Business Briefs – July 24, 2016

Volkswagen Has Emissions-Cheating Fix Ready

DETROIT (AP) – Volkswagen’s plan to fix most of its 2-liter diesel engines that cheat on emissions tests includes a computer software update and a larger catalytic converter to trap harmful nitrogen oxide, and it may not hurt mileage or performance, according to dealers who were briefed by executives on the matter.

Limited details of the plan were made public last week at a regional dealer meeting in Newark, NJ, by Volkswagen of America Chief Operating Officer Mark McNabb, said two dealers who asked not to be identified because the plan hasn’t been made public.

One dealer said the group was told that early testing of a small sample of repaired cars showed that the fix made “no discernable difference” in the cars’ mileage, horsepower or torque. Both dealers said they were told that more testing was needed and that the plans still had to be approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board.

IMF Head Calls for Quick End To Brexit Uncertainty

BEIJING (AP) – The head of the International Monetary Fund called Friday for quick action to end uncertainty over Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, which she said is dampening global economic growth.

The IMF cut this year’s global growth forecast by 0.1 percentage points to 3.1 percent in a report released this week due to the shockwaves of the British vote.

Investors are watching this weekend’s meeting of the G20 and finance officials for any sign that the United States, Germany, China and other major economies may agree on joint action to accelerate a weak global economic recovery.

18 States See Significant Job Gains, But Unemployment Rises

WASHINGTON (AP) – Unemployment rates ticked up noticeably in six states in June, even as employers continued to add jobs and the hiring outlook improved.

The unemployment rate in 21 states is now significantly below the national figure of 4.9 percent, while it’s higher in 14 states. In Colorado, the rate jumped 0.4 point from May to a still-low 3.7 percent as more of its population began looking for work without being hired, a positive for the economy as it suggests greater optimism that these people will find jobs.

Employers added a significant number of jobs in 18 states last month, while three states lost a meaningful level of jobs. This also matches the national figures that showed an increase of 287,000 jobs in June, after lackluster hiring in April and May.

U.S. Home Rental Price Growth Pulls Even With Wages

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. renters are seeing their housing costs rise at a much more manageable pace, as new construction has tempered years of runaway increases in rent.

Real estate data firm Zillow says that median rent rose a seasonally adjusted 2.6 percent in June from a year ago, matching the gains in average hourly wages. Rental costs have decelerated after consistently exceeding earnings growth in previous years, a sign that additional building is giving more options.

The median monthly rent nationwide was $1,409. Annual increases in rent surpassed 9 percent in both the Seattle and Portland, Oregon areas, although it has moderated in markets such as San Francisco, where yearly price growth went from double-digit gains to 7.4 percent.