In a bid to offset the climbing price they pay for jet fuel, airlines have been increasing some fees while introducing new ones. The practice is paying off, according to a government report issued Tuesday, as US airlines took in a staggering $3.5 billion in checked baggage fees alone in 2012. The total represents a 3.8 percent increase over bag fees the previous year and is a new record high. While the existence of many of these fees sparks ire in passengers, the widespread implementation of them across the airline industry gives them no choice but to pay. Tuesday's report buoyed airline investors, with many major US carriers seeing their shares gain more than 1 percent during the day's trading session.
The US Labor Department issued its Jobs Report for April Friday, prompting excitement among investors that pushed the Dow Jones industrial average above 15,000 for the first time ever. According to the report, the economy gained a healthy 165,000 jobs last month, easily ahead of the 140,000 projected by a group of economists in a recent Bloomberg survey. But the good news didn't stop with April job creation, as the Labor Dept. also revised its figures for March and February. The agency said that 138,000 jobs were created in March, instead of the originally reported 88,000; and that February brought a whopping 332,000 jobs, making it the best month for US job creation since 2010 when the US Census Bureau boosted the figures with temporary hires.
The United States Federal Reserve on Wednesday revealed its revamped, hi-tech $100 bill which will go into circulation beginning October 8th. The new bill has a number of features designed to make it harder to counterfeit and help retailers spot fakes at the register. The Fed has been working on the new $100 bill for several years, but production delays forced the agency to move back the release of the new bill by three years. The agency revealed the bill on its website Wednesday, breaking down all the new security features and including a pic of the bill, which can be seen above.
Japan's Toyota Motor Company revealed Friday that it will create some 750 new jobs in Georgetown, Kentucky when it moves some of the production of its Lexus brand of luxury cars there. At a press conference, the automaker's President Akio Toyoda noted that the brand was founded in the US, and it is “only fitting” that the production is coming back to the US. The Georgetown plant currently produces Camry, Camry Hybrid, Avalon Hybrid and Venza models, but the plant will be expanded and by 2015 should me making an additional 50,000 vehicles, all Lexus models.
Troubled Plano, Texas-based retailer JC Penney is going back to the future, bringing back former CEO Mike Ullman to replace outgoing CEO Ron Johnson, who replaced Ullman just over 17 months ago. Johnson's dismissal comes after news that the company's sales fell 25 percent last year, a decline many are blaming on Johnson's unorthodox no-sale strategy and partnerships with designers. Investors apparently approved of the move, as shares of the company spiked 10 percent in Monday trading on news of the dismissal, though they fell again Tuesday.
Tesla Motors reported Monday it is expecting to report its first-ever quarterly profit in an amendment to guidance offered late last month. In its previous estimates, the company was expecting to sell 4,500 of its Model S sedan during the three months ended Sunday, but sales exceeded the 4,750 mark on Saturday. Should the profit come in as Tesla now expects, it would be a vast improvement over the company's results from the final quarter of 2012, when the electric car maker suffered a net loss of $75 million on just $306 million in sales. Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk also intrigued investors with a late-Sunday Tweet promising news this week that would be “arguably more important.” As a result, shares of the startup surged more than 21 percent early in the trading day Monday, though the gain subsided and shares were just under 16 percent with about an hour left in the session.
The US Commerce Department reported on Wednesday that US manufacturers enjoyed a sizable jump in orders for durable goods in February. The increase in durable goods, or those meant to last at least three years, offset a disappointing reading on business spending, indicating that the sector continues to grow at a moderate pace. According to Wednesday's report, bookings for long-lasting goods surged 5.7 percent last month, more than reversing the 3.8 percent decline reported for the previous month. February's gain easily surpassed the expectations of analysts in a recent Reuters poll, who projected, on average, a rise of 3.8 percent.
The US Labor Department reported Monday that jobless rates rose in half of the 50 US states plus the District of Columbia in January, though the rates were still below the national average (7.9 percent at the time) in nearly half of those states. The agency also noted that jobless rates declined in just eight states while it remained steady in the other seventeen. Among the 50 US states, North Dakota continued to enjoy the lowest unemployment rate, at just 3.3 percent, while California and Rhode Island tied for the highest at 9.8 percent. Nevada, which had the highest jobless rate in December, saw its unemployment rate fall 2.3 percent to 9.7 percent, placing it just behind California and Rhode Island.
The US Labor Department reported late Thursday that initial claims for jobless benefits fell for a third straight week last week while the four-week moving average slipped to its lowest level in over five years. The news adds to a string of recent economic data that shows the recovery is picking up steam. Earlier Thursday, a report showed that producer prices gave gone up, but only because of the recent rise in gasoline prices, easing fears that tax increases that went into effect this year may slow down consumer spending and drive up prices. Recent reports have painted an improving picture in retail sales, manufacturing, the long-beleaguered housing market and even the jobs front.
The US Commerce Department reported Friday that US wholesale inventories surged in January, rising by the most in over a year as companies shrugged off their concerns about a pullback in the face of automatic spending cuts which were activated on the 1st of this month. According to the report, industrial stockpiles rose 1.2 percent during the first month of the year, marking the biggest such gain since December 2011. The news was not all so encouraging, however, as sales of non-durable goods declined, accounting for at least a part of the gain in inventories. Nonetheless, the gain outpaced the expectations of all the analysts that took part in a recent Bloomberg News survey.