Business Briefs – February 7, 2018

For Many Factory Towns, White Collar Job Loss Hurts the Most

ERIE, Pa. (AP) – With the abandoned smokestacks off the bay and ramshackle factories along 12th Street, it’s easy to ascribe the plight of Erie, Pennsylvania, to the loss of manufacturing jobs to China and Mexico. Many, including President Donald Trump, hold the belief that those diminished factories are what primarily ails Erie and other aging blue-collar company towns. Yet since 2008, Erie has suffered a hidden and potentially more devastating exodus: The loss of well-paid white-collar jobs.

Icahn Denies Prior Knowledge Of Trump’s Steel Tariffs

NEW YORK (AP) – Billionaire investor Carl Icahn denies that he had any prior knowledge of President Donald Trump’s plans to impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum when he sold about $31 million of stock in steel-dependent Manitowoc last month.

EU Ready for a ‘Stupid’ Trade War if Trump Slaps on Tariffs

BRUSSELS (AP) – The EU says it is ready to retaliate against the U.S. over President Donald Trump’s proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum. Counter-measures would target iconic U.S. products like Harley Davidson motorcycles, Levi’s jeans and bourbon. EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem said Wednesday that the EU, the world’s biggest trading bloc, rejects Trump’s reasoning that tariffs are needed to protect national security.

Finance Minister Says China Can Handle Government Debt Risks

BEIJING (AP) – China’s finance minister has tried to defuse concern over the country’s rising debt, saying government borrowing is below danger levels and regulators can prevent financial system risks. The comments follow Beijing’s criticism last year of global rating agencies for their decision to cut its credit rating due to China’s rising overall debt burden.

Survey: U.S. Businesses Hire 235,000 New Workers in February

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. companies added a healthy 235,000 jobs last month, led by solid gains in construction, hotels and restaurants, and education and health care, according to a private survey. Payroll provider ADP says February’s hiring comes after businesses added 244,000 people in January and 249,000 in December.

U.S. Consumer Borrowing Growth Slows to $13.9 Billion

WASHINGTON (AP) – American consumers increased their borrowing at a slower pace in January, as the category that covers credit cards recorded the smallest increase in three years. The Federal Reserve says the January gain of $13.9 billion followed a $19.2 billion increase in December and a November surge of $30.9 billion.