WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation's unemployment rate dropped to 9.4 percent last month, its lowest level in 19 months. That was because more people found jobs, but also because some people gave up on their job searches. The Labor Department says employers added 103,000 jobs in December, an improvement from November but far below most analysts' expectations.
General Motors said Thursday that it has licensed technology from a government laboratory that promises to improve battery performance in its Volt electric car by 50 percent to 100 percent. GM and LG Chem have agreed to license the technology, which consists of a mix of materials, from the Argonne National Laboratory.
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Taiwan's AsusTek Computer Inc. plans to start selling an array of tablet computers — including hybrids that sit somewhere between a laptop and a tablet — with the hope that variety is the best weapon against Apple Inc.'s iPad and other similar gadgets. Asus chairman Jonney Shih unveiled the new devices Tuesday ahead of the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
SUMTER, S.C. (AP) — A Chinese candy maker is building a new $6 million factory in Sumter. Officials for Au'Some says they hope to hire 120 workers over the next five years. The Hong Kong company makes candy for retailers like Walmart, Target, Walgreens and CVS. The Sumter factory is Au'Some's first facility in North America, and the company wants to have it open by the end of the summer.
Ford Motor Co. saw the biggest percentage point gain in U.S. market share in 2010, while Toyota Motor Co. saw the biggest loss. These are the 10 largest car companies by U.S. sales and their share gains or losses in 2010. A percentage point of share equaled about 115,800 cars and trucks in 2010. Company Total 2010 sales 2010 U.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Semiconductor companies are whipping up a new generation of chips to bring richer video and better battery life to personal computers and help them hold off threats from tablets and increasingly powerful smart phones. Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc., whose processors are the "brains" of PCs, are unveiling significant changes to their chips' designs at this week's International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The government says car companies paid $9.1 million in fines last year for failing to comply with federal fuel efficiency requirements. Six companies had to pay fines to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Jaguar-Land Rover paid the largest fine of $3.2 million.
NEW YORK (AP) — A surprising jump in hiring is swaying U.S. stock and bond markets. An early decline in stock index futures was trimmed after payroll processor ADP reported employers added 297,000 jobs last month. The jump in payrolls from the ADP survey came in far above the 100,000 rise economists expected.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Samsung Group said Wednesday it plans to carry out record investment and hiring this year as it seeks to extend global dominance in products including flat screen televisions and memory chips. South Korea's top business conglomerate is spearheaded by Samsung Electronics Co.
DETROIT (AP) — A surge in car and truck buying that began in October is expected to lift last year's U.S. auto sales above a dismal 2009. Customers gained confidence in the economy, loans were easier to get and deals got sweeter. Ford, General Motors, Toyota and other car companies will report 2010 and December sales throughout the day on Tuesday.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Orders to U.S. factories are expected to strengthen in November outside of transportation in a further sign that manufacturers will be cranking up production in anticipation of greater spending by businesses and consumers in 2011. Economists at JPMorgan Chase are forecasting that factory orders will post a 0.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. Senator is asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate "misleading safety claims and deceptive practices" in the selling of new football helmets and reconditioning of used ones. In a letter dated Tuesday — a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press on Monday night — Sen.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Seven insurance companies have sued Toyota Motor Corp. in an attempt to recover money paid to cover crashes they blame on sudden acceleration. The insurers cite data that blames 725 crashes on the problem and fault the Japanese automaker for failing to equip its cars with an override system that would cause a car to idle if the brake and gas were deployed simultaneously.
WASHINGTON (AP) — When salmonella-laced peanut products sickened hundreds during a recent scare, President Barack Obama said consumers should be able to have confidence that their government will keep peanut butter-eating children safe — and that included his daughter Sasha. "That's what Sasha eats for lunch probably three times a week," Obama said then.
HAMMOND, Ind. (AP) — A Hammond Sanitary District official says a greasy white substance backing up through basement drains into homes appears to be linked to operations at a Unilever soap factory. Unilever and Hammond city officials haven't determined the cause of the Friday backup but the district's pretreatment coordinator, Jeff Massey, said during a public meeting Monday night that sewage apparently backed up after animal fat and coconut oil from the plant solidified and clogged sewer lines.
HONG KONG (AP) — China's manufacturing boom eased off slightly in the last month of the year, a survey said, reflecting tightening policies taken by authorities to keep inflation in check. The state-affiliated China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said that its purchasing managers index, or PMI, dipped to 53.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Manufacturers likely increased output at the same pace in December as the previous month, notching the 17th straight month of growth. The Institute for Supply Management's index of manufacturing activity is expected to remain unchanged at 56.6. Any reading above 50 indicates that the sector is growing.
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — A spokesman for an auto parts supplier says four people have been injured in an explosion at the company's plant in Virginia. Jim Burke, spokesman for Federal-Mogul Corp. in Southfield, Mich., said the injured were employees of a local contractor that was conducting routine duct work cleaning.
DETROIT (AP) — This was the year General Motors Co. and Nissan made good on their promise to bring mass-produced electric cars to the market. But don't count on seeing one in traffic soon. Sales so far have been microscopic and they're likely to stay that way for some time because of limited supplies.
MILAN (AP) — Fiat split its industrial vehicle business from its automaking unit on Monday, unwinding two vastly divergent businesses with the goal of creating a global automotive company with Chrysler LLC. As Fiat Industrial began its trading life as an independent entity, opening at euro9 ($12.