Robust hiring in July would mark a fourth straight month of solid gains, an encouraging sign for a U.S. economy that is still struggling with high unemployment. Economists predict that employers added 183,000 jobs — a figure that would show that businesses are growing more confident despite weak economic growth.
Pickup trucks led the charge in July, but strong sales of small cars show that demand for new vehicles is broad — and not slowing down. Car sales grew in the first six months of this year, but not at the blistering pace of trucks and SUVs. Through June, full-size pickups were up 22.5 percent over the year before, while cars were up 5 percent.
U.S. factories revved up production, hired more workers and received a surge of new orders in July, helping them expand at the fastest pace in two years. The gains suggest manufacturing is rebounding and could provide a spark to economic growth.
Chinese manufacturing remained weak last month with small and midsized private businesses suffering a bigger share of the pain, two surveys indicated Thursday, adding to an uncertain outlook for the world's No. 2 economy. The official China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing's manufacturing index strengthened slightly to 50.3 from June's 50.1.
Dell's board rejected CEO Michael Dell's attempt to change the voting rules for his bid to buy the slumping personal computer maker, a decision that is likely to doom the deal. But the endangered buyout could still get a reprieve if Michael Dell and his allies accept a counterproposal that would extend the voting period for a third time and allow a bigger pool of shareholders to cast ballots.
A key government report and a statement from the Federal Reserve made clear Wednesday that the U.S. economy still needs help. The economy grew at a lackluster 1.7 percent annual rate in the April-June quarter, the Commerce Department said. That was better than a revised 1.1 percent rate for the first quarter but still far too sluggish to quickly reduce unemployment.
Sturm, Ruger & Co. Inc. said Wednesday that second-quarter profit soared 79 percent on higher sales. The company's shares, which had already nearly doubled this year, climbed again in after-hours trading. The gun maker credited the "current political environment" for creating strong demand for guns.
A small business star will be born during a commercial break in Super Bowl XLVIII. A company yet to be selected will have its own 30-second ad during the game, giving it the kind of exposure usually reserved for mega-brands like Budweiser and Chevrolet.
America's third-largest automaker said Tuesday that its sales picked up in the second quarter thanks to strong U.S. demand for trucks and SUVs. But the company cut its target for full-year sales and profit, blaming persistent problems as it adds more shifts and ramps up production of vehicles like the Ram pickup and the Jeep Cherokee small SUV.
The government says the U.S. economy grew at a much faster pace last year than previously estimated. The revised growth figures signal a more sustainable economic recovery and help explain why job growth has accelerated this year. The economy expanded at a 2.8 percent annual rate in 2012, up from a previous estimate of 2.2 percent.
German automaker Volkswagen AG says net profit fell 50 percent in the second quarter compared to the previous year, when earnings were boosted by a one-time accounting plus related to its takeover of Porsche. Excluding the Porsche effect, the company's operating earnings rose 1.8 percent in what it called "a difficult market environment," beating analyst estimates.
Ford soon will offer a natural gas version of its F-150 pickup truck, the most popular vehicle in America. The company is the first Detroit automaker with that option in a light-duty pickup truck. Ford, General Motors and Chrysler already have natural gas-powered heavy-duty trucks.
Americans' confidence in the economy fell only slightly in July but stayed close to a 5 ½-year high. The report shows consumers remain upbeat about the outlook for job growth later this year. Consumers' confidence in the economy is watched closely because their spending accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity. It surged in June, coinciding with a stronger job market.
Japan's industrial output fell in June for the first time in five months, the government said Tuesday as it released data highlighting the fragility of the recovery in the world's No. 3 economy. Manufacturing slipped 3.3 percent from the month before in June and was 4.8 percent lower than a year before, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said.
With the return of the Datsun, Nissan is making aggressive moves to expand its markets, and the latest numbers show that business for the automaker has been "pretty good." Nissan's quarterly net profits are on the rise, beating forecasts. But here are three reasons why Japan's number two automaker isn't out of the woods yet.
Four out of five U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream. Survey data exclusive to The Associated Press points to an increasingly globalized U.S. economy, the widening gap between rich and poor, and the loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs as reasons for the trend.
Tennessee is, for a fourth consecutive year, ranked No. 1 in automotive manufacturing strength in the nation. Economic development publication Business Facilities has released its annual ranking, showing Tennessee the top state. Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty called the ranking "an impressive distinction."
The city of Detroit's bankruptcy is an American tragedy and an entirely preventable one. The downward spiral began decades ago when deindustrialization led to depopulation, crime and declining public revenues. Corruption and mismanagement may have exacerbated the problem, but they weren't the root cause.
Just as General Motors is getting a handle on its troubles in Europe, the automaker faces a new challenge in another part of the globe. GM says Japanese automakers are using the weak yen to cut prices in Southeast Asia and Australia, taking a bite out of GM's profits there. Sales tailed off in India as well.
Toyota shrugged off China sales woes to stay the world's top selling automaker for the first half of this year, outpacing U.S. rival General Motors Co., which boasted such bragging rights for seven decades until 2008. Toyota Motor Corp. sold 4.91 million cars and trucks around the world for the January-June period, down 1.2 percent from the previous year, according to numbers it released Friday.
Ford Motor Co. is finally becoming the well-rounded company it aspires to be. Almost bankrupt last decade because it relied too heavily on selling big trucks and SUVs in North America, the second-largest U.S. automaker is now making small and midsize cars at a profit and selling them across the globe.
Orders for long-lasting U.S. factory goods rose in June, bolstered by a surge in aircraft demand and more business spending. The increase suggests companies are more confident in the economy and could boost economic growth in the second half of the year.
Boeing's problems with its 787 have made headlines, but they aren't slowing the big plane maker down. The company's second-quarter earnings topped expectations as it ramped up deliveries of commercial planes like its 737 and its 777. It also raised its full-year profit guidance.
The Chevrolet Impala, long the standard-bearer for mediocre cars from Detroit, has made an amazing turnaround. Consumer Reports magazine has ranked the completely reworked 2014 version of the full-size car as its top U.S. sedan. It's the first time in at least 20 years that a domestic brand has beaten out cars from Germany and Japan.
President Barack Obama said Wednesday that Washington has "taken its eye off the ball" as he pledged a stronger second-term commitment to tackling the economic woes that strain many in the middle class nearly five years after the country plunged into a recession.