Friday, March 7, 2014
Worker productivity in U.S. up modestly in April-June
U.S. worker productivity accelerated to a still-modest 0.9 percent annual pace between April and June after dropping the previous quarter.
The second-quarter gain beat economists' expectations and reversed a decline in the January-March quarter, when the Labor Department's revised numbers showed productivity shrank at a 1.7 percent annual pace.
Labor costs rose at a 1.4 percent annual pace from April through June, reversing a revised 4.2 percent drop the previous quarter.
Lameness in cattle leads Merck to halt sales of additive
Merck is suspending sales of its cattle feed additive Zilmax in the U.S. and Canada while it studies a possible link between Zilmax and lameness in cattle.
Merck and Co. said Friday that stopping sales will allow it to set up a study protocol and follow certain cattle to find out possible causes of lameness and other mobility problems. The company also plans to review other possible factors like nutrition and transportation of the cattle.
Zilmax is mixed into food and is used to bulk up cattle before they are slaughtered. It has been on the market in the U.S. since 2007 and is one of two supplements approved for that purpose. The products can help feedyards get roughly 25 more pounds of beef from each carcass. They've been increasingly used to offset dwindling cattle herd numbers, especially in the face of last year's drought.
Patch, AOL's local news sites, to reduce work force by half
AOL Inc. is laying off up to half the workforce at its Patch local news sites and shuttering or consolidating roughly 150 of the 900 sites while looking for partners for others.
Up to 500 of Patch's 1,000 employees will go in the layoffs, which started on Friday with 350 people getting pink slips. In all, the layoffs amount to about 9 percent of AOL's total workforce of 5,500.
AOL Inc. CEO Tim Armstrong co-founded Patch, an ambitious experiment in local news meant to compete with newspapers, in 2007. AOL bought it in 2009 after Armstrong had taken over the helm of the New York-based Internet company.
BlackBerry's chief executive could receive $55.6 million
BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins could receive as much as $55.6 million if the company is sold and he is ousted from the top job.
Heins would receive $48 million in equity awards, based on the company's share price at the end of its latest fiscal year, according to a regulatory filing earlier this year. He would also get $7.5 million in compensation for his salary and bonus under the change of control provisions in his contract.
The company would pay $72,000 in benefits and retirement savings.
BlackBerry announced that a sale of the company was one option that would be considered under a strategic review of the company, which has lost market share to Apple and Android-based phones.
– From news service reports