Business Briefs – May 5, 2019

Are Retail Jobs in a Funk? It’s Complicated

NEW YORK (AP) – The overall economy is adding jobs while retailers are cutting. The government job figures, released Friday, offer the latest evidence of a shift away from employee-heavy stores as Americans increasingly shop online. But the figures don’t tell the whole story. In fact, jobs in areas like distribution warehouses where job growth is soaring are counted under the warehouse industry category, not retail. And retailers are still struggling to find qualified workers even in physical stores.

Musk Doubles Down on Investment As Tesla Raises Capital Goal

DETROIT (AP) – Tesla CEO Elon Musk is more than doubling the stock he will buy in a new public offering in an apparent bid to earn investors’ confidence as he tries to turn around his struggling electric car company. Musk raised his latest investment from $10 million to $25 million on Friday as Tesla boosted the size of a note-and-stock offering to raise much-needed capital to keep the company going.

Workers Allege Racism at Harley-Davidson Plant in Missouri

KANSAS CITY (AP) – Several current and former black employees at the Harley-Davidson plant in Kansas City say minorities at the plant faced ongoing harassment that included nooses and swastikas on the walls and in bathrooms and frequent racial epithets. At a news conference Friday organized by the NAACP-Kansas City, the employees said their complaints were consistently ignored.

European, U.S. Investigators Make Major Darknet Bust

BERLIN (AP) – Authorities say European and American investigators have broken up one of the world’s largest online criminal trafficking operations in a series of raids in the United States and Germany. Three German men were arrested after the raids in three southern states on allegations they operated the so-called “Wall Street Market” darknet platform. Authorities say it hosted some 5,400 sellers and 1.15 million customer accounts.

U.S. Service Companies Grew At a Slower Pace in April

NEW YORK (AP) – U.S. service companies grew at a slower pace in April, as business activity generally showed a leveling off. The Institute for Supply Management, an association of purchasing managers, reported that its service index fell to 55.5% last month, down from 56.1% in March.

Fiat Chrysler Expects Improvements After Weak First Quarter

MILAN (AP) – Carmaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has reported a 47% drop in profits for the first quarter of 2019 due largely to production shifts. It nevertheless expressed confidence that new models will help it meet full-year profit targets. It said Friday that net profits fell to 508 million euros ($567 million) from 951 million euros in the same quarter a year earlier, while net revenue sank 5 percent to 24.5 billion euros.

Drivers Group Plans Work Stoppage Ahead of Uber IPO

NEW YORK (AP) – An organization representing for-hire drivers in New York City says its members will go on a two-hour strike against Uber and Lyft ahead of Uber’s planned initial public stock offering. The New York City Taxi Workers Alliance says its members voted not to drive for Uber or Lyft between 7 and 9 a.m. Wednesday. San Francisco-based Uber is aiming to raise $9 billion in its initial public offering Thursday.

Families Defrauded by Unregulated Service Dog Trainers

APEX, N.C. (AP) – The Americans with Disabilities Act does not require that service dogs be professionally trained, and experts say that makes vulnerable families easy prey for incompetent or unscrupulous trainers. Officials in North Carolina and Virginia are currently investigating two nonprofits for alleged fraud affecting dozens of families. Properly training a service dog can take up to a year and a half and cost upward of $50,000, depending on the tasks being trained. But about half of all dogs wash out.