End of winter’s impact seen as plus for economy

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said Wednesday that the economy should grow at much stronger rates the rest of this year as the country overcomes the impact of a harsh winter. But Lew said millions of Americans continue to struggle as unemployment remains too high and economic growth is too slow.

In his remarks, which were distributed in Washington, Lew called for actions by the government and the private sector to boost hiring of the long-term unemployed and increase investment in productivity-enhancing equipment and critical infrastructure projects such as roads, railways and ports.

Lew said the country also needed a stronger commitment to education in the areas of science, math and engineering to make sure students have the skills they need to compete in the new economy.

U.S. budget deficit in May smaller than one year ago

The U.S. government’s monthly budget returned to deficit in May after a big April surplus. But the overall imbalance so far is far smaller than it was the same period last year, putting the country on track for the lowest annual deficit in six years.

The Treasury Department said Wednesday that the May deficit totaled $130 billion after a surplus of $106.9 billion in April, a month when the government usually runs surpluses because of a flood of tax revenues.

For the first eight months of this budget year, the deficit totals $436.4 billion, down 30 percent from $626.3 billion for the same period in 2013. It was the smallest imbalance since 2008. The Congressional Budget Office is forecasting a deficit of $492 billion for the full budget year ending Sept. 30.

Congress to question GM CEO about deadly defect

General Motors CEO Mary Barra will be back in front of Congress next week to be questioned further about how GM allowed a deadly defect in an ignition switch to go undisclosed for more than a decade.

Barra will appear on June 18 before the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s oversight subcommittee, the panel announced Wednesday.

Toyota recalling vehicles again for new problem

Toyota is announcing a recall of a recall, asking that owners of vehicles involved in previous safety problems have their vehicles re-inspected for new problems.

Toyota Motor Sales USA said as many as 766,300 vehicles involved in a previous recall could be affected by an air bag issue that could cause the safety devices to explode when triggered.

– From news service reports