The jobs market was slightly stronger than expected during the first three months of this year. Employers added 192,000 jobs last month, and the numbers for January and February were revised higher by 37,000, the U.S. Labor Department said today.
The official unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.7 percent. But a half-million Americans started looking for work last month, and most of them found jobs. The increase in job-seekers is a sign that they are more optimistic about their prospects.
“Nearly every industry is adding to payrolls,” says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. “We are seeing job growth in all business size classes: big companies and small companies.”
What has been holding back many businesses until now is confidence in the future, he says. “They’ve been nervous about taking that risk, but I think we’re at that ‘field of dreams’ moment where they will jump and take that leap of faith,” he adds.
The March report also showed an increase in overtime and average hours worked by employees.
The U.S. government has announced the largest-ever settlement over contaminated waste sites. Anadarko Petroleum will pay $5.15 billion for the cleanup of thousands of contaminated sites nationwide.
About $1 billion will go to the 50 sites in Arizona on the country’s largest American Indian reservation. For decades, uranium ore was mined from the Lukachukai Mountains, providing Navajos with much-needed employment but leaving behind a legacy of death and disease on the reservation.
Uranium waste was thrown over the mountainside and carried by rain across the remote but scenic land used by hikers, anglers, medicine men and Navajo shepherds. The mine sites were eventually abandoned without cleaning up the contaminated waste.
A federal judge in Texas will hear arguments on whether General Motors must tell the owners of 2.6 million recalled vehicles to park them until repairs can be made to their faulty ignitions.
An attorney for some owners of GM cars asked U.S. District Court Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos to grant an emergency order today in Corpus Christi. The owners say the recalled cars could lose power at any moment and expose their occupants to serious injury or death.
GM urged the judge not to intervene and instead let the recall overseen by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proceed. Faulty switches have been linked to 13 deaths.
Tesla wants to eliminate side-view mirrors in cars. The electric car company argues that the change would make its cars more aerodynamic and boost fuel efficiency.
Tesla has joined an auto industry trade group in seeking government approval for the change. The announcement comes days after a ruling by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requiring rear-view cameras in cars weighing less than 10,000 pounds by 2018.
Google-owned Nest Labs has stopped selling its smart smoke and carbon monoxide detector for now. In a letter posted on Nest’s website, CEO Tony Fadell says Nest Protect won’t be sold until a safety problem is fixed. “We’re enormously sorry for the inconvenience caused by this issue,” the statement said.
Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio abcnews.com Twitter: daviesnow