging rents and home prices have made it next to impossible for many people to save enough to buy.

But then there are exceptions: St. Louis, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh and Kansas City, Missouri. In those areas, homes remain comparatively affordable relative to local incomes. An improved U.S. economy has fueled job and pay growth. Throw in historically low mortgage rates, and ownership is still within reach — even for those just entering their careers at modest salaries.

Venezuelans Spend Life On The Line Amid Economic Crisis

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — As Venezuela’s lines have grown longer and more dangerous, they have become not only the stage for everyday life, but a backdrop to death.

More than two dozen people were killed in line in the past 12 months, including a 4-year-old girl caught in gang crossfire and an 80-year-old woman who was crushed when a line turned into a mob of looters.

The extent of the country’s economic collapse can be measured in the length of its lines. The average Venezuelan shopper spends 35 hours waiting to buy subsidized goods each month. That’s three times more than in 2014, according to the polling firm Datanalisis.

U.S. Job Openings, Hiring Fell In May

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers advertised fewer jobs and hired fewer people in May — a bad month for the U.S. labor market before a surge in hiring in June.

The Labor Department said Tuesday that job openings slid to 5.5 million in May, the fewest since December. Employers hired 5 million people in May, down slightly from April. The number of people quitting their jobs, which can reflect workers’ confidence in their job prospects, also ticked down.

Still, the level of job openings and hiring overall “remain quite strong,” Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said in a research note.

Feds Seek Autopilot Data From Tesla In Crash Probe

DETROIT (AP) — Federal safety investigators are asking electric car maker Tesla Motors for details on how its Autopilot system works and why it failed to detect a tractor trailer that crossed its path in a Florida crash.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in a letter to Tesla posted Tuesday, also requests data on all crashes that happened because its system did not work as expected.

The agency is investigating the May 7 crash in Florida that killed 40-year-old Joshua Brown.