Global Glance: US adds 235K jobs, unemployment rate falls to 4.7 percent; Central banker says China’s debt ‘too high’

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

US adds 235K jobs, unemployment rate falls to 4.7 pct.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers added a robust 235,000 jobs in February and wages rose at a healthy clip, a sign the economy remains on solid footing after nearly eight years of recovery. The Labor Department says the unemployment rate fell to a low 4.7 percent from 4.8 percent. More Americans launched job searches, lifting the proportion of Americans working or looking for work to the highest level in nearly a year. The healthy job growth, decent pay gains and falling unemployment rate will make the Federal Reserve even more likely to raise short-term rates when it meets next week. The job gains were boosted by 58,000 new construction jobs, the most in nearly a decade. That figure was likely boosted by unseasonably warm weather in much of the nation. Read more

Central banker: China’s debt ‘too high,’ must be controlled

BEIJING (AP) — China’s central bank governor said Friday the country needs to get soaring corporate debt under control but its economy and currency are stable and the decline in its foreign exchange reserves is no cause for concern. Zhou Xiaochuan’s comments at a news conference held during China’s national legislature follows warnings a rapid rise in debt could lead to financial trouble. Beijing is trying to reduce reliance on credit and to clear away debts of state companies but private sector analysts say it needs to move faster. Read more

European Central Bank: Global politics now the bigger risk

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The head of the European Central Bank says global political events like Brexit and turbulent election campaigns in Europe pose increasing risks for the economy. Mario Draghi said that the international arena has become more troubling since last year even as the 19-country eurozone’s economy continues to heal from its own home-grown and drawn-out economic difficulties. Risk factors Draghi mentioned include the raft of European elections this year in France, the Netherlands and Germany that will give right-wing candidates opposed to the EU and euro membership a chance to test their support. And Britain is due to start its official divorce talks with the European Union within weeks. Read more

China auto sales slowing, dented by tax increase

BEIJING (AP) — China’s auto sales growth decelerated in the first two months of the year following a sales tax increase. Sales of sedans, minivans and SUVs rose 6.3 percent from a year earlier to 3.8 million units, down from December’s 9.1 percent growth, an industry group, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, reported Friday. Total vehicle sales, including trucks and buses, rose 8.8 percent to 4.4 million. Sales in the world’s biggest auto market by number of units sold rose 15 percent last year after a 10 percent sales tax on small-engine vehicles was cut by half. The government restored part of that in January, raising the tax from 5 percent to 7.5 percent. Read more

Man picked to fix AIG will step down after massive loss

NEW YORK (AP) — Three weeks after AIG reported a titanic loss, the person chosen to turn things around at one of the world’s largest insurance companies is stepping down. AIG said Thursday that CEO Peter Hancock, appointed less than three years ago, will remain as the company’s chief executive until a successor is found. American International Group Inc. reported a fourth-quarter loss of $3.04 billion on Feb. 14, and company shares plunged 9 percent in one day. It was its worst performance since the New York company nearly collapsed in 2008 at the height of the financial crisis. AIG required a $180 billion bailout to prevent a total implosion. The Wall Street Journal reported late last month, after the fourth-quarter loss, that the board of directors at AIG would take up the matter of whether Hancock needed to be replaced. Read more

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