Wall Street's all a-Twitter over the social network and General Motors is hit with a lawsuit. Read about these and other of the day's top business news stories.
Businesses Add More than 200,000 Jobs for Fourth Straight Month: ADP
Businesses added 218,000 jobs in July, payroll processor ADP reported Wednesday. The report anticipates the closely-watched government employment report to be released on Friday. This is the fourth straight month of job gains above 200,000, The Associated Press reports, but it is fewer than June's 281,000 jobs. Businesses with 50-499 employees posted the highest hiring gains with 92,000 jobs.
Better Than Expected Growth for U.S. Economy
Bouncing back from its worst performance in five years, the U.S. gross domestic product expanded at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4 percent in the three months ended June 30, the Commerce Department reported Wedensday. The year;s first three months were the economy's weakest since 2009 when the country was in the grip of the recession. Consumer spending, which makes up more than two-thirds of the economy, increased 2.5 percent in the second quarter, more than double the 1.2 percent increase in the first-quarter.
Twitter Shares Jump
There was a 29-percent jump in share prices for the social media site Twitter Tuesday after the company posted strong second-quarter sales. Twitter’s better-than-expected quarterly report provided a turnaround from recent investor fears about the site. Twitter reported unusual success with mobile users, as the number of users from mobile technology jumped 29 percent over last year. Twitter raised its projection for total 2014 sales to $1.3 billion. Prior to the report, shares had fallen by 40 percent since the start of 2014 as investors raised questions about how much growth room Twitter had and whether it could find a way to cash in on its user base. Chief operating officer Ali Rowghani resigned in June and a new chief financial officer was named just a few weeks ago. Twitter lost $145 million in the second quarter.
Skin Cancer Alert Sounded
The United States Surgeon General Tuesday sounded the alarm on skin cancer, following a report from the American Cancer Society that there are more skin cancer cases diagnosed annually than there are breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer cases combined. “Until today, the surgeon general has never said ‘UV radiation is bad for you, protect your skin’,’’ acting Surgeon General Dr. Boris Lushniak said. Nearly five million people are treated for skin cancer each year. Lushniak said parents need to teach their children about sun safety just as they would dental care and eating healthy. “We have to change the social norms about tanning,’’ he said. “Tanned skin is damaged skin, and we need to shatter the myth that tanned skin is a sign of health.” Each year more than 63,000 cases of melanoma are diagnosed in the United States and 9,000 people die from it.
Woman to Serve as NBA Players Union Executive Director
Washington trial attorney Michelle Roberts Tuesday was named executive director of the National Basketball Association Players Union Tuesday, becoming the first woman to lead a major U.S. sports union. She will take over the union, replacing Billy Hunter, who was removed from the position 18 months ago. Hunter served as executive director from 1996 until he was forced out in February of 2013 because of questionable business practices. Roberts is also an adjunct faculty member at Harvard Law School.
General Motors Hit with Lawsuit
A lawsuit was filed Tuesday against General Motors, brought on behalf of more than 650 people harmed or killed in accidents involving cars that have been recalled for faulty ignition switches. The lawsuit was filed in Manhattan federal court, as dozens of cases against General Motors were consolidated. There are a total of 658 plaintiffs, including 29 claims for people who died. Since the beginning of 2014, General Motors has recalled nearly 15 million vehicles worldwide over potentially defective ignition switches. The company has set up a program to compensate victims of the crashes involving about 2.6 million of the cars.
Drug Company Amgen Announces Layoffs
Biological drugmaker Amgen announced Tuesday it will lay off 12 to 15 percent of its worldwide employees and close four plants despite second-quarter profit reports that exceeded Wall Street expectations. Amgen, the Thousand Oaks, California company that makes Prolia for osteoporosis and Aranesp for anemia, said it is restructuring to free up money for investments in the business, including marketing for a new set of drugs. The layoffs will affect up to 2,900 employees, mostly in the United States. The sites to be closed in Colorado and Washington state focus on research and development. Amgen posted a 23 percent increase in second-quarter profit as revenue jumped 11 percent.
They Grow Marijuana Farms Big in Texas
More than two dozen marijuana fields containing approximately 100,000 plants were discovered in East Texas over the weekend and now have been cleared. Polk County authorities said the plants were worth an estimated $175 million. The fields were part of a sophisticated operation that diverted water from a nearby creek in Goodrich, Texas to hydrate the crops. “These guys are building trenches, pumps, set up irrigation systems,’’ said Polk County Chief Deputy Byron Lyons. “They’ve got their own little camps, tents, tent cities. It is a pretty elaborate set-up.” The fields were discovered by a deer hunter, and inmates from the county jail helped authorities to pull up the plants and clear the fields.