Business Briefs – March 6, 2019

Home Depot Adding 80,000 Workers For Spring

(The Atlanta Journal-Constitution) – To get ready for spring, Home Depot has started hiring 80,000 seasonal workers, the company said Tuesday.

The surge of new part-time and full-time employees is similar to each year’s swelling payrolls as the Atlanta-based, $108 billion-a-year company prepares for warmer weather and a hoped-for tide of do-it-yourself projects by the nation’s homeowners.

The undertaking amounts to a temporary boost of at least 20 percent in the size of the workforce. Home Depot currently has about 400,000 employees and 2,288 stores.

Gas Scarcity Could Turn Venezuela’s Crisis to Catastrophe

MARACAIBO, Venezuela (AP) – In socialist Venezuela, waiting hours to fill up at the pump is the high cost of gasoline that’s nearly free. Lines stretching over a mile for gas have plagued the western region of Venezuela for years, but shortages are likely to spread countrywide as supplies of petrol start drying up amid U.S. sanctions and a raging power struggle — turning crisis into catastrophe.

Dollar Tree to Close Up to 390 Family Dollar Stores

NEW YORK (AP) – Dollar Tree is closing up to 390 Family Dollar stores this year and rebranding about 200 others under the Dollar Tree name. The company also slashed the value of its struggling Family Dollar chain, booking a $2.73 billion charge in its fiscal fourth quarter.

Ghosn’s Journey: Star Auto Executive to Masked Suspect

Former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn’s talents and charisma took him to the pinnacle of his industry before his arrest in November. On Wednesday, he left the drab confines of the Tokyo Detention Center for the first time in more than 100 days, his identity obscured with a surgical mask, hat and construction worker’s outfit. Ghosn will be under tight surveillance after his release on 1 billion yen ($8.9 million) bail.

The Cruze Cruises: GM Assembly Plant Prepares to Close

LORDSTOWN, Ohio (AP) – General Motors’ sprawling Lordstown assembly plant near Youngstown is about to end production of the Chevrolet Cruze sedan, ending for now more than 50 years of auto manufacturing at the site. The jobs of nearly 1,700 hourly workers will be eliminated when production ends Wednesday afternoon and a contingent of workers finish making replacement parts like hoods and fenders sometime later this month.

Democrat Bill Seeks to Restore Obama-Era Net Neutrality Regs

NEW YORK (AP) – Top Democrats in the House and Senate are announcing a new bill to restore the 2015 “net neutrality” rules that Trump-era regulators repealed. The regulation had barred internet service providers like Verizon, AT&T and Comcast from playing favorites with websites and apps. Wednesday’s bill to restore net neutrality will have a tough time becoming law, but could give Democrats political points.

iPhone Sales Are Falling, and Apple’s App Fees Might Be Next

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – As iPhone sales slip, Apple has been positioning its booming digital-services business as its new profit engine. But there could be a snag in that plan. A brewing backlash against the rich commissions Apple earns from all purchases and subscriptions made via iPhone apps could undercut the app store, which generates about a third of the company’s services revenue.

Epa Says 2017 Model Year Vehicle Mileage Increased Slightly

DETROIT (AP) – New vehicles in the U.S. from the 2017 model year averaged slightly better gas mileage than the previous year, rising to a record 24.9 miles per gallon. That’s according to an annual report from the Environmental Protection Agency. But the mileage rose only 0.2 mpg, and environmental groups say it fell short of a 1 mpg increase required under standards enacted during the Obama administration.