Business Briefs – August 31, 2016

Tough Economic Outlook In Brazil After President Removed

SAO PAULO (AP) – Brazil’s economy shrank 3.8 percent last year and is expected to shrink another 3.3 percent this year. The country’s unemployment rate hit 11.6 percent in July. And the budget deficit is on pace to reach almost $48 billion by the end of this year.

Its grim news snowballed over the last year while Congress was consumed by the fight over President Dilma Rousseff’s future. On Wednesday, the Senate voted 61-20 in favor of removing Rousseff from office for breaking fiscal laws in her management of the federal budget. For some, that is cause for hope that things can turn around.

Survey: US Companies Add A Solid 177,000 Jobs In August

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. businesses added a solid 177,000 jobs in August, according to a private survey, suggesting that hiring remains healthy after two months of strong gains.

Payroll processor ADP said the job growth was driven by services firms such as retailers, financial services firms, and professional and business services, which includes higher-paying jobs like accountants, engineers and architects. Construction firms cut jobs and manufacturing employment was unchanged.

Pending US Home Sales Strengthened In July

WASHINGTON (AP) – More Americans signed contracts to purchase homes in July, a sign that demand for home ownership remains strong despite a shortage of listings on the market.

The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index rose 1.3 percent in July to 111.3, the highest reading since April.

Housing has staged a solid rebound in prices and sales this year, but the real estate market faces potential challenges as fewer properties are being listed for sale.

Africa’s Biggest Economy Officially Enters Recession

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) – Africa’s biggest economy is officially in recession.

Nigeria released data on Wednesday showing its gross domestic product declined by 2.06 percent in the second quarter of the year. The oil- and import-dependent economy also declined by 0.36 percent in the first quarter.

It is the West African country’s first recession since 1991, according to Central Bank data.

Nigeria has been slammed by low petroleum prices, attacks by oil militants and foreign currency shortages.

Tesla Planning Upgrade to Semi-Autonomous Autopilot System

DETROIT (AP) – Tesla Motors is planning improvements to its semi-autonomous Autopilot system after a fatal crash earlier this summer.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk wrote in a tweet Wednesday that a software update will be released in a few weeks. Musk says a software update will make “major improvements” to Autopilot, including more advanced processing of radar signals. Software updates are delivered over the air to Tesla owners.

Tesla’s Autopilot system can maintain a set speed, keep the car within its lane and brake automatically. Radar helps the car see things that may be blocked to cameras in bright sunlight or bad weather.

McDonald’s Says Its President Of US Operations Is Retiring

NEW YORK (AP) — McDonald’s says the president of its U.S. business is retiring, marking the latest executive change as the fast-food giant tries to reinvent itself.

Mike Andres, who stepped into his role in October 2014, will retire at the end of the year. He will be replaced by Chris Kempczinski, the executive vice president of strategy, business development and innovation.