Global Glance: Amazon to hire 100,000; India’s low-cost airline to buy 205 Boeing planes

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Here are today’s top business headlines from across the nation and world:

Amazon plans to hire 100,000 over the next 18 months

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon plans to hire 100,000 full-time workers over the next 18 months, highlighting its ambitious expansion plans – and the sharp contrast the e-commerce powerhouse strikes against traditional brick-and-mortar retailers, many of which are cutting jobs and closing stores. Amazon has long been known for investing the money it makes back into its businesses, and it’s doing that with a vengeance. The numbers are generally in line with Amazon’s past hiring plans. Amazon, which had a total of 306,800 full-time and part-time employees globally at the end of September, hired a total of 123,700 globally during the 15 months ended in September, according to quarterly filings. Read more

India’s low-cost airline to buy up to 205 new Boeing planes

NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s low-cost airline Spicejet plans to buy up to 205 next-generation Boeing planes worth $22 billion in a major deal to expand its domestic and international operations. A joint statement by the two companies Friday said the planes booked at the end of 2016 include 100 new Boeing 737 MAX 8s, 42 MAXs, 13 additional 737 MAXs as well as purchase rights for 50 additional planes. SpiceJet is India’s fourth-largest airline by number of passengers carried with a market share of 12.9 percent. It flies more than 300 daily flights to 41 Indian and international destinations. Read more

OPEC chief ‘confident’ countries to meet oil production cuts

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The head of OPEC said on Thursday that he remains “confident” that the cartel and outside members will stick to an agreement to cut production to help boost oil prices. The comments by OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo of Nigeria come as the cartel and nonmembers try to stick to the landmark deal after oil prices collapsed last year. OPEC agreed in late November to cut its production by 1.2 million barrels a day, the first reduction agreed to by the cartel since 2008. Nearly a dozen other countries pledged in December to cut an additional 558,000 barrels a day. Read more

Fed chair Yellen cites income gap among long-term risks

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy is on solid ground now but it faces long-term risks posed by slow productivity growth and the widening income gap, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Thursday. Speaking to a gathering of teachers, Yellen said that she sees no major short-term risks facing the economy. But sputtering productivity growth and growing income inequality are serious long-term concerns. The Fed chair said that both challenges were outside the scope of the Federal Reserve to handle with its interest-rate tools, so it is important for other policymakers to address. Read more

An American fault line: High school-only grads left behind

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans with no more than a high school diploma have fallen so far behind college graduates in their economic lives that the earnings gap between college grads and everyone else has reached its widest point on record. The growing disparity has become a source of frustration for millions of Americans worried that they – and their children – are losing economic ground. College graduates, on average, earned 56 percent more than high school grads in 2015, according to data compiled by the Economic Policy Institute. That was up from 51 percent in 1999 and is the largest such gap in EPI’s figures dating to 1973. Read more

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