Hurricanes helped slow small businesses’ hiring in September

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EMPLOYMENT

Sept. hiring slowed for small businesses

Hurricanes that swept the southern United States last month shut many retailers and put hiring on hold at small businesses.

That’s the finding of payroll services provider ADP, which said Wednesday that its small-business customers cut 7,000 jobs during September. Many small and independent retailers in Texas and Florida had to close before and during Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and many suffered significant damage from wind, rain and flooding. That not only slowed hiring but also led to employees at some stores being laid off. The Labor Department reported a jump in applications for unemployment benefits after the storms.

The hurricanes also curtailed overall hiring, ADP said, counting 135,000 new jobs at companies of all sizes, the smallest gain in nearly a year. Without the storm, hiring would probably have been closer to the average monthly pace of 185,000 for the past two years, said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, which helps compile the ADP reports.

Associated Press

LAWSUITS

Judge says ex-wife of Fogle can’t sue Subway

An Indiana judge has thrown out a lawsuit filed by former Subway pitchman Jared Fogle’s ex-wife, which alleged that the fast-food chain continued promoting Fogle as its spokesman even though it knew of his sexual interest in children.

Boone County Judge Matthew Kincaid dismissed Kathleen McLaughlin’s suit Tuesday, citing a “lack of personal jurisdiction.” He said that each of the Subway entities she sued have principal business operations outside Indiana.

McLaughlin alleged that Subway received at least three reports indicating Fogle had a sexual interest in children but failed to take proper action and kept him as its spokesman.

Fogle pleaded guilty in 2015 to trading in child pornography and paying for sex with underage girls. He is serving a 15-year sentence in a federal prison.

Associated Press

TECHNOLOGY

Pew study reveals tech anxiety in U.S.

A survey by the Pew Research Center released Wednesday found widespread anxiety among Americans over the impact of technological change.

Three-quarters of Americans say it is at least “somewhat realistic” that robots and computers will eventually perform most of the jobs now done by people. About the same number worry that such an outcome will have negative consequences, such as worsening inequality.

The survey also found skepticism about the benefits of emerging technologies, with most Americans saying they would not ride in a driverless car.

Thirty percent of respondents said they think self-driving cars will cause a rise in traffic accidents; 31 percent said they will stay roughly the same.

The survey was conducted in May and had 4,135 respondents.

Associated Press

Also in Business

Foxconn, the Taiwanese electronics firm, said Wednesday that it plans to open a display screen factory in Mount Pleasant, Wis., about 25 miles south of Milwaukee. Local officials announced the site after months of negotiations with the company and landowners. The Wisconsin legislature approved a $3 billion incentive package for Foxconn.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet L. Yellen said Wednesday that the Fed is committed to ensuring that the regulations it imposes on community banks are not overly burdensome, noting a proposal last week to simplify requirements governing how much capital these banks must hold. In remarks to a community banking conference in St. Louis, Yellen said the Fed is seeking to increase the number of community banks eligible for less-frequent examinations and loosen requirements for property appraisals on commercial real estate transactions.

From news reports

Coming today

8:30 a.m.: Labor Department releases weekly jobless claims.

8:30 a.m.: Commerce Department releases international trade data for August.

10 a.m.: Freddie Mac releases weekly mortgage rates.

10 a.m.: Commerce Department releases factory orders for August.

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