Business Briefs – May 9, 2018

More Americans Expect to Work Until 70; There Are Benefits

NEW YORK (AP) — When it comes to retirement, later may be better. Americans long viewed 65 as the age to stop working. It was considered full retirement age by Social Security for many. Medicare benefits kick in then and historical practice had established it as the goal. Now some experts are suggesting people set their sights a bit higher — on 70.

Google Showcases AI Advances At Its Big Conference

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (AP) — Google again put artificial intelligence in the spotlight at its annual developers conference Tuesday. The company’s digital concierge, known only as the Google Assistant, is gaining new abilities to handle tasks such as making restaurant reservations and placing other tedious phone calls without human hand-holding.

U.S. Job Openings Equal Unemployed For 1st Time in 2 Decades

WASHINGTON (AP) — If you’re looking for a job right now, this may be about as good as it gets: There are roughly as many open jobs in the United States as there are unemployed people. In March, employers advertised 6.55 million open jobs, the most on records dating to December 2000. At the same time, there were 6.59 million unemployed people.

Stakes High as Seattle Considers Business Tax for Homeless

SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle’s latest tax proposal to combat homelessness takes aim at large businesses such as Amazon that have helped drive the city’s economic boom. But the measure has sparked intense debate over who should pay to solve the housing crisis exacerbated by that growth. Supporters insist Amazon and others that have benefited from Seattle’s prosperity and contributed to growing income inequality should pay. Businesses and others say the proposed tax is misguided and potentially harmful.

Japanese Drug Maker Takeda To Buy Ireland’s Shire

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese drug maker Takeda Pharmaceutical has reached agreement with Ireland-based Shire to buy the company for 46 billion pounds ($62.4 billion) in one of the biggest pharma deals so far. The two companies announced the formal agreement Tuesday. The deal values Shire at 49.01 pound ($66.53) per share.

China’s Exports Rebound, Trade Surplus With U.S. Swells

HONG KONG (AP) — China’s exports rebounded in April and its politically sensitive monthly trade surplus with the United States grew for the first time in five months. Official customs data released Tuesday showed exports expanded 21.5 percent in April while imports grew 12.9 percent. The figures also show that China’s trade surplus with the U.S. grew to $22.2 billion for the month, the first increase since November.

China Cutting U.S. Soybean Purchases In Face of Tariffs Threat

WASHINGTON (AP) — With the threat of tariffs and counter-tariffs between Washington and Beijing looming, Chinese buyers are canceling orders for U.S. soybeans, a trend that could deal a blow to American farmers if it continues.

At the same time, farmers in China are being encouraged to plant more soy, apparently to help make up for any shortfall from the United States.

Beijing has included soybeans on a list of $50 billion of U.S. exports on which it has said it would impose 25 percent tariffs if the United States follows through on its threats to impose the same level of tariffs on the same value of Chinese goods. The U.S. tariffs could kick in later this month; China would likely retaliate soon after.