Unemployment rises back up to 9.0%
The unemployment rate in April edged up to 9.0%, compared with 8.8% in March 2011.
Construction employment was about unchanged in April, according to Friday’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This industry has shown little net movement since early 2010, after having fallen sharply during the prior three years.
Overall, the economy added 244,000 jobs in April, a higher gain than anticipated by analysts.
The latest employment situation shows 13.7 million unemployed persons in the United States, about the same as last month’s measure. The number of persons unemployed for less than five weeks increased by 242,000 in April. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) declined by 283,000 to 5.8 million; their share of unemployment declined to 43.4%.
Recall issued on sheet sanders
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSP), in cooperation with importer One World Technologies of Anderson, S.C., is recalling approximately 300,000 Ryobi 1/4th sheet sanders due to a risk of injury.
Pieces of the fan can break off from the fan assembly and be ejected from the product, posing a laceration hazard to consumers, the CPSC announcement said.
The firm has received 31 reports of broken fan pieces being ejected from the sander, including two reports of minor lacerations.
The sanders, which were made in China, were sold from June 2005 to August 2010 through Home Depot, Gardner, Tap Enterprises, Direct Tools Factory Outlets, Amazon.com and ToolKing.com.
Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled sander and contact One World Technologies to receive a free replacement sander. More information on the recall is available at ryobitools.com.
Sales rise at Central Garden & Pet
Central Garden & Pet, a leading supplier of seeds, pottery, insecticides and other outdoor living products, reported net sales of $485.7 million for its second fiscal quarter, an increase of 10% over sales of $441.9 million in the same period a year ago. Strong net sales growth in its garden products segment contributed significantly to the overall increase, the company said.
Net income for the quarter, which ended March 26, was $31.7 million, compared with $31.6 million in the corresponding period of 2010. The company reported operating income of $59.6 million, compared with operating income of $60.5 million in the comparable 2010 period, impacted by rising raw material input costs and the company’s continued strategic investments in marketing and brand building activities.
"Our revenues have continued to grow," said Bill Brown, chairman and CEO. "We are especially pleased with the strong growth demonstrated by our garden business this quarter, led by our premium grass seed and our garden chemical and control products. Although our revenues grew again this quarter, our earnings were impacted by the continued rise in input costs and by our strategic investment in brand building, which enhances consumer awareness of the quality and benefits of our products."
The garden products segment’s branded product sales increased $46.2 million, or 25%, to $231.3 million, and sales of other manufacturers’ products were $29.0 million, a decrease of $5.5 million compared with the second quarter of 2010. The pet products segment’s branded product sales were $186.0 million, an increase of $3.2 million, and sales of other manufacturers’ products were $39.4 million, relatively flat compared with the second quarter of 2010.
Based in Walnut Creek, Calif., Central Garden & Pet is a supplier of lawn, garden and pet products under a variety of brands, including Pennington, Kaytee, Amdro, Sevin, Ironite, Norcal and New England Pottery.