Business Briefs – December 19, 2016

Yellen to College Grads: Best Job Market in Nearly a Decade

WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Monday that college graduates are entering the strongest job market the country has seen in nearly a decade, and their degree is more important than ever.

Yellen said that with changes in the job market such as technology and globalization, succeeding in the job market is increasingly tied to higher education. She said that annual earnings for college graduates last year were on average 70 percent higher than those with only a high school diploma. Back in 1980 that difference was only 20 percent.

IMF Board: Lagarde Can Remain As Chief Despite Conviction

WASHINGTON (AP) – Christine Lagarde can remain head of the International Monetary Fund despite her conviction Monday of negligence in a case dating to her tenure as France’s finance minister.

France’s Court of Justice of the Republic found Lagarde guilty of one count of negligence for not seeking to block a fraudulent 2008 arbitration award to a politically connected tycoon when she was finance minister. But the court spared her jail time and a criminal record.

The IMF’s executive board reaffirmed its “full confidence in the managing director’s ability to continue to effectively carry out her duties” and praised her leadership.

Feds: Fund Execs Lied After Oil Rig Blast Hurt Investments

NEW YORK (AP) – Hedge fund executives were charged Monday in a $1 billion fraud case linked to an oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico that killed three workers and injured several others.

A founder and chief investment officer of Platinum Partners, and six other defendants were accused of lying to investors about the performance of a fund that ran into trouble when one of its largest assets, the Black Elk oil exploration company, had a rig explode in 2012 off Louisiana.

Authorities accused Platinum of falsely reporting returns while collecting more than $100 million in fees during a conspiracy that cheated investors out of $1 billion.

GM to Temporarily Close 5 Factories as Car Inventory Builds

DETROIT (AP) – General Motors will temporarily close five factories next month as it tries to reduce a growing inventory of cars on dealer lots.

The factories will close anywhere from one to three weeks due to the ongoing U.S. market shift toward trucks and SUVs. Just over 10,000 workers will be idled.

The company’s Detroit-Hamtramck factory and Fairfax Assembly plant in Kansas City, Kansas, each will be shut down for three weeks, while a plant in Lansing, Michigan, will be down for two weeks. Factories in Lordstown, Ohio, and Bowling Green, Kentucky, each will be idled for one week.

British Airways Says Will Run Holiday Flights Despite Strike

LONDON (AP) – British Airways says it can run its full holiday schedule, even if a planned cabin crew strike goes ahead.

Chief Executive Alex Cruz said Monday that detailed contingency plans are in place so that flights can operate as normal.

He urged the Unite union to call off the planned strike. The dispute involves pay for staff members who have joined the airline in the last six years, and negotiations continue.

Lands’ End Goes High-End, Again, in Its CEO Hunt

NEW YORK (AP) – The casual clothing company Lands’ End has named Jerome Griffith, the one-time chief executive of the high-end luggage maker Tumi, as its next CEO.

It’s the second time the Dodgeville, Wisconsin, company has reached into the luxury goods sector for a chief executive who might revive sales of its flannel and rugby shirts. Federica Marchionni, who had been recruited from Dolce & Gabbana, left Land’s End in September after less than two years as sales continued to slump.

Griffith will join Lands’ End in March of next year.