Business Briefs – March 26, 2017

Hiring Rose in February in 11 States; Gains Widely Spread

WASHINGTON (AP) – Hiring picked up in 11 states last month compared with January and was mostly unchanged in the other 39, as stronger U.S. job gains benefited most of the country. Still, pockets of weakness remained.

Job gains in February were most robust in states outside the coastal regions that have fared the best since the Great Recession, the Labor Department report showed. The biggest gains, as a proportion of total jobs, were in Montana, Nebraska, Arkansas and New Mexico.

Unemployment rates fell sharply in 10 states and rose significantly in Massachusetts, with little change in the other 39.

Hiring trends are more apparent when compared with a year ago. In the past 12 months, job gains were strongest, in percentage terms, in Idaho, Utah and Nevada, all states in the Mountain region.

Other states that have struggled in the past have also done well over the last year. Michigan has seen its payrolls increase 1.9 percent since February 2016. The gains have mostly been outside manufacturing, with hiring up in construction, professional services, and restaurants and hotels.

Five states have lost jobs in the past year: West Virginia, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Alaska, and Wyoming.

Report Examines Grim Bangladesh Leather Trade, Links to West

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) – Hazardous, heavily polluting tanneries, with workers as young as 14, supplied leather to companies that make shoes and handbags for Western brands, a nonprofit group that investigates supply chains says. The report by New York-based Transparentem, released to The Associated Press, did not say leather from the tanneries ends up in American and European companies’ products, only that the manufacturers of some of those goods receive it.

Trump Touts Jobs Commitment First Made in 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump on Friday praised a plan by cable company Charter Communications to hire 20,000 American call center workers, but the hiring initiative dates back to 2015 as part of the company’s successful efforts to merge with Time Warner Cable. It’s the latest corporate jobs announcement made at the White House that capitalized on plans made before Trump won the presidency.

Feds Close Probe of Ford SUV Door-Ajar Lights Without Recall

DETROIT (AP) – U.S. safety regulators have decided not to seek a recall after investigating complaints that door-ajar warning lights won’t turn off on thousands of Ford SUVs.

The probe began in September and found nearly 2,700 complaints and over 33,000 warranty claims due to the problem with the 2011 to 2013 Edge SUV. The complaints included 14 drivers who said doors had opened unexpectedly. Over 440,000 SUVs were covered by the investigation.

But the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration determined that the doors were either opened by passengers or were not latched properly. The agency found no unreasonable safety risk because the latches work correctly and no crashes or crash-related injuries were reported.

Ford determined that contamination can build up on switches that activate the door-ajar lights, causing them to fail.