Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Business Digest

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Business Digest

Article excerpt

Mercy trims jobs * As part of a consolidation of Mercy Health's hospital and physician clinic business office functions, the hospital system is cutting 70 jobs. Mercy, based in Chesterfield, said that 19 positions had been eliminated in the St. Louis area because of the consolidation and that the other job cuts were primarily in Springfield, Mo., and Oklahoma City. Mercy said it was seeking to place eligible employees in open positions elsewhere within the company. Mercy operates 32 hospitals and 300 outpatient facilities in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, and has 38,000 employees.

Fed stays the course *

The Federal Reserve cautioned U.S. political leaders Wednesday that their policies were hurting the economy. The Fed stood by its aggressive efforts to stimulate the economy and reduce unemployment. But it sent its clearest signal to date that tax increases and spending cuts that kicked in this year are slowing the economy. The Fed maintained its plan to keep short-term interest rates at record lows at least until unemployment falls to 6.5 percent. And it said it would continue to buy $85 billion a month in Treasury and mortgage bonds. The bond purchases are intended to keep long-term borrowing costs down and encourage borrowing and spending.

Manufacturing slows * U.S. factory activity expanded at a slower pace in April, held back by weaker hiring and less company stockpiling. The report is the latest sign that economic growth may be slowing this spring. The Institute for Supply Management said Wednesday that its index of manufacturing activity slipped to 50.7 last month. That's down from 51.3 in March and the slowest pace this year. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.

Construction down *

Spending on U.S. construction projects fell in March as the biggest drop in government projects in more than a decade overwhelmed strength in home building. Construction spending fell 1.7 percent in March, compared with February, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. It marked the second decline in the past three months.

Few jobs added * A private survey shows U.S. companies added just 119,000 jobs in April, the fewest in seven months. …

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