November 18, 2016

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1.

VW to cut 23,000 jobs in Germany

Volkswagen is cutting about 23,000 jobs in Germany over five years to cut costs as it struggles to recover from its diesel emissions cheating scandal. The company said Friday that the plan would save $3.9 billion a year. The job cuts will come through attrition rather than layoffs, and affect 7 percent of VW’s German workforce. The plan is part of a deal with powerful representatives of German workers who make vehicles under the VW brand and have resisted layoffs. Herbert Diess, the Volkswagen executive in charge of VW brand cars, said the company needed to "quickly earn more money and arm itself" for the automobile industry’s shift to electric vehicles. [The New York Times]

2.

Yellen says rate hike could come ‘relatively soon’

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Thursday that an interest rate hike "could well become appropriate relatively soon" if incoming economic data reinforces recent evidence that employment is gaining strength and inflation is edging up to the Fed’s 2 percent target rate. Yellen, in remarks to Congress’ Joint Economic Committee, reiterated Fed indications that any rate increases would be "gradual." Yellen did not allude to expectations that President-elect Donald Trump plans to cut taxes and boost spending on infrastructure projects, which investors expect to speed up inflation and economic growth. [Bloomberg, Reuters]

3.

AOL to lay off 5 percent of its workforce

Verizon Communications’ AOL digital media company will lay off 500 employees, or 5 percent of its workforce, as the communications giant consolidates its operations after recent acquisitions, a person familiar with the matter said Thursday. The cuts will mostly come in administration jobs, such as human resources, finance, and marketing, as the company shifts more resources to AOL mobile, video, and data services. Verizon bought AOL for $4.4 billion in July 2015 in what was seen as a bet on mobile video and targeted ads as a source of new income as wireless market yields slow. [Reuters]

4.

New jobless claims fall to 43-year low

First-time jobless claims dropped by 19,000 to 235,000 last week, the lowest number of Americans to file for unemployment benefits in any week since 1973, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Analysts on average expected claims to inch up to 257,000. Continuing claims for benefits fell to fewer than 2 million, a 16-year low. As the job market tightens and employers balk at firing people, new jobless claims have remained below 300,000 — the level seen as indicating a healthy labor market — for 89 straight weeks, the longest such streak in 46 years. [Bloomberg]

5.

Tesla and SolarCity shareholders approve merger

Tesla Motors shareholders on Thursday overwhelmingly approved the electric car maker’s proposed acquisition of SolarCity, a solar-panel maker. SolarCity shareholders also strongly backed the deal, which is valued at $2 billion. Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk is the chairman and largest stockholder of both companies, and he hopes the merger will create a one-stop source for green technology for their cars and homes. "I think your faith will be rewarded," Musk told Tesla shareholders, promising them that "some really amazing stuff will be coming out."

[Los Angeles Times]