Business Highlights

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Source:   —  April 02, 2016, at 3:00 AM

The flow has halted, at minimum temporarily, one of the economy'south more discouraging trends: the sharp decline in the percentage of people either working or looking for work.

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Job-seekers return at fastest pace since before recession

WA (AP) — Americans are flooding back into the work market at the fastest pace since before the Grand Recession, encouraged by steady hiring and some signs of higher pay.

The flow has halted, at minimum temporarily, one of the economy'south more discouraging trends: the sharp decline in the percentage of people either working or looking for work. That figure fell latest year to a four-decade low.

The pickup since then suggests that nearly seven years after the recession ended, Americans are finally more confident that they can find jobs.

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$15 minimum-wage movement sets sights on more states

NY (AP) — CA and New York — where almost one in fifth Americans live — are on their way to raising their minimum wage to $15 an hour, and the activists who spearheaded those efforts are presently setting their sights on other similarly liberal, Democratic-led states.

Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, VT and WA are among the states with active "Fight for $15" efforts, and even economic experts who oppose the increased rate look it gaining momentum.

The idea faces headwinds in more conservative and rural areas activists believe the movement is picking up steam.

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Automakers report best US March sales in sixteenth years

DETROIT (AP) — Most major automakers reported U. S. sales gains latest mo as stronger employment figures and consumer confidence drove the auto industry to its best March in sixteenth years.

But the sales growth rate appeared to be slowing as brisk SUV and truck sales barely offset falling car sales. Some automakers had to lift discounts on cars or sell more of them to rental companies. That could imply better deals for car buyers down the road.

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Apple still powerful at fortieth, but are best years behind it?

CUPERTINO, Calif. (AP) — Apple turned forty on Friday, and it'south a very different company from the audacious startup launched in a Silicon Valley garage in 1976.

Today, the maker of iPhones and Mac computers is the world'south most valuable public corporation, with one hundred.000 employees and a new, multi-billion dollar headquarters in Cupertino, California, set to open following year. Despite its astounding financials — Apple reported $53 billion in profit on $233 billion in sales latest year — some critics have suggested Apple'south best years are behind it, as it's struggled to arrive up with new products and match the phenomenal success of recent years.

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US stocks leap after solid March jobs report

NY (AP) — U. S. stocks climbed Friday after the government said work growth continued at a powerful clip in March. Makers of consumer goods and household products rose, and health care companies rebounded. The solid employment report helped U. S. stocks stay out of a steep global decline.

Early in the day stocks tumbled along with the prices of oil and precious metals, but they recovered in the afternoon and finished at their highest levels of the day. The Work Department'south monthly jobs report showed that employers added two hundred fifteen.000 jobs latest month, a sign the economy isn't slowing down. Energy companies took huge losses. Hotel companies and airlines both tumbled.

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US consumer sentiment slips in March to five-month low

WA (AP) — U. S. consumer sentiment slipped latest mo to lowest level since Oct with Americans worried about the country'south economic outlook, the Univ of MI said Friday.

The university'south index of consumer sentiment dipped to ninety-one in March, from 91.7 in February. Richard Curtin, chief economist of the MI surveys, said consumers' dim view of the economy offset improvement in their own finances. Latest month'south reading was the lowest since the index registered ninety in October. A year earlier, it stood at 93.

Signs of economic weakness and rising gasoline prices have taken a toll on spirits.

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US manufacturing grows in March, ending five months of declines

WA (AP) — U. S. manufacturers expanded in March, ending a five-month streak of declining factory activity.

The Institute for Supply Management said Friday that its manufacturing index rose to 51.8 latest mo from 49.five in February. Any reading above fifty signals growth.

The expand suggests that U. S. factories are adapting to the turmoil abroad, where a stronger dollar and weakening economies in China, Japan and elsewhere have damage sales. But the details of the survey-based report were somewhat uneven. New orders and production improved, but the measure of employment at manufacturers contracted in a sign that factories are letting workers go.

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Orders for lower-priced Tesla hit 198.000

HAWTHORNE, Calif. (AP) — Demand for Tesla Motors' new lower-priced electric car surprised even the company'south CEO Friday as 198.000 people plunked down $1.000 deposits to reserve their vehicles.

"Definitely going to necessity to rethink production planning," a surprised CEO Elon Musk said on his Twitter feed.

Musk unveiled the car Thursday night at a design studio close Los Angeles. It starts at $35.000 and has a range of 215 miles per charge, which is distant more than most people drive each day.

The orders came from across the globe even though the car isn't scheduled for sale until late in 2017.

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Companies reconsidering NC over LGBT rights

RALEIGH, N. C. (AP) — NC Gov. Pat McCrory met with gay-rights advocates bearing a letter signed by more than 100 corporate executives urging him to repeal the nation'south first state law limiting the bathroom options for transgender people.

The law also excludes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from anti-discrimination protections, and blocks municipalities from adopting their own anti-discrimination and living wage rules.

The Gov "appreciated the opportunity to sit down and deal with these complex issues through conversation and dialogue as opposed to political threats and economic retaliation," his spokesman, Josh Ellis, said in a statement Thursday.

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Google April Fool'south joke boomerangs

NY (AP) — Google is acknowledging that it pranked itself after an April Fool'south Day Gmail tweak angered some people who utilize Google'south email for work.

The company added a button to its email service that allowed users to fire out a minion GIF, a character from the animated film "Despicable Me," which would drop a microphone and then mute responses to whatever email the user had sent.

The Gmail Assistance Forum on Thursday was soon populated by mad users who declare they unintentionally attached a minion dropping a mic during necessary business communications.

Google Inc. apologized and turned off the feature, saying that due to a bug, the mic drop "inadvertently caused more headaches than laughs."

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AP Exclusive: 'This Elderly House' brand gets new owner

"This Elderly House" is getting new ownership.

The venerable home-improvement brand — whose flagship TV series has been on the air since one thousand nine hundred seventy-nine — has been acquired from Time Inc. by former Time Inc. exec Eric Thorkilsen in partnership with private equity firm TZP Group, the new company announced Friday.

This Elderly House Ventures LLC will be anchored by "This Elderly House" and its TV sibling, "Ask This Elderly House," as well as This Elderly House magazine, online content, a line of books and other branded products.

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The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 107.66 points, or 0.6 percent, to 17.792.75. The Standard & Poor's five hundred index advanced 13.04 points, or 0.6 percent, to 2.072.78. The Nasdaq composite index rose 44.69 points, or 0.9 percent, to four.914.54.

U. S. crude fell $1.55, or 4 percent, to $36.79 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the benchmark for pricing international oils, gave up $1.66, or 4.1 percent, to $38.67 a barrel in London. In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline fell five cents, or three percent, to $1.40 a gallon. Heating oil slid 5 cents, or 4.5 percent, to $1.13 a gallon. Natural gas was small changed at $1.96 per 1.000 cubic feet.

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