Severe weather can't cool hiring, according to a strong February jobs report. Read about this and more of the day's top business news stories.
Unemployment Reaches 7-Year Low, Wages Stagnant
The economy added a better-than-forecast 295,000 jobs in February, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. The unemployment rate fell from 5.7 percent to 5.5 percent, the lowest since May 2008. Job gains have averaged 288,000 a month for the past three months, but February was the fourth-best month for jobs since January 2014. Wages, however, rose a modest 2 percent the past year.
U.S. Banks Pass Fed Stress Test
All of the nation's 31 largest banks are stronger than they have been at any time since the 2008 economic collapse, according to the results of the Federal Reserve’s annual “stress tests.” Each of the banks demonstrated they were adequately fortified to withstand a severe U.S. and global recession and continue ending, the Fed announced. JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. and Wells Fargo and Co., the four biggest U.S. banks by assets, were among the institutions tested. The Fed has conducted stress tests of the largest domestic banks since 2009.
Never Forget: Ringling Bros. Drops the Curtain on Elephant Acts
The “Greatest Show on Earth” will go on without its elephant acts. The 145-year-old ”Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus ' iconic elephant acts will be phased out of the venerable circus by 2018. The circus’ parent company, Feld Entertainment, called the decision, announced Thursday, “unprecedented” and “the most significant change we have made since we founded the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation in 1995.” The circus’ other animals will still be part of the show. Ingrid Newkirk, president of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) said in a statement that Ringling Bros. bringing an end to its elephant acts is a long time coming, but that three years is “too far off.”
U.S. Factory Orders Drop for Sixth Consecutive Month
New orders for U.S. factory goods unexpectedly fell in January, posting their sixth straight monthly decline, the Commerce Department said on Thursday. New orders for manufactured goods slipped a more-than-expected 0.2 percent after a revised 3.5 percent decline in December. The department also said orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft - seen as a measure of business confidence and spending plans – rose 0.5 percent instead of the 0.6 percent advance reported last month. Analysts express optimism the sector will regain momentum in the second quarter. Unfilled orders at factories fell 0.2 percent in January, declining for a second straight month.
Tiger Consumer Management to Go Out Like a Lion
Hedge fund manager Patrick McCormack announced he’s shutting down his Tiger Consumer Management after 15 years to spend more time with his family.
“Managing a fundamentally driven, long/short equity hedge fund is rewarding but demanding work,” he wrote in a letter to investors sent out on Wednesday. “The decision to wind-down is one of the most difficult I have faced, but I have given it considerable thought and believe now is the best time to do so, particularly given a strong start to the year.” McCormack will return virtually all investor money by the end of March. The fund was up 4.6 percent in February and 3.9 percent in 2015, the letter said.
Volkswagen to Announce $1 Billion Investment in Mexico
German carmaker Volkswagen is expected to announce next week it plans to invest $1 billion in Mexico over the next three years to expand its Puebla plant, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters. The investment, aimed at production of the carmaker's Tiguan compact, is due to be unveiled on Monday and is expected to generate about 1,900 jobs, the person said. Volkswagen, which opened its Puebla plant in 1964, last year produced 475,121 vehicles out of about 3.2 million autos manufactured in the country, data from the Mexican Automotive Industry Association (AMIA) show. Mexico is the seventh biggest manufacturer of autos and the fourth largest exporter in the world, according to AMIA. More than 80 percent of those vehicles are destined for sale abroad.