Job openings down in April
U.S. employers in April posted the fewest job openings in five months, suggesting hiring will remain sluggish in the months ahead. The Labor Department said Tuesday job openings fell to a seasonally adjusted 3.4 million in April, down from 3.7 million in March. The March figure was the highest in nearly four years. The decline could mean employers are growing more cautious about adding workers in the face of financial turmoil in Europe and slower growth in the United States. Job openings can take one to three months to fill. There were 12.5 million unemployed people in April. That means there was an average of 3.7 people competing for each open job. In a healthy job market, the ratio is around 2 to 1.
GE, Facebook launch health app
Facebook and General Electric launched an Olympics-themed app to get people to share health goals with their friends, from eating better to exercising. Called HealthyShare, the free application gives users health challenges inspired by Olympic hopefuls such as basketball player Kevin Durant, sprinter Michael Johnson and swimmer Summer Sanders. Users can share health and fitness goals they achieved through the app. Goals range from going for a walk to eating healthier or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. The app also includes rudimentary workout challenges from the athletes. The idea is to get people to share fitness goals and inspire their friends to do the same.
GM hits no-waste milestone
General Motors Co. said Tuesday that it's reached a landmark when it comes to keeping stuff out of landfills. The Detroit-based automaker said its 100th global facility, a parts distribution center in Lansing, Mich., has achieved "landfill-free" status. "No materials leave this plant and end up in a landfill," said Mike Robinson, GM's vice president of sustainability and global regulatory affairs. The company said it first reduces waste and then focuses on recycling and reuse. That includes turning scrap cardboard into sound absorbers for vehicle roofs and used tires into air deflectors around radiators in pickup trucks. The automaker said it recycled or reused 90 percent of all waste produced at its plants last year.
Walgreen Co. will pay $6.7 billion in cash and stock to buy a stake in Switzerland-based health and beauty retailer Alliance Boots, a deal that would give global clout to a U.S. drugstore chain struggling with slipping sales in its home market. The combination would create the largest single purchaser of prescription drugs in the world and give Walgreen access to emerging markets like China and Egypt, company officials said Tuesday. However, it also will plant the biggest U.S. drugstore chain in a continent beset by debt worries in Greece, Spain and other nations. But Walgreen said Alliance Boots brings in revenue from some of the most stable countries in Europe. Investors weren't so sure about the deal. Walgreen shares slid 5.85 percent, or $1.87, to close at $30.09.
Spotify goes mobile with radio
The music-subscription company Spotify is joining Pandora, Slacker and Songza in offering a free radio service for mobile devices in the United States. Until now, the company charged people $10 per month to use its mobile app. The free service, which comes with audio ads, is a way for Spotify to entice people to sign up for a paid subscription, which strips out the ads and enables users to choose songs. The new feature is available only on iPhones and iPads for now; apps for other devices require paid subscriptions. Non-payers will be able to listen to genres of music based on similarities to an artist, album, song or playlist they've created within Spotify. They will also be able to give songs a "thumbs-up" for playback on computers later on. -- AP