March unemployment static at 6.7%
The U.S. economy added 192,000 jobs in March, which wasn’t enough to offset last month’s 6.7% unemployment rate. However, at an upwardly revised figure of 197,000, February pulled in more jobs than initially estimated.
According to Bloomberg, March’s figure has pushed private employment past the pre-recession peak for the first time.
The total number of unemployed persons was essentially unchanged at 10.5 million in March, as was the number of long-term unemployed at 3.7 million. Both measures have shown little movement since December of last year, though the number of long-term unemployed is down by 837,000 over the year.
The industry with the biggest jobs gain was professional and business services, which added 57,000 jobs.
Construction edged up by 19,000 jobs, while industries like manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing changed little.
The recent progress in the job market might push the Federal Reserve to reduce its stimulus, though interest rates may stay low for some time.
Former Home Depot exec joins Office Depot
Former Home Depot executive Troy Rice has joined Office Depot as EVP retail as the office products company continues to build out its senior leadership team in the wake of its merger with OfficeMax.
Rice replaces Juan Guerrero and will report directly to Roland Smith, chairman and CEO of Office Depot.
On Rice’s resume are 16 years in positions of increasing responsibility at Home Depot, culminating in the role of division president, Northern Division, in which he held full operational responsibility for Home Depot’s largest division, with more than $24 billion of annual revenue.
Most recently, Rice was with Toys “R” Us for eight years.
“Troy is an accomplished executive who has focused his career on improving operational performance and the customer experience in multi-unit retail stores,” said Smith. “His 20-plus years of experience in retail operations and his omnichannel orientation will enable him to make immediate and significant contributions to a number of Office Depot’s 2014 critical priorities.”
“Office Depot has the exciting opportunity of bringing two great brands together in a way that provides the greatest benefit for our customers,” Rice said. “I look forward to applying my experience and energy to this challenge and to making a significant positive impact.
Rice, 51, earned a Bachelor of Business Administration and Finance from Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Ga.
Nest suspends smoke-alarm sales
Nest Labs, the makers of the Nest Protect fire alarm and smoke detector, say the high-tech, home-of-the-future-type product could get confused, causing safety problems for homeowners.
The company, which was purchased by Google for $3.2 billion earlier this year, is suspending sales of the product until the problem is solved.
In a letter to customers, Nest explained that under the wrong conditions the alarm could interpret certain movements as the signal to stop emitting alarm sounds.
The idea behind the noise cut-off function — known as the "Nest wave" — was to allow homeowners to easily turn off the alarm in the event of a non-threatening smoke situation, such as the burning of toast in the kitchen. It was the type of user-friendly, high-tech, smart-home feature that encouraged Google to pay $3.2 billion for the company earlier this year.
Nest is founded by a former Apple designer Tony Fadell, credited with playing a major role in developing various Apple products.
In a letter to the Nest community, Fadell said the problem with the Nest Wave was discovered first by Nest. He said the product received no complaints, but the company puts safety first.
He added: "… The fact that it could even potentially happen is extremely important to me, and I want to address it immediately. We feel that the best and safest thing to do is to immediately disable the Nest Wave feature to resolve the issue and remove any safety concerns. While we fix Nest Wave, we have also halted sales of all new Nest Protect alarms to ensure no one buys an alarm that needs an immediate update."
Nest’s original product is a high-tech thermostat.