Morning Business Memo
Looking for a summer job? A new report out today says employers in many industries are boosting their hiring plans. “We found that 29 percent of employers say that they plan to hire temporary positions for the summer and that is the highest number we’ve seen since the recession began,” Michael Erwin of employment firm CareerBuilder says. “Surprising to us was manufacturing: 45 percent of employers said that they’re going to bring on summer hires this season.” Some of those jobs could be permanent. “I find that manufacturers are looking to bring on temporary help and turn those into full time help,” Erwin says. A survey released this week also found the jobs outlook has improved for this year’s college graduates.
And here’s a little more sunshine for the economy. More people now qualify for credit cards, even if they don’t have a stellar credit history. TransUnion, the credit reporting firm, says banks are issuing more cards, and fewer people were 90 or more days late on their payments in the first quarter of this year. The number of new cards sent out to consumers last year rose by more than 20 percent versus 2010.
How are everyday low prices working out at JC Penney? Not so well. The retailer reported a stunning 20 percent drop in revenue in the first quarter. Penney made a larger than expected loss. The new strategy put in place by ex-Apple retailing whiz Ron Johnson ended big discounts and coupons in favor of no-sale pricing. The quarterly earnings report is the first clear sign that many consumers don’t like the end of heavy discounting. Johnson told investors Penney’s turnaround has been a lot harder than he expected.
Greece. Its severe problems with debt are still a big worry for investors. Global stocks fell this morning. The Dow Jones index was down again Tuesday. The failure of Greek politicians to agree on a coalition government means new elections will be held next month. Once again this raises the possibility of a messy default with many Greek voters likely to reject austerity required by an international bailout. Greece’s problems are leading to new financial headaches in Italy and Spain. Their 10-year bond rates are now above 6 percent. Compare that with safer bets such as Germany, Britain and the United States, which have 10-year bond yields of less than 2 percent.