Officials believe that piece of airplane found in the Indian Ocean belongs to the missing Malaysian Airlines jet. That story and others top the news for July 31, 2015.
Wage Growth Slowed
The U.S. Labor Department Friday reported that labor costs in the second quarter grew at the slowest rate in 13 years due to very small gains in the private sector. The Employment Cost Index, the best measure of labor costs, grew just 0.2 percent in the second quarter, and the last time the growth was that small was back in 1982 when the index was first measured. The growth for the first quarter was 0.7 percent. Although wage growth is slow, the unemployment rate is near the 5.0 percent mark where the Federal Reserve considers the labor market to be at full employment.
“Mini Major” Relativity Files Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
Relativity Media, the Hollywood studio behind movies such as "Immortals" and "Mirror Mirror," filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Thursday, the Associated Press reports. The company owes roughly $240 million to creditors. The filing will allow the studio to continue to operate while restructuring. The bankruptcy filing came a day after Relativity announced it was laying off 75 of its approximately 350 employees. The “mini major” achieved its first successes co-financing major studio productions such as “Fast & Furious 6” and “21 Jump Street.” Its own forays into production, including “Paranoia” and “Desert Dancer,” were more miss than hit. The cash-strapped studio has been forced to push back several of its titles, including the ensemble comedy, “Masterminds,” which will open in October rather than mid-August as originally scheduled.
LinkedIn Fails to Connect with Investors
Professional networking service LinkedIn Corp’s better-than-forecast 33 percent rise in quarterly revenue did not ease investor concerns about the company’s “widening losses and an underwhelming full-year revenue forecast,” Reuters reports. LinkedIn’s shares were down 3.9 percent in after-hours trading. Last May, LinkedIn bought training video market leader lynda.com for $1.5 billion. The company said it now expects the business to contribute about $90 million to 2015 revenue, more than double its original forecast. But the company raised its overall revenue forecast by only about $40 million, Reuters notes. Overall membership at the end of the second quarter was up 21 percent from last year.
Shell to Cut 6,500 Jobs
Royal Dutch Shell announced Thursday it will cut about 6,500 jobs and capital investment this year in preparation for a “prolonged downturn” in oil prices. Operating costs will be cut by $4 billion and capital investment plans will be lowered by $7 billion this year. The company’s second-quarter net income fell 25 percent to $3.99 billion, and it is forecasting the current downturn in oil prices could last for several years.
The plane debris found on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean did in fact come from a flaperon of a Boeing 777, and authorities believe that is a strong indication it is part of the wreckage of the missing Flight MH370. NBC News reported the piece found, which helps pilots control an aircraft in flight, was sent to the offices of France’s crash investigation agency to verify if it is indeed from the Malaysian airline plane. French officials said it may be a week or longer before the final determination can be made. The Malaysian aircraft went missing in March of 2014.
Highway Spending Bill Passes
A short-term highway spending bill, which covers only three months, passed both houses of Congress and is on the President’s desk for his signature. The lawmakers are trying to come to an agreement on a long-term deal but argue over how to pay for the spending involved. The Senate did pass a bill that would continue highway spending programs for six years but that bill is not expected to pass the House as written. They have until October now to come to an agreement. It has been six years since Congress has been able to pass a long-term highway spending bill.