Starbucks pushes to hire challenged youth

Starbucks Corp. is leading more than a dozen companies in an effort to hire 100,000 young workers with "systemic barriers to jobs and education" in the next three years. The coffee giant said the coalition of employers includes Alaska Air Group Inc., CVS Health Corp., Lyft Inc., Macy's Inc., Microsoft Corp., Target Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. The group has pledged to bring on more 16- to 24-year-olds as apprentices, interns and employees by 2018 — the continuation of a promise by Starbucks Chief Executive Howard Schultz in March to hire more from the demographic.

Macy's to close downtown Pittsburgh store

The historic Macy's store in downtown Pittsburgh is going to close, the Cincinnati-based department store chain said. The former flagship of the Kaufmann's chain has been sold to Philadelphia-based Core Realty, which is planning to turn the 13-story building into apartments and a hotel. Floors 1 to 4 were expected to be reserved for the department store, but Macy's ended up changing its mind. About 170 employees will be affected, although some may move to positions in other Macy's stores in the region. A company spokesman said employees were notified of the store closing Monday.

Marathon unit to buy natural gas company

A partnership run by Marathon Petroleum will spend $14.69 billion to buy MarkWest Energy Partners, a company that splits natural gas into other fuels. The combined company will have a market capitalization of $21 billion and tie up Marathon's huge pipeline network with the refiner. The cash-and-stock deal values MarkWest units at $78.64 each. The companies said the purchase includes $4.2 billion in debt held by MarkWest. The companies value the deal at $20 billion and expect it to be completed during the fourth quarter. Denver's MarkWest will become a unit of MPLX LP, a midstream partnership created by Marathon Petroleum.

Calpers earned below market rate last year

The California Public Employees' Retirement System, the largest pension in the U.S., said it earned 2.4 percent last fiscal year, below its target rate as financial-market turbulence depressed stock and bond returns. The $300 billion fund earned 1 percent on public-equity holdings and 1.3 percent in fixed-income investments, said Ted Eliopoulos, chief investment officer. Real estate returned 13.5 percent, while private equity gained 8.9 percent. Calpers must average at least 7.5 percent a year to match its assumed rate of return or turn to taxpayers to make up the difference. Calpers is among pensions under pressure to boost investment returns as their unfunded liabilities tripled to almost $2 trillion from 2004 through 2013, according to Moody's Investors Service.

Ashley Furniture to remain independent

Ashley Furniture Industries Inc., reported last month to have been exploring a possible sale, will remain in the hands of its current owners, chiefly the Wanek family. The Arcadia, Wis.-based company said that its shareholders, "after exploring potential investment options earlier this year, have decided to retain all of their Ashley stock." The family-owned company, with nearly $4 billion in sales last year, describes itself as the world's largest furniture manufacturer. It is also the largest furniture retailer in the U.S., and has been the standout success in a domestic industry heavily battered by Chinese imports.

UAW opens contract talks with GM

The United Auto Workers union opened contract talks in an official handshake ceremony with General Motors, but both sides are a long way apart on a number of financial issues. GM and Ford want to cut labor costs that are $8 to $9 per hour higher than U.S. plants owned by Honda and Toyota, while Fiat Chrysler wants to keep its costs stable. The union also wants pay raises for longtime workers, an end to lower pay for entry-level workers and new product guarantees what would create jobs at U.S. factories. Despite the differences, union officials and GM executives said they were confident that they could negotiate a deal that will make both sides happy.

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