Business Briefs – August 21, 2016

Officials: Zika Won’t Hurt South Florida Tourism in Long Run

MIAMI (AP) – The discovery of Zika-carrying mosquitoes in South Florida certainly isn’t ideal for tourism, but local officials and business leaders are confident the long-term impact on the tourism industry will be minor.

Transmission of the virus via mosquito has been confirmed in two sites in Miami-Dade County, but Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine said in a news conference Friday he is confident in the city’s efforts to combat it. City workers are trying to get rid of standing water and foliage that might attract the insects, while the county begins a fumigation program to kill the bugs.

Gov. Rick Scott has directed Florida’s health department to offer mosquito spraying and related services at no cost to Miami-Dade County’s hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions. More than 15.5 million people made overnight visits to Miami and nearby beaches in 2015, with an impact of $24.4 billion, according to figures from the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Five cases of Zika have been connected to mosquitoes in Miami Beach, bringing the state’s caseload to 36 infections not related to travel outside the U.S., Florida’s governor and health department announced Friday.

Hiring Was Healthy in Past Year In Many U.S. Swing States

WASHINGTON (AP) – Hiring has been strong in the past year in many presidential campaign swing states, a possible hurdle for GOP candidate Donald Trump, who has sought to capitalize on economic distress.

Employers have added jobs in the past 12 months at a faster pace than the national average in Colorado, Florida, Michigan and North Carolina, the Labor Department said Friday. Job gains have been solid but slightly below the national rate in other battleground states, such as Ohio and Virginia.

Hiring was healthy nationwide in July, with employers adding 255,000 jobs, the most in eight months. The U.S. unemployment rate is 4.9 percent.

Amtrak Taps Former Freight Railroad Head to Be New CEO

WASHINGTON (AP) – Amtrak has named Charles “Wick” Moorman, the former head of the Norfolk Southern freight railroad, to be president and CEO of Amtrak, the nation’s passenger railroad.

Moorman, a native of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, was president and CEO of Norfolk Southern Railway from 2004 to 2013. He succeeds Joseph Boardman, a former head of the Federal Railroad Administration, who has led Amtrak since 2008. Boardman announced his intention to retire last fall.

Amtrak carries operates more than 300 trains daily and carries more than 30 million passengers a year.

Morgan Stanley Accused of Mismanaging Its 401(k) Plan

NEW YORK (AP) – A participant in Morgan Stanley’s 401(k) plan filed a lawsuit Friday in U.S. District Court in New York alleging that it offers investment options that have too-high fees and poor track records, including some mutual funds run by Morgan Stanley itself. The suit accuses the $8 billion plan of causing “hundreds of millions of dollars” in losses for its roughly 60,000 participants.

Morgan Stanley declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Friday’s suit is the latest in a lengthening string of complaints about high fees and poor investment choices at 401(k) and 403(b) retirement plans around the country.

Pennsylvania Supermarket Sells Wine, a 1st Since Prohibition

PITTSBURGH (AP) – Officials say a grocery store in Pennsylvania has become the first supermarket since Prohibition to sell wine in the state.

Previously, only state-owned liquor stores or kiosks had been allowed to sell wine. Under a new law, customers can buy up to 3 liters of wine to go from businesses that hold restaurant or hotel liquor licenses.

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board says it has approved more than 80 supermarkets, restaurants and hotels to sell wine to go. A Giant Eagle store in suburban Pittsburgh began the first to start selling wine Friday.