ADP's disappointing jobs report, slowed U.S. new car and truck sales, and a clean DHS funding bill head our roundup of the day's top business news stories.
Target Targets Thousands of Jobs
U.S. big box retailer Target Corp on Tuesday said it planned to cut several thousand jobs, mainly from headquarters locations, as part of a restructuring that will cut $2 billion in costs over two years. Chief Executive Officer Brian Cornell outlined the company’s revival plan at a meeting of analysts in New York. Cornell said the restructuring was aimed at freeing up resources for investments in its focus areas. The company projects comparable sales growth of 1.5 to 2.5 percent this fiscal year.
212,000 Jobs Added in February: ADP
The American private sector added a less than expected 212,000 positions in February, ADP reported Wednesday. Small businesses with up to 50 employees added 94,000 positions, down from January’s 97,000. Medium-sized firms with between 50 and 499 employees dropped from 106,000 to 63,000. Large businesses with at least 500 employees added 56,000 jobs, up from the previous month’s 40,000. Most of the February job gains came in the service sector (181,000 positions, 12 percent less than in January)
JPMorgan Settles with DOJ Over “Robo-Signing”
JPMorgan Chase has agreed to compensate over 25,000 homeowners with a more than $50 million settlement for fraudulent dealings in tens of thousands of mortgages following the mortgage crisis, USA TODAY reports. In a deal cut with the Department of Justice’s Trustee Program, JPMorgan announced it will pay more than $50 million in the form of cash payments, mortgage credits and loan forgiveness to settle the DOJ’s allegations of “robo-signing,” which occurs when mortgage servers rubber-stamp mortgage foreclosure documents without proper review. JPMorgan’s actions did not force the foreclosures, but resulted in other problems, including inaccurate notices of payment increases, according to the reported settlement.
February U.S. Auto Sales Hit Speed Bump
Freezing temperatures, disruptions at West Coast ports and rising gas prices took a bite out of U.S. auto sales last month. But despite these speed bumps, most automakers reported gains, and new car and truck sales are still on track to hit their highest level in more than a decade this year, the Associated Press reports. Analysts forecast lost sales should be made up as the weather warms this month. Toyota and Subaru reported double-digit sales increases over last February, while Hyundai sales accelerated 7 percent. But Chrysler, General Motors, Honda and Nissan all saw less-than-expected gains of 6 percent or less while Ford's U.S. sales dropped 1.9 percent and Volkswagen's sales fell 5.2 percent. Industry sales were up 5.3 percent to 1.25 million, according to Autodata Corp. That also fell short of expected gains.
House Passes DHS Funding Bill
The House on Tuesday voted 257-167 to fund the Department of Homeland Security through the end of the budget year, without overturning the president's immigration policies. President Barack Obama is expected to sign the measure. Without action, funding for the department would have expired Friday at midnight. The vote on Tuesday was an abrupt reversal of position by House Republicans, who had hoped to use the measure to fight what they say are Mr. Obama’s unconstitutional executive actions on immigration, USA TODAY reports.
United Airlines to Upgrade its O’Hare Lounge Act
United Airlines is expected to announce Wednesday it will upgrade its culinary offerings at its United Club lounges at O’Hare airport. The Chicago-based airline will launch a new complimentary food menu in its United Clubs, including a Greek yogurt bar and a hot oatmeal station. The clubs haven't gotten a significant menu upgrade since United merged with Continental airlines in 2010. Officials said the new menu, first available at O'Hare on Wednesday at its C-16 United Club in Terminal 1, is focused on freshness, variety, quality and being healthful, the Chicago Tribune reports. United has a total of five clubs at O'Hare, including its international club and club for United Express regional service in Terminal 2. The new food will roll out to the other clubs at O'Hare over the next six weeks.