Business & Economy

Senate Republicans voted Wednesday night to rescind an Obama-era policy that allows states to offer retirement savings plans to millions of workers.

Retiree and worker protection groups say the move will hurt employees at small businesses.

Many small businesses say they can't afford to set up retirement savings plans, such as 401(k) plans, for their workers. That's a big reason why so many Americans aren't saving, says Cristina Martin Firvida, the AARP's director of government affairs.

Immigration advocates claim that about half of the most lucrative startups in America were founded by immigrants. But it's complicated for a foreigner to start a company in America — there's no such thing as a startup visa.

That's why some entrepreneurs are "hacking the system" through a workaround that started as an experiment in Massachusetts and has expanded to five other states.

The U.S. economy grew at just a 0.7 percent annual rate in the first quarter of this year, according to the latest report on the gross domestic product from the Commerce Department. That's below market expectations and indicates the economy grew at the slowest pace in three years.

Weak auto sales and lower home-heating bills dragged down consumer spending, offsetting a pickup in investment led by housing and oil drilling. Employment costs rose 0.8 percent in the first quarter.

Here's the good news about young adults in the U.S. over the past four decades: More of them are working full time and year-round.

In 1975, close to 67 percent of adults from ages 25 to 34 were employed full time, and that share increased to 77 percent by 2016, according to a new report on young adults by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Updated at 11 a.m. ET with retail outlook

After adding more than 200,000 jobs in each of the first two months of this year, the U.S. economy gained only 98,000 jobs in March, according to the monthly report released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That result falls short of expectations: While analysts had anticipated a slight dip to around 180,000 new jobs, they had been looking for signs that job growth would keep pace with recent gains.

Donald Trump won the backing of the National Rifle Association and many gun owners by opposing limits to the Second Amendment's right to bear arms. But since his election and in the early months of his presidency, Trump has not been good for the gun business.

Shares of publicly traded firearms companies have fallen. The pro-gun president nicking the fortunes of the industry he vowed to protect may seem illogical on its face.

Keyboard
Flickr / Creative Commons

Cyber security experts from around the country gather in Lewis Center on Friday for a conference on how to prevent and mitigate cyber attacks.

Ohio Statehouse
KAREN KASLER / Ohio Public Radio

Cities across the state impose a tax on the profits earned by local businesses. This accounts for about 14 percent of total municipal tax collections - funds that cities rely on heavily to pay for everything from police to garbage collection.

Mandie Trimble / WOSU

Changes to Ohio's concealed carry law take effect Tuesday. That means more places - like daycares, government building and universities - have the option to allow people to carry a concealed firearm in public. But advocates on both sides aren't thrilled.

Mike Seyfang/Flickr

Amazon has claimed a piece of prime Columbus real estate, releasing a proposal this week to open an Amazon Campus bookstore in the University District.

Flickr

Many businesses around the state could soon be getting a big rebate from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.

"Gender equality benefits all of us," Iceland's Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson said on International Women's Day, as his government works on a law to require companies to show they pay men and women the same salary for the same work.

Benediktsson discussed the plan in New York, where he attended an International Women's Day summit and other meetings this week.

The City of Youngstown could soon add a business incubator on its south side, made up entirely of shipping containers.

The project would convert the containers into small store fronts for entrepreneurs who may not be able to get financing to start a business, or who don’t have enough start-up capital to invest in a traditional building.

The city is studying the cost of the project as well as how to connect the containers to utilities.

When he addresses a joint session of Congress Tuesday night, President Trump is expected to outline some of his plans for rebuilding the nation's crumbling infrastructure.

And he will likely reiterate his commitment to "buy American and hire American," as he repeated often during the campaign and since taking office last month.

But what exactly does that mean for state departments of transportation and the contractors who build transportation projects?

Hotels along the I-77 corridor between Akron and Canton have been feeling the downturn in the oil and gas industry. In the last few years, more than a dozen hotels opened in that area, mainly to serve that industry’s boom in eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania. Now, there are too many rooms and not enough customers.

STR Global, a company that tracks the hotel industry, says between 2014 and last year, hotel occupancy in the Akron area dropped about 6 percent.  In Canton, the drop was about the same.

Jim Renacci

Ohio businesses remain pretty divided over a Republican-proposed reform known as the Border Adjustment Tax, according to Congressman Jim Renacci.

What's in a name? A lot, according to a new study from researchers at Ryerson University and the University of Toronto, both in Canada.

In cities around America, thousands of construction companies, restaurants and other businesses are bracing for "A Day Without Immigrants," a combination boycott/strike that highlights the contributions of immigrants to U.S. business and culture.

Steve Brown

Chris Kowalski has had a rough go of it lately.

The owner and operator of Jack's Downtown Diner lost his wife to cancer in 2015. He closed the diner later that year, and when he reopened in 2016, the normally-quaint Lynn Street was a full-blown construction site.

Lancaster, Ohio, the home of the Fortune 500 company Anchor Hocking, was once a bustling center of industry and employment. At its peak following World War II, Lancaster's hometown company was the world's largest maker of glassware and employed more than 5,000 town residents.

Though Anchor Hocking remains in Lancaster today, it is a shell of its former self, and the once thriving town is beset by underemployment and drug abuse. Lancaster native Brian Alexander chronicles the rise and fall of his hometown in his new book, Glass House.

President Trump signed two directives on Friday, ordering a review of financial industry regulations known as Dodd-Frank and halting implementation of a rule that requires financial advisers to act in the best interests of their clients, according to a senior administration official who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity.

Trump himself made his intentions clear in a meeting with small business owners Monday. "Dodd-Frank is a disaster," Trump said. "We're going to be doing a big number on Dodd-Frank."

Updated at 1:30 p.m. ET

The U.S. added 227,000 jobs in January and the unemployment rate rose just slightly, ticking up a tenth of a percentage point to 4.8 percent, according to the monthly report released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The robust jobs number beat most predictions from economists, who had pegged the payroll increase at 175,000, according to NPR's Yuki Noguchi.

Since taking office, President Trump has stepped away from running his business empire. But in Florida, a federal judge has handed a legal defeat to the organization that bears his name. He ruled that Trump National Jupiter Golf Club must refund members nearly $6 million.

It's a case that began in 2012 when Trump bought the struggling golf club from Marriott Vacations Worldwide. He paid just $5 million, a bargain price. But as part of the deal, he had to assume some $50 million in debt, money owed to members who put down refundable deposits and now wanted out of the club.

SalFalko / Flickr

A judge has blocked an Ohio law that would have barred local hiring regulations for public projects, such as Cleveland's requirement that city residents get to work on certain projects.

Debbie Holmes

Columbus city officials plan to invest more than $20 million into Hamilton Road on Columbus’s southeast side.  The project aims to boost business investments and rejuvenate a long-overlooked commercial area between I-70 and Refugee Road.

One consequence of Republican gains in the 2016 elections is playing out at the state level where organized labor appears likely to face big setbacks in the coming months.

Within days of convening this month, Kentucky lawmakers passed "right-to-work" legislation that prohibit labor unions from forcing non-union members to pay fees to the union.

It's the 27th state with such laws. State legislatures in Missouri and New Hampshire are also actively debating similar bills that could become law by February.

Leaders of several American companies have announced plans to hire, house or otherwise support people affected by President Trump's sweeping freeze on people seeking asylum in the U.S. or traveling from seven largely Muslim countries.

NPR's Carrie Johnson breaks down the president's executive order on immigration here.

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