Unemployment rate dips to 7.5%
The number of unemployed persons held at about 11.7 million, according to data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The unemployment rate dipped slightly from 7.6% to 7.5%. A year ago, the unemployment rate was 8.1%.
Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 165,000 in April, with gains in professional and business services, food services and drinking places, retail trade and health care.
Employment changed little over the month in construction, with small offsetting movements in the residential and nonresidential components. Construction gained an average of 27,000 jobs per month over the prior six months.
Manufacturing employment was unchanged in April.
Trex posts sales and earnings gains
Wood-alternative decking giant Trex Co. reported first-quarter net sales of $107.9 million, up 12% from net sales of $96.1 million in the first quarter of last year.
Net income for the quarter increased to a record $21.6 million, up from $12.3 million in the year-ago period.
“Our new record reflects the continual enhancements we have been making to our product platform, operations, distribution network and marketing strategies,” said Ronald Kaplan, CEO.
Railing options have helped boost sales he said, as has a good-better-best railing and decking lineup.
The company expects second-quarter sales to post a 10% gain over the same period last year.
Newell Rubbermaid reports decline in Q1 income
Newell Rubbermaid reported first-quarter net income of $54.2 million, down 31.7% from $79.3 million. Sales for the quarter were $1.241 billion, down 0.8%.
During the earnings release, the company announced plans to sell its Hardware and Teach Platform business.
Home Solutions segment net sales for the first quarter were $338.9 million, a 3.7% increase compared with the prior-year quarter. Core sales in the segment increased 3.9%. The solid growth was primarily driven by strong results from Rubbermaid. Operating income in the Home Solutions segment was $34.1 million, or 10.1% of sales, as compared with $30.9 million, or 9.5% of sales, in the prior year. The improvement was primarily driven by increased sales volume and Project Renewal-related cost savings.
Tools segment net sales for the first quarter were $188.6 million, a 1.0% decline compared with the prior-year quarter. Operating income in the Tools segment was $18.7 million, or 9.9% of sales, compared with $28.7 million, or 15.1% of sales, in the prior year. The decline in margin was largely driven by input cost inflation and continued increased investments in strategic SG&A, the company said.
Newell Rubbermaid brands include Sharpie, Rubbermaid, Irwin, Lenox, Parker, Waterman, Levolor and Calphalon, among others.