U.S. hiring dropped in December

U.S. employers cut back sharply on hiring in December, particularly industries slammed by the coronavirus pandemic, such as restaurants and hotels, as infections soared and governments responded with tighter restrictions.

The number of available jobs rose slightly and layoffs fell, according to the Labor Department’s Tuesday report, known as the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS.

The report provides more granular detail about the job market than the government’s monthly employment figures.

Employers cut hiring 6.6 percent in December, to 5.5 million, the report said. Roughly three-quarters of the decline occurred in a category that includes restaurants, bars, hotels, casinos, concert halls and other entertainment venues. Warehousing and shipping firms also slashed hiring.

— Associated Press


Eli Lilly CFO resigns over relationship

Eli Lilly has replaced its chief financial officer, who resigned after an investigation into a personal relationship that violated company policy.

Josh Smiley stepped down as senior vice president and CFO and will leave the company, the drugmaker said Tuesday, after it learned of “allegations of an inappropriate personal relationship” between Smiley and an employee.

The independent investigation found “consensual though inappropriate personal communications” between Smiley and some employees and behavior that demonstrated poor judgment, the company said.

Lilly said Smiley’s behavior wasn’t tied to business matters or financial controls.

— Associated Press


Daimler aims for zero emissions in trucks

Daimler Trucks could have a full line of zero-emission commercial vehicles ready by 2027, ahead of most proposed deadlines for phasing out internal combustion engines. But deploying them will depend on infrastructure investments that have not yet been made, Martin Daum, who will lead Daimler Trucks into a planned spinoff this year, told Reuters in an interview.

Shifting commercial trucks to fuel cells or batteries will require mass production of hydrogen and significant investments in electric-charging infrastructure, Daum said.

Daimler Trucks is the world’s largest commercial truck maker, with significant shares of the North American and European markets.

— Reuters

Also in Business

Walt Disney Co. is closing Blue Sky Studios, an animation company it acquired with the purchase of Fox’s entertainment assets two years ago. The operation will wind down over the next two months, eliminating about 450 positions, Disney said Tuesday. Blue Sky, founded about 25 years ago, is best known for the “Ice Age” and “Rio” film franchises. Its most recent release was 2019’s “Spies in Disguise.”

General Motors said Tuesday it is extending production cuts at three North American plants until at least mid-March because of the global semiconductor chip shortage, while vehicles at two other factories will only be partially built. GM said it is extending downtime at its U.S. plant in the Kansas City area, its Canadian factory in Ingersoll, Ontario, and its Mexican facility in San Luis Potosi until mid-March, when it will reassess the situation. GM will build but leave incomplete for final assembly vehicles at Wentzville, Mo., and its Mexican plant at Ramos Arizpe.

Boeing raised cash in January by delivering 26 new planes — including 21 Max jets — to airline customers, but it still experienced canceled orders for the plane with a troubled history. Most of the new 737 Max planes went to U.S. airlines. Boeing said Tuesday that Southwest took six Max jets, American and United got five each, and Alaska Airlines received two. But Boeing again failed to deliver any of its larger 787 twin-aisle jets. They have been held up by manufacturing defects in the fuselage. Boeing has a backlog of 3,202 unfilled Max orders, down more than 1,000 from its peak.

— From news reports

Coming today

8:30 a.m.: Labor Department releases consumer price index for January.
2 p.m.: Treasury releases federal budget for January.
Coca-Cola, General Motors, Uber.