Business Briefs – August 31, 2017

Impact Of Houston’s Economy Is Felt Well Beyond Its Area

HOUSTON (AP) – The Houston that was battered by Hurricane Harvey is an economic powerhouse whose influence reaches far beyond its region, leading many to worry about when its economy be able to stand up again. Houston produces the plastic used in everything from sports cars to baby bottles and is part of a low-lying coastal region that supplies nearly a third of U.S. oil-refining capacity. If it were an independent country, Houston would boast the world’s 23rd-biggest economy, just below Sweden and just above Poland.

Texas Drivers Rush to Fill Gas Tanks as Pump Prices Rise

DALLAS (AP) – A major gasoline pipeline closed since Hurricane Harvey may be able to resume shipping fuel from the Houston area by Sunday, and that could ease gasoline shortages across the southern United States. But filling tanks is already getting harder in central Texas, where some stations are out of gas and pump costs are spiking. The Texas attorney general’s office says $4 a gallon or more is price-gouging. They’ve received more than 200 complaints of unfair gas prices since Harvey hit Texas.

Mnuchin Won’t Say If He Wants Tubman on $20 Bill

WASHINGTON (AP) – Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is raising speculation that Harriet Tubman’s future on the $20 bill could be in jeopardy. In a CNBC interview, Mnuchin on Thursday avoided a direct answer when asked whether he supported the decision made by the Obama administration to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill with Tubman, the 19th century African-American abolitionist who was a leader in the Underground Railroad.

Federal Agency: Estee Lauder Discriminates Against New Dads

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – The U.S. agency charged with stopping workplace discrimination has sued Estee Lauder, alleging that new fathers at the beauty products maker get lesser benefits than their female colleagues. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said in Wednesday’s lawsuit in Philadelphia that Estee Lauder allows new fathers to take two weeks of paid leave, but new moms can take six weeks. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Christopher Sullivan, who had asked to take primary caregiver leave for six weeks.

Campbell Soup Slides After Consumers Prefer Fresh

NEW YORK (AP) – Campbell Soup skidded to a two-year low after the company said it expects sales to keep falling over the next year as consumers prefer fresh foods over its canned soups and bottled juices. The company forecast a smaller-than-expected annual profit after it reported a weak fourth quarter that included disappointing sales of snack food. Its stock lost $4.05, or 8.1 percent, to $46.20. Competitor Mondelez dropped 97 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $40.66 and Kraft Heinz gave up $1.18, or 1.4 percent, to $80.75.