Business Briefs – December 6, 2016

SeaWorld Cutting 320 Jobs In Restructuring

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. is eliminating 320 jobs across the company.

The company said the goal of the restructuring is to reduce costs and improve the company’s operations. The cuts involve both salaried and hourly workers.

SeaWorld makes the move after struggling with falling attendance and revenue in the face of a campaign by animal-rights activists.

The company has parks in Florida, Texas, California, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Ikea Expanding Parental Leave; Crib Assembly Still Your Job

NEW YORK (AP) — Ikea’s U.S. division is offering longer parental leave to employees who are new parents, following similar overtures from tech companies like Netflix as it strives to keep good workers in an improving job market.

The ready-to-assemble furniture chain said Tuesday it will offer its 13,000 salaried and hourly employees in the U.S. up to four months of paid parental leave. Effective Jan. 1, the policy will apply to mothers and fathers who are birth, adoptive or foster parents.

Ikea had previously given women giving birth five days of paid leave in addition to six to eight weeks of paid disability leave.

U.S. Productivity Up 3.1 Percent in Third Quarter

WASHINGTON (AP) — The productivity of American workers rose in the July-September quarter at the fastest pace in two years while labor costs slowed after a big jump in the spring.

Productivity increased in the third quarter at a 3.1 percent rate, the Labor Department reported Tuesday. That followed three quarterly declines and was the best showing since the third quarter of 2014. Labor costs edged up at a 0.7 percent rate in the third quarter following a much faster 6.2 percent jump in the second quarter.

The rebound in productivity was expected to be temporary.

Google Hits Renewable Energy Goal in Quest to Pare Pollution

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google says that in 2017, it believes it will have amassed enough renewable energy to meet all of its electricity needs throughout the world.

That’s significant, given Google’s ravenous appetite for electricity to power its offices and the huge data centers that process requests for its services.

That doesn’t mean Google will be able to power its operations solely on wind and solar power. That is impossible given the complicated power grids and regulations. But it may be in a position to offset every megawatt hour of electricity supplied by a power plant running on fossil fuels with renewable energy.

Alaska Airlines Gets U.S. Approval To Buy Virgin America

WASHINGTON (AP) — Alaska Airlines has won government approval to buy rival Virgin America after agreeing to reduce its flight-selling partnership with American Airlines.

Parent company Alaska Air Group Inc. said Tuesday that it expects to close the $2.6 billion deal soon.

Seattle-based Alaska is the nation’s sixth-biggest airline, and California-based Virgin is eighth. Together, they will become the fifth-biggest.