Business Briefs – December 6, 2017

VW Senior Manager Gets 7 Years In Prison

DETROIT (AP) – A Volkswagen senior manager has been sentenced to seven years in a U.S. prison for concealing software that was used to evade pollution limits on nearly 600,000 diesel vehicles. Lawyers spent roughly 90 minutes giving different views about Oliver Schmidt’s culpability in the scandal. But Judge Sean Cox sided with prosecutors, calling Schmidt a “key conspirator” who viewed the cover-up as an opportunity to “shine” and “climb the corporate ladder.”

Survey: U.S. Businesses Added a Solid 190,000 Jobs in November

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. businesses added a robust 190,000 jobs in November, according to a private survey, a sign that hiring is strong enough to reduce the already-low unemployment rate. Payroll processor ADP said last month’s hiring followed an even larger gain of 235,000 in October.

Economists see the report as a relatively good indication of what the more comprehensive federal government’s jobs tally will show.

That report arrives on Friday, and it will be one of the last pieces of major economic data released before the Federal Reserve’s meeting next week on interest rates. Most economists expect the Fed to raise rates, which would be the third increase of the year.

As Health Premiums Rise, Small Businesses Seek Alternatives

NEW YORK (AP) – Small businesses have been getting notices of premium and coverage changes for 2018. The changes vary widely, depending on the state where a company is located, how many employees it has and how comprehensive its insurance is. But many owners are facing rate increases running into double-digit percentages or dramatically reduced coverage — or both. Health insurance consultants expect many owners to choose alternatives like paying for claims themselves or adding health services to lower costs.

Lyft Offers Self-Driving Car Rides In Boston

BOSTON (AP) – The ride-hailing company Lyft is now sending self-driving cars to pick up passengers in a Boston neighborhood. The cars will have backup human drivers at the wheel and will be limited to short routes within the city’s Seaport District, a burgeoning tech startup hub. Lyft and its Boston-based partner nuTonomy, which builds self-driving software, announced Wednesday that the pilot project has begun.