Business Briefs – May 4, 2017

Calorie Counts Still Come to Some Menus, Despite Rule Delay

NEW YORK (AP) – Calorie counts are popping up on some restaurant menus and for prepared foods at supermarkets, whether you want to see them or not. A federal regulation requiring food sellers to post the nutrition numbers by Friday was postponed again this week until next year, after years of delays amid opposition from pizza chains, convenience stores and grocers. But many chains had been scrambling to comply, and say they don’t plan to alter course right now.

U.S. Trade Deficit Narrows in March

WASHINGTON (AP) – The U.S. trade deficit narrowed in March to the lowest level since October as both exports and imports fell. But the politically sensitive trade gap with China rose. The Commerce Department said Thursday that the gap in goods and services slipped to $43.7 billion, down from $43.8 billion in February. Exports dropped 0.9 percent to $191 billion, pulled down by falling auto exports. Imports fell 0.7 percent $234.7 billion as imports of crude oil and other petroleum products slid.

Productivity Posts Sharpest Fall In a Year

WASHINGTON (AP) – The productivity of American workers fell in the first quarter by the sharpest amount in a year, while labor costs increased. Productivity declined at an annual rate of 0.6 percent in the January-March quarter after rising at a 1.8 percent rate in the fourth quarter, the Labor Department reported Thursday. It was the biggest decline since a 0.7 percent rate of decline in the first quarter of last year. Labor costs rose at a 3 percent rate, up from a 1.3 percent rate of increase in the fourth quarter.

U.S. Unemployment Benefits Drop 19,000 to 238,000

WASHINGTON (AP) – Fewer Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week after two weeks of small gains. The Labor Department says weekly jobless claims dropped by 19,000 to 238,000, the lowest level in three weeks.

Average U.S. 30-Year Mortgage Rate Edges Down to 4.02 Percent

WASHINGTON (AP) – Long-term U.S. mortgage rates barely moved this week after rising last week for the first time in five weeks. The benchmark 30-year rate remained above the key threshold of 4 percent. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate on 30-year fixed-rate home loans ticked down to 4.02 percent from 4.03 percent last week. The rate stood at 3.66 percent a year ago and averaged 3.65 percent in 2016, the lowest level in records dating to 1971.

In Latest Airline Video, Delta Boots Family From Flight

DALLAS (AP) – Delta Air Lines is offering refunds and compensation to a California family that says they were forced off a plane and threatened with jail after refusing to give up one of their seats on a crowded flight. A video of the April 23 incident was uploaded to the internet on Wednesday and added to the list of recent encounters on airlines that have gone viral, including the dragging of a bloodied passenger off a United Express plane.