Nation roundup for July 4
June jobs report shows recovery is accelerating
WASHINGTON (AP) — A surprisingly robust job market is energizing the 5-year-old U.S. recovery and driving the economy closer to full health.
Employers added 288,000 jobs in June and helped cut the unemployment rate to 6.1 percent, the lowest since 2008. It was the fifth straight gain above 200,000 — the best such stretch since the late 1990s tech boom.
The stock market signaled its approval. The Dow Jones industrial average surged 92 points to top 17,000 for the first time.
The breadth and consistency of the job growth are striking in part because of how poorly the year began. The economy shrank at a steep 2.9 percent annual rate in the January-March quarter as a harsh winter contributed to the sharpest contraction since the depths of the recession.
Yet employers have shrugged off that setback. They’ve kept hiring.
The unemployment rate dipped from 6.3 percent in May to its lowest level since the financial crisis struck with full force in the fall of 2008, when the Wall Street firm Lehman Brothers went bankrupt.
“This has now become a textbook jobs expansion,” said Patrick O’Keefe, director of economic research at the consultancy CohnReznick. “It is both broad and accelerating.”
Arthur threatens 4th plans along East Coast
KILL DEVIL HILLS, N.C. (AP) — A strengthening Hurricane Arthur forced thousands of vacationers on the North Carolina coast to abandon their Independence Day plans while cities farther up the East Coast rescheduled fireworks displays threatened by rain from the storm.
After passing over or near North Carolina early today, Hurricane Arthur was expected to weaken as it travels northward and slings rain along the East Coast. The annual Boston Pops Fourth of July concert and fireworks show was rescheduled for Thursday because of potential heavy rain from Arthur, while fireworks displays in New Jersey and Maine were postponed until later in the weekend.
Forecasters expect Arthur to strengthen to a Category 2 storm with winds of 96 mph or more by the time it passes early today over or near the Outer Banks — a 200-mile string of narrow barrier islands with about 57,000 permanent residents.
“We don’t know for sure if the exact center of Arthur is going to pass over land or not. The chances have been increasing for that to occur with the last couple of forecasts,” said Rick Knabb, the director of the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami.
Subaru recalls 660K vehicles for brake rust
DETROIT (AP) — Subaru is recalling more than 660,000 cars and SUVs because the brake lines can rust and leak fluid, and that can mean it will take longer to stop the vehicles. For about half the vehicles, it’s the second recall for the same problem. Affected are 2005 through 2009 Legacy and Outback, the 2008 through 2014 Impreza and the 2009 through 2013 Forester.
It covers vehicles sold or registered in Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C., where salt is used to clear roads in the winter.
Subaru says in documents posted by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that salty water can splash onto the brake lines through a gap in the fuel tank protector, causing rust.
If they leak fluid, it could take longer to stop the car and increase the risk of a crash.
Dealers will inspect the lines and replace them if leaks are found. They’ll also apply anti-corrosion wax.
No crashes or injuries have been reported due to the problem, and Subaru is taking the action as a precaution, spokesman Michael McHale said in an email.
About 274,000 Legacy and Outback vehicles were recalled for the same problem in March of last year. The safety agency says additional areas have to be rust-proofed in those cars.
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