Business briefs: Shutdown delays September jobs report

  • Updated: October 3, 2013 - 8:04 PM

Shutdown delays September jobs report

The U.S. Department of Labor won’t issue the September payroll report on Friday as scheduled because of the partial government shutdown. An alternate date for the employment report, usually released on the first Friday of each month, hasn’t been scheduled, the department said. The release includes the unemployment rate and data on payroll employment. The report is the most prominent among the data releases issued by federal government agencies that have been canceled as workers deemed nonessential are furloughed.

Jobless claims hint at employer perseverance

Fewer Americans than forecast filed applications for unemployment benefits last week, indicating U.S. employers were maintaining staff counts in the days leading up to the government shutdown. Jobless claims rose by 1,000 to 308,000 in the week ended Sept. 28, from a revised 307,000, a Labor Department report showed. The median forecast of 50 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a rise to 315,000. Continuing claims jumped as California worked through its backlog of applications following a change in computer systems. The figures show business leaders remained confident enough in the economy to hold the line on firings even as gridlock in Washington pointed to an imminent partial closing of federal government agencies.

Service sector growth falls short of forecasts

Service industries expanded in September at a slower pace than forecast as more corporate purchasing managers grew apprehensive about the U.S. economy leading up to the government shutdown. The Institute for Supply Management’s nonmanufacturing index dropped to a three-month low of 54.4 from the prior month’s 58.6, the group said. While readings above 50 indicate expansion, the September figure was below the lowest forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists. The September decline left the services measure close to its 54.7 average since the end of 2011, a period that corresponds with economic growth of around 2 percent. Corporate plans to expand are at risk of being put on hold amid budget gridlock in Washington that poses a risk to the expansion.

Modest increase in holiday sales projected

Retail sales could increase 3.9 percent during the holiday season, as political and economic uncertainties dampen consumer confidence, the National Retail Federation said. Sales may rise to $602.1 billion in November and December, Washington-based NRF said in a statement. The increase is slightly higher than last year’s 3.5 percent gain and the 10-year average of 3.3 percent, NRF said. Stores may hire 720,000 to 780,000 seasonal employees, compared with 720,500 last year, the group also said. The first partial government shutdown in 17 years and the prospect of a lengthy budget fight could jeopardize the economic recovery and cool consumer sentiment.

Microsoft’s Ballmer gets only partial bonus

Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive Steve Ballmer received $1.26 million in compensation for the 2013 fiscal year, missing out on more than half of his potential bonus as the company struggles in mobile devices. Ballmer received a bonus of $550,000, 79 percent of his base salary, for the 12 months ended June 30, the Redmond, Wash.-based company said in a filing. He was eligible for as much as 200 percent of his base. Microsoft’s board cited disappointing sales of its Surface tablets and difficulties in the PC market for its assessment of the CEO’s performance. Ballmer, who is retiring within a year, also received less than half of his maximum bonus in 2012.

Former Tyco executive Swartz wins parole

Former Tyco International Chief Financial Officer Mark Swartz was granted parole eight years after he was sent to prison for a $400 million fraud on shareholders. Swartz, 53, appeared before the state Parole Board via teleconference and was granted approval, Linda Foglia, a spokeswoman for the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, said in an e-mail. He is tentatively expected to be released on Jan. 17, Foglia said. Swartz, who served as Tyco’s CFO from February 1995 to September 2002, and former CEO Dennis Kozlowski were convicted in 2005.

Struggling Eli Lilly to release diabetes drugs

Eli Lilly & Co., saying that meeting its sales target will be a challenge, plans to repurchase $5 billion in shares and introduce new diabetes drugs to help navigate past four years of patent losses. Less-than-expected profit in emerging markets and a decline in the yen have slowed growth across the pharmaceutical industry. That may make it more difficult for Lilly to meet a reaffirmed goal of at least $20 billion in revenue through 2014, the Indianapolis-based company said. The new products and buybacks are part of Lilly’s strategy to return to growth after next year.

Reuters to lay off 5% of newsroom workers

Turmoil continues at Thomson Reuters Corp. after the company announced that it was laying off staff members. “To simplify and strengthen the Reuters news operation, we are making changes that will result in a slightly smaller editorial staff, but one that is more strategically positioned and better equipped to help Reuters report and deliver the news that matters most to our customers and society as a whole,” a spokeswoman, Barb Burg, said in a statement. The cuts, which are expected to affect about 150 employees, or 5 percent of the newsroom staff, follow an announcement late last month that the company was scrapping its plans to expand into consumer news through a 2-year old program called Next.

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