ECONOMY
National debt eclipses $22 trillion for record

The national debt has topped $22 trillion for the first time.

The Treasury Department’s daily statement shows that total outstanding public debt stands at $22.01 trillion. It stood at $19.95 trillion when President Trump took office Jan. 20, 2017.

The debt figure has been rising at a faster pace after passage of Trump’s $1.5 trillion tax cut in December 2017 and action by Congress last year to increase spending on domestic and military programs.

The national debt is the total of the annual budget deficits. The Congressional Budget Office projects this year’s deficit will be $897 billion.

— Associated Press

LABOR
U.S. job openings increased in December

U.S. employers posted the most open jobs in December in the nearly two decades records have been kept, evidence that the job market is strong despite the challenges facing the economy.

The Labor Department said Tuesday that job openings jumped 2.4 percent in December to 7.3 million.

Tuesday’s data also showed that employers boosted hiring in December, while the number of people who quit remained unchanged at a healthy level of about 3.5 million.

The industries with the biggest increases in job openings include those with mostly lower-paying jobs. Restaurants and hotels posted more than 1 million jobs, 84,000 more than in November. Health-care job postings rose 79,000 to 1.2 million.

Professional and business services openings rose 82,000 to 1.34 million. Manufacturing-job openings fell 67,000 to 428,000.

— Associated Press

TECHNOLOGY
Senators seek to block T-Mobile, Sprint deal

Seven Democratic U.S. senators and independent Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday urged the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission to reject the proposed $26 billion merger between T-Mobile and Sprint.

The signatories to a letter making the appeal include Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Cory Booker (N.J.). The deal is “likely to raise prices for consumers, harm workers, stifle competition, exacerbate the digital divide, and undermine innovation,” they wrote.

A U.S. House panel is to hold a hearing Wednesday on the merger.

Separately, T-Mobile chief executive John Legere defended the merger in written testimony released Tuesday ahead of the House hearing. He said the company does not “use Huawei or ZTE network equipment in any area of our network” and will “never” use equipment from the Chinese firms in the high-speed 5G network.

He said the merger will lead to lower prices and more U.S. jobs.

— Reuters

Also in Business

FedEx Logistics is establishing a headquarters in downtown Memphis. Chief executive Richard W. Smith and Gov. Bill Lee (R) said Tuesday that the shipping giant FedEx is moving some of its operations into a building formerly occupied by the Gibson Guitar factory. Smith said the building will house 680 workers, including 350 new positions. Smith said the rest will be workers brought from other locations after operations are consolidated in the new facility. The company plans to move into the building in April 2020.

D omestic oil production levels will reach new heights this year and next, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said Tuesday. The agency said it expects the United States to pump 12.4 million barrels of crude a day in 2019 and 13.2 million barrels a day in 2020. The January average was 12 million barrels a day, up 90,000 from December. Most of the increase is expected to come from Texas and New Mexico. U.S. benchmark crude is expected to cost less than $55 a barrel this year and $58 next year, down from $65 in 2018. Internationally traded oil is expected to cost $61 a barrel this year and $62 next year, down from $71 in 2018

The European conglomerate JAB Holding is seeking a majority stake in Coty, which makes CoverGirl, Max Factor and Hugo Boss brand cosmetics and fragrances. JAB is offering to buy existing stock from shareholders at $11.65 per share, a 20 percent premium on the stock's closing price Monday. JAB hopes to buy as many as 150 million shares to boost its stake in Coty from 40 percent to 60 percent. The proposal is awaiting consideration by Coty's board of directors.

— From news reports

COMING WEDNESDAY

8:30 a.m.: Labor Department releases consumer price index for January.