Business Briefs – May 30, 2018

Fed Proposes Easing Rule That Limits Risky Bank Trading

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Federal Reserve is proposing to ease a rule aimed at defusing the kind of risk-taking on Wall Street that helped trigger the 2008 financial meltdown. The Fed under new leadership on Wednesday unveiled proposed changes to the Volcker Rule, which bars banks’ risky trading bets for their own profit with depositors’ money. The activity is known as proprietary trading.

Europe Expects to Be Hit by U.S. Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum

PARIS (AP) – Europe is bracing for the United States to slap restrictions Thursday on imported steel and aluminum. Top European officials were holding last-ditch talks in Paris with American trade officials to avoid U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum.

“Realistically, I do not think we can hope” to avoid either U.S. tariffs or quotas on steel and aluminum, said Cecilia Malmstrom, the European Union’s trade commissioner.

U.S. Economic Growth Revised Down to 2.2 Percent Rate in Q1

WASHINGTON (AP) – The U.S. economy grew at a weaker 2.2 percent annual rate in the first three months of the year, as consumers and businesses slowed their spending. But given the economy’s recent performance, analysts are still looking for a solid rebound in the current quarter. The Commerce Department reports that growth in the gross domestic product, the economy’s total output of goods and services, came in slightly below the first estimate last month of 2.3 percent in the January-March period.

Need an Entry-Level Job at a Store? It Can Be Harder Now

NEW YORK (AP) – Getting a job as a store cashier or a sales assistant — often an easy way into the economy for an unskilled worker — used to be easy. Now, that path is getting much more complicated as employers demand higher-level skills.

Across all entry-level retail jobs, the number of skills being demanded rose from 2010 to 2016, according to an analysis done for The Associated Press by Burning Glass Technologies, which scours 25 million job postings.

This has major consequences for workers without college degrees or vocational training trying to get an economic foothold. A decade ago, workers, especially young ones, could start as cashiers and move up to become store managers or even higher.

Should You Reboot Your Router Like the FBI Says?

(AP) – Last week, the FBI recommended rebooting home and small office routers that might have been infected with disruptive malware. But cycling the power on an infected router is only a temporary solution that would leave the core infection intact and listening for instructions. Cisco researchers say the good news is that the FBI has disrupted the command-and-control server that transmits instructions to infected routers. The bad news is that another such server could be set up.

Fed Finds Nationwide Pickup In Manufacturing Activity

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Federal Reserve’s latest survey of business conditions found manufacturing activity accelerating in many parts of the country in late April and early May even as some businesses expressed concern about uncertainty caused by rising trade tensions. The survey described the economy as expanding at a moderate pace with more than half of the Fed’s 12 regions reporting a pickup in industrial activity.

Survey: U.S. Businesses Add a Solid 178,000 Jobs in May

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. businesses added 178,000 jobs in May, according to a survey, a solid total but below the average monthly gains accumulated over the winter. Payroll processor ADP said on Wednesday that hiring was strong in construction, education and health care, and professional and business services, which includes accounting, engineering and legal services. Retailers cut jobs.

Electric Vehicle Startup SF Motors Takes Over Indiana Plant

MISHAWAKA, Ind. (AP) – An electric vehicle startup announced Wednesday that it is retooling an Indiana factory and hopes to conduct trial runs for two new lines of vehicles by the end of the year.

State officials say SF Motors, a Silicon Valley-based subsidiary of China’s Chongqing Sokon Industry Group, plans to hire back some workers who were laid off when AM General halted operations at its Mishawaka plant last year.

The company says it will spend $160 million to buy, renovate and retool the factory, which will serve as the company’s main U.S. manufacturing plant. It plans to employ up to 467 workers.