Business Highlights: Job gains, Twitter leak
Cooler hiring and milder pay gains could aid inflation fight
WASHINGTON (AP) — America’s employers added a solid 223,000 jobs in December, evidence that the economy remains healthy even as the Federal Reserve is rapidly raising interest rates to try to slow economic growth and the pace of hiring. With companies continuing to add jobs across the economy, the unemployment rate fell from 3.6% to 3.5%, matching a 53-year low. All told, the December jobs report suggested that the labor market may be cooling in a way that could aid the Fed’s fight against high inflation. Last month’s gain was the smallest in two years, and it extended a hiring slowdown for most of 2022.
Europe’s inflation slows again but cost of living still high
LONDON (AP) — Europe ended a bad year for inflation with some relief as price gains eased again. While the cost of living is still painfully high, the slowdown is a sign that the worst might be over for weary consumers. The European Union statistics agency Eurostat said Friday that the consumer price index for the 19 countries that used the euro currency rose 9.2% in December from a year earlier. That’s the slowest pace since August and the second straight decline in inflation since June 2021. Croatia joined the eurozone on Jan. 1. The main driver of inflation has been energy prices, which slowed as natural gas costs slipped from all-time highs this summer. Food price gains held fairly steady.
Global food prices in 2022 hit record high amid drought, war
ROME (AP) — Global prices for food commodities like grain and vegetable oils were the highest on record last year even after falling for nine months in a row. Russia’s war in Ukraine, drought and other factors have driven up inflation and worsened hunger worldwide. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said Friday that its Food Price Index dipped in December. But its data shows that the index hit the highest level last year since FAO records began in 1961. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February created a food crisis because the two countries were leading global suppliers of wheat, barley, sunflower oil and other products, especially to nations in parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia already struggling with hunger.
Twitter leak exposes 235 million email addresses from hack
Personal emails linked to 235 million Twitter accounts hacked some time ago have been exposed according to Israeli security researcher Alon Gal — making millions vulnerable to having their accounts compromised or identities exposed if they have used the site anonymously to criticize oppressive governments, for instance. Gal, co-founder and chief technology officer at cybersecurity firm Hudson Rock, wrote in a LinkedIn post this week that the leak “will unfortunately lead to a lot of hacking, targeted phishing, and doxxing.” While passwords were not leaked, malicious hackers could use the email addresses to try to reset people’s passwords, or guess them if they are commonly used.
Fuel leak in Virginia shuts down part of Colonial Pipeline
NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — The Colonial Pipeline says a diesel fuel leak in Virginia has shut down part of the nation’s largest fuel pipeline, but it is expected to restart Saturday. Colonial spokesperson David Conti says the spill was discovered Tuesday. And while this particular line is shut down, the rest of the system is operating normally. The pipeline supplies roughly half the fuel consumed on the East Coast. The Georgia-based company says crews are fixing equipment that failed at the Witt booster station near Danville. It says the failure caused a spill that was detected during a routine station check and appears to be contained to the property. Patrick De Haan is an analyst with GasBuddy. He said the incident shouldn’t impact gasoline prices.
Teslas of the sea? CES showcases electric hydrofoil boats
Flying cars and self-driving vehicles always get attention at the CES gadget show in Las Vegas, but this year the boats are making bigger waves. Swedish company Candela on Thursday unveiled a 28-foot (8.5-meter) electric-powered hydrofoil speedboat that can cruise for over two hours at 20 knots. California startup Navier tried to outdo its Scandinavian rival by bringing an electric hydrofoil that’s a little bit longer, though Candela is further along in getting its products to customers. Even the recreational motorboat conglomerate Brunswick Corporation tried to make a splash in Nevada this week by showing off its latest electric outboard motor — an emerging segment of its mostly gas-powered business.
Farms settle suits on using immigrants over Black US workers
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Two agriculture businesses in the Mississippi Delta and some Black farm workers have settled the workers’ lawsuits. The suits claim the farms hired white laborers from South Africa and paid them more than the local Black employees for the same type of work. Federal court records show the two lawsuits were settled in December, with terms of the settlements remaining private. Rob McDuff of the Mississippi Center for Justice is one of the attorneys for the workers. He says this discrimination shows “the age-old problem of exploitation of Black labor in America and particularly in the Delta.”
NYC hospitals prep for nurse strike amid negotiations
NEW YORK (AP) — Negotiations to keep 10,000 nurses from walking off the job are heading into a final weekend. Some major New York City hospitals already are bracing for a potential strike by sending ambulances elsewhere and transferring some patients, including vulnerable newborns. The walkout could start early Monday at several private hospitals. They include two of the biggest in the city, the 1,100-bed Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan and the nearly 1,500-bed Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. They and three other hospitals are bargaining with nurses who want raises and more hiring nearly three years into the coronavirus pandemic.
The S&P 500 rose 86.98 points, or 2.3%, to 3,895.08. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 700.53 points, or 2.1%, to 33,630.61. The Nasdaq rose 264.05 points, or 2.6%, to 10,569.29. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 39.61 points, or 2.3%, to 1,792.80.