N.J. governor signs sick-leave legislation

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed a bill Wednesday that requires employers to offer workers paid sick leave.

Murphy embraced the law as part of a campaign pledge to push the state in a more liberal direction.

“We are continuing to prove — and we are obsessed to prove — that economic progress can’t be made without social progress and that social progress cannot be achieved without economic progress,” he said.

New Jersey is the 10th state, along with the District of Columbia, to enact sick-leave legislation.

Under the law, employers are required to provide one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Workers may earn and carry forward up to 40 hours of sick leave a year.


An estimated 1.2 million workers — many in food and personal-care services — are expected to benefit from the law, which is set to take effect Oct. 29.


— Associated Press


Online sales hit record $100 billion in quarter

U.S. consumers spent a record $100 billion online in the first quarter, helped by holiday promotions, Adobe Analytics said Wednesday, highlighting the ongoing switch to Web retailers from brick-and-mortar stores.

Online sales rose 14.1 percent from the year-ago quarter, boosted by sales for Presidents’ Day and Martin Luther King Jr. Day, according to the report.

“This continued fast-paced growth in online spending suggests that consumer confidence remains high,” Sid Kulkarni, manager for Adobe Digital Insights, said in a blog post.


Year-round discounts showed little signs of change during the first quarter. “We’re seeing a slowdown in spending in the days just before a key shopping holiday, and then a boost when the sales begin,” Kulkarni said, suggesting that “consumers are waiting to compare retailers’ deals, and then spending big when the prices dip.”


— Reuters

Also in Business

U.S. businesses added 204,000 workers last month, another sign of strength in the nation’s labor market and economy. Payroll processor ADP said Wednesday that hiring was strong across many industries, led by professional and business services, health and education and restaurants and hotels. The ADP survey has shown monthly job growth of 200,000 or more for six consecutive months. ADP compiles hiring data from millions of companies that are clients of its payroll services.


Ford is expanding a recall of full-size vans to fix wiring problems that could cause fires, and it is warning drivers to park the vans outside until they are repaired. On Wednesday, the automaker added 26,000 Transit vans from model years 2015 through 2017 to an October recall, bringing the total to close to 100,000 in North America. The recall covers vans with a trailer tow computer module. Water can enter the module and cause corrosion, leading to an electrical short and greater fire risk even if the ignition is off. Ford knows of two fires in Canada but no injuries.


North Dakota cannot ban the North Carolina-based private security firm TigerSwan from the state because it isn't licensed, a judge ruled. The Private Investigative and Security Board sued TigerSwan last June, alleging that the company operated illegally in the state during protests of the Dakota Access oil pipeline. TigerSwan was hired by pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners to handle security as pipe was laid. Judge John Grinsteiner rejected the board's request to ban the firm. He has yet to rule on whether the firm operated illegally in the state and may be subject to fines.

Taco Bell's new Nacho Fries were a hit with diners. Still, sales growth at its parent company, Yum Brands, was weaker than expected, hurt by a chicken shortage at KFC restaurants in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Overall, sales rose 1 percent at Yum's established restaurants worldwide in the first quarter, far below the 1.9 percent growth analysts expected. Sales rose
2 percent at established KFC stores and 1 percent at Taco Bell and Pizza Hut stores

— From news services

Coming today

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

8:30 a.m.: Labor Department releases first-quarter productivity data.

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

10 a.m.: Institute for Supply Management releases its service sector index for April.

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