Business Stories of the Week: Friday, Feb. 16, 2018

by February 16, 2018

The FDA recently recalled upmarket dog food due to salmonella concerns. (Photo via Pixabay.com)

U.S. manufacturing output stagnates

In 2017, manufacturers added 200,000 jobs and saw greater exports and consumer spending. However, the first two months of 2018 are showing slower manufacturing output and growth, according to USA Today. Output slipped about 0.1 percent, but analysts predict a slow uptick in the coming months, according Federal Reserve data. Currently, U.S. manufacturing plants are running at about 76.2 percent capacity — up from last year, but below historical averages. As plants move closer to maximum capacity, the Fed says it will invest more in expansion, which would be good for economic growth.

Chipotle takeover

Following last week’s news about Chipotle seeking to diversify its menu, the company announced it is appointing Brian Niccol as its new chief executive officer. Niccol was formerly the CEO of Taco Bell. In the press release, Niccol said he looks forward to “dial(ing) up Chipotle’s relevance through innovation in menu and digital communications.” While at Taco Bell, Niccol helped launch the chain’s breakfast menu and “revolutionized” its social media strategy.

FCC chairman endorses satellite internet

Ajit Pai recommended approving Elon Musk’s proposal to build a broadband internet network through satellites, Reuters reports. Satellite-based internet could provide service to almost 14 million Americans living in rural areas, and more than one million living on tribal lands. In recent years, the FCC has approved requests from Indian, Norwegian and other international companies to access to the U.S. market. Telesat, an Indian satellite company, aims to have 120 satellites deployed by 2021.

Amid dividend hike, Apple CEO talks succession

At the annual shareholders meeting, Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said one of his most important roles is “preparing as many people as I can to be CEO”, Bloomberg reports. Potential successors include Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams, as well as the company’s heads of hardware, marketing and service. At the same meeting, Cook said he expected the board to approve an annual dividend increase in April. Dividends have steadily risen to almost 63 cents per share since 2012.

“Raw” dog food recalled by FDA

The FDA recently recalled a raw turkey-based dog food due to salmonella concerns. This comes as trendy pet foods are on an uptick. Almost a fifth of pet owners are eschewing kibble in favor of Blue Apron-style pet food delivery, according to pet product trade publication Pet Product News. As pets become more and more like human family members, pet food is becoming more and more like human food — which comes with potential challenges like recalls and disease outbreaks.