Everyone agrees: Rate hike likely
When the Federal Reserve holds its next meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday, it’ll have a fresh set of rosy jobs and economic data at its disposal to aid in what economists and politicos alike say will likely be a decision to restart the gradual process of raising interest rates, according to the New York Times. A new Labor Department report Friday showed strong annual wage gains, 44-year lows in jobless claims and an employment gain of 235,000 jobs in February—President Trump’s first full month in officeprompting the nationwide unemployment rate to dip one percentage point to 4.7 percent.
Sad times for sporting retailers
The outdoor sports and recreation retail industry, like clothing retailers across U.S. shopping malls, has been hammered by a string of buyouts, store closings, layoffs and bankruptcies over the past year by well-known chains such as Sports Authority and Cabela’s. The downtrend continued Friday when St. Paul-based Gander Mountain, the nation’s largest outdoor sporting chain of its kind, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and disclosed plans to shutter 32 of 162 nationwide stores as it awaits potential suitors for its planned April auction, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
For-profit colleges rally
After falling hard and fast from their heyday more than a decade ago, for-profit colleges have been steadily rallying in the U.S. stock markets since President Trump, who made campaign promises to ease red tape for corporations, clinched the White House in November, according to the Wall Street Journal. The uptrend was particularly notable last week when the U.S. Department of Education delayed this year’s impending roll out of so-called “gainful employment” rules. Those Obama-era regulations were initiated in response to high debt of for-profit college students that could ultimately force the shuttering of several campuses. The delay prompted a big stock jump for schools such as Grand Canyon University, which has seen a 38 percent spike in its stock since November.
VW makes first criminal guilty plea
In what marked its first-ever guilty plea of criminal wrongdoing, Volkswagen, whose lead council spoke on its behalf, admitted Friday to fraud, falsifying statements and obstruction of justice in a U.S. federal courtroom, according to the Washington Post. The plea agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice over diesel-emissions cheating scandal—misdeeds that are costing the German automaker a whopping $25 billion total to resolve in the U.S.—requires the auto giant to undergo three years of sweeping corporate reforms, audits and third-party monitoring.