Thirty-eight states added jobs in April, up from 33

Payrolls increased in 38 states in April, led by Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York, indicating the recovery in the labor market is becoming more broad-based.

Employers in Ohio boosted staff by 37,300 workers last month, the biggest jump in 22 years, the U.S. Labor Department said Friday. Those in Pennsylvania added 34,000 workers, and employment in New York climbed by 32,700.

The number of states showing payroll gains increased from 33 in March. Nationally, the economy has added jobs five of the past six months and payrolls increased by the most in four years in April, according to Labor Department data released earlier this month.

Friday’s report also showed unemployment decreased in 34 states in April and rose in six, indicating the unexpected jump in joblessness last month was not widespread.

 

Maine’s jobless rate drops to 8.1 percent last month

The Maine Department of Labor reported Friday that unemployment dropped by one-tenth of a percentage point last month, to 8.1 percent.

Commissioner Laura Fortman said that April’s jobless rate was down from 8.2 percent in March and unchanged from April 2009.

The unemployment rates across Maine ranged from 6.6 percent in Cumberland County to 12.8 percent in Piscataquis County.

Among New England states, Fortman said, Maine’s unemployment rate is lower than those in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut, but higher than New Hampshire’s and Vermont’s.

 

Lazard Freres will advise government on GM’s IPO

The Treasury Department has hired Lazard Freres & Co. as its adviser to prepare for an initial public stock offering by General Motors Co.

Treasury signed the agreement on Monday but did not reveal it until Friday. The agreement says that Lazard Freres will be paid $500,000 a month over the next year for the advice it provides the government.

The agreement says that if no stock sale has occurred during the first 12 months of the contract, Lazard Freres will receive a reduced fee of $250,000 a month until the sale is completed.

The agreement signed with Treasury said that the New York-based investment bank will analyze and review alternatives for the government’s ownership stake.

The Treasury owns 61 percent of General Motors. The IPO would allow the government to begin recouping its investment. GM CEO Ed Whitacre has said he expects an IPO in late 2010 or early 2011.

 

Toyota recalling Lexus LS in U.S. to fix steering glitch

Toyota Motor Corp. said Friday it is recalling about 3,800 Lexus LS sedans in the U.S. to fix a problem with the vehicle’s steering system following a similar recall in Japan.

The company said the recall affects some 2009 and 2010 LS 460 and LS 600h sedans. The recall is designed to fix a problem in which the steering wheel becomes off-center after a specific driving maneuver. The problem should not occur during normal driving, the company said.

Toyota earlier Friday recalled 4,500 of the same models in Japan to address the steering issue. The recall affects roughly 2,750 vehicles elsewhere around the world.

 

Abbott buying Piramal unit for top spot in Indian market

Abbott Laboratories has agreed to buy the domestic health care business of India’s Piramal Healthcare Ltd., a leading branded generics company, for $3.72 billion, the companies said Friday.

The deal is part of Abbott’s drive to establish itself as a leading emerging market pharmaceutical player and reflects the growing global importance of generics as well as the rise of India’s consumer market for drugs.

Abbott, based in North Chicago, Ill., will pay $2.12 billion up front, plus $400 million annually for four years.

The deal will vault Abbott past market leaders Cipla and Ranbaxy to number one in India’s fast growing market, with a 7 percent market share.