US jobs report points to a healthy drop in underemployment
WASHINGTON (AP) — A burst of hiring in April provided reassurance for the U.S. economy after a slow start to the year: Job growth returned to a healthy pace. Unemployment hit a decade low. And the number of part-time workers who want full-time jobs reached its lowest point in nine years. Employers last month added 211,000 jobs, more than double the weak showing in March, the Labor Department said Friday. And the unemployment rate dipped to 4.4 percent from 4.5 percent in March.
How Burger King revealed the hackability of voice assistants
NEW YORK (AP) — Burger King pulled a pretty juicy marketing stunt last month that drew plenty of attention — not just to the Whopper, but also to the intrinsic vulnerabilities of a new type of voice-activated gadget. The fast food chain’s 15-second television ad targeted Google Home, a speaker that can answer questions and control other smart appliances. When an actor in the ad said “OK, Google” and asked a question about the Whopper, Google Home obediently began reading the burger’s ingredients in homes around the country — effectively extending the commercial for however long it took someone to shout “OK, Google, stop!” Google and Wikipedia quickly made fixes to shut it down. Though annoying, the stunt may have done some good by highlighting how easy it is to hijack such devices. (Just imagine a burglar spying a voice assistant and asking it to unlock all the doors.) It could also speed the development of home voice assistants with better security.
US consumer borrowing rises solid $16.4 billion in March
WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans stepped up their borrowing in March, taking out more loans for cars and school. The Federal Reserve reported Friday that total consumer borrowing rose by $16.4 billion, or 5.2 percent, in March, up from a $13.7 billion increase in February and the biggest uptick since November’s $25.5 billion jump.
Yellen says women still face challenges in workplace
PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island (AP) — Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen says that women have made major strides in the workplace in the past 125 years but expressed concern about barriers that are holding women back today. In a speech at Brown University, Yellen cites a recent study that shows that boosting the participation rate of women in the workforce to the same level of men could raise overall U.S. economic output by 5 percent. She says that among the factors that appear to be constraining women include the difficulties they face in trying to combine their careers with responsibilities in the home.
Jury awards record-setting $110.5M in baby powder lawsuit
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A St. Louis jury has awarded a Virginia woman a record-setting $110.5 million in the latest lawsuit alleging that using Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder caused cancer. The jury ruling Thursday night for 62-year-old Lois Slemp, of Wise, Virginia, comes after three previous St. Louis juries awarded a total of $197 million to plaintiffs who made similar claims. Those cases, including the previous highest award of $72 million, are all under appeal. About 2,000 state and federal lawsuits are in courts across the country over concerns about health problems caused by prolonged talcum powder use.
Buffett cuts stake in IBM and shares slide
NEW YORK (AP) — Warren Buffett says he’s sold about a third of the 81 million shares he holds in IBM, sending the stock down sharply in early trading. Buffett bought into IBM when its stock as it was approaching an all-time high, but it’s been in decline since then as Amazon and Microsoft have dominated the cloud.
Feds probe Uber’s use of fake app to stymie city inspectors
DETROIT (AP) — The Justice Department is probing allegations that Uber used phony software to thwart city officials looking at whether the ride-hailing company was following local regulations. The city of Portland, Oregon, said in an April audit report that it was notified of the federal inquiry by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Francisco. Portland says it is cooperating. Uber and the U.S. Attorney’s Office both declined to comment. Reuters and other news outlets have reported that the investigation is a criminal probe currently before a grand jury.
1st large Chinese-made passenger jet makes its maiden flight
SHANGHAI (AP) — The first large Chinese-made passenger jetliner completed its maiden test flight on Friday, a milestone in China’s long-term goal to break into the Western-dominated aircraft market. The takeoff of the C919 brought cheers and applause from hundreds of invited guests at Shanghai Pudong International Airport and was broadcast live on Chinese state television. The jet soon became invisible on a windy and polluted day in Shanghai, which was also in the path of dense sandstorms from the north. After the 1 ½ hour flight was over, the test pilots came down smiling from the plane, wearing orange overalls with the Chinese flag.
US probes complaints of brake problems on Nissan Murano SUVs
DETROIT (AP) — The U.S. government’s highway safety agency is investigating complaints that the brakes can malfunction on some Nissan SUVs. The probe covers about 110,000 Muranos from the 2009 model year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says in documents posted Friday that 58 drivers complained about the problem. One reported a crash with three injuries.
‘Guardians’ sequel blasts off to $17M on opening night
LOS ANGELES (AP) — “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” has rocketed to a $17 million opening night, beating out early showings of the first film. Disney reported the sales estimate for Thursday night preview screenings on Friday. The sequel is the biggest opening night earner of the year so far. The first “Guardians” film was a surprise blockbuster for many, transforming a little-known band of Marvel superheroes into household names. It earned $11.2 million on its opening night.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index climbed 9.77 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,399.29. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 55.47 points, or 0.3 percent, to 21,006.94. The Nasdaq composite jumped 25.42 points, or 0.4 percent, to 6,100.76, which beat a record it set earlier this week.
Benchmark U.S. crude oil jumped 70 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $46.22 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, added 72 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $49.10 barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline rose 2 cents to $1.50 a gallon. Heating oil added 2 cents to $1.44 a gallon. Natural gas jumped 8 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $3.27 per 1,000 cubic feet.
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