The daily business briefing: April 5, 2019

The U.S. economy gained a better-than-expected 196,000 jobs in March, Boeing accepts responsibility for faulty 737 MAX software, and more

A Boeing 787 Dreamliner
(Image credit: TANGI QUEMENER/AFP/Getty Images)

1. Economy adds 196,000 jobs, potentially easing fears of slowdown

U.S. employers added 196,000 jobs in March, the Labor Department reported Friday. The number exceeded expectations of a 172,000-job gain forecast by economists surveyed by MarketWatch. The number marked a rebound from a 17-month low in February, when U.S. non-farm payrolls grew by a disappointing 20,000 new jobs, although that figure was adjusted up to 33,000 in Friday's report. The strong jobs report could help ease fears of a sharp economic slowdown. "A number that is close to consensus and with an upward revision to February will give you some degree of comfort that while the economy is slowing, it isn't declining rapidly," said Dan North, chief economist at Euler Hermes North America in Baltimore, shortly before the report came out. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.8 percent.

MarketWatch CNBC

2. Boeing accepts responsibility for faulty 737 MAX software

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg on Thursday apologized for the "erroneous activation" of the company's maneuvering software in two 737 MAX 8 passenger jets that crashed last month and last year. "We extend our sympathies to the loved ones of the passengers and crew on board," he said, explaining the faulty system that may have caused a sudden nosedive. "It's our responsibility to eliminate this risk. We own it and we know how to do it." Ethiopian officials said Thursday that a preliminary report on the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight last month showed that the pilots repeatedly followed all the procedures recommended by Boeing before crashing minutes after takeoff. The crash killed 157 people. All 737 MAX aircraft were grounded worldwide last month while Boeing worked on a software update to the flight-stabilization system.

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MarketWatch Quartz

3. Trump says U.S., China close to 'epic' trade deal

President Trump said Thursday that an "epic" trade deal with China was nearly done but could take a few more weeks. He said he would hold a summit meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping to sign an agreement and end the U.S.-China trade war once the remaining issues are resolved, including dialing back tariffs imposed during a dispute that has rattled global markets. Trump met at the White House on Thursday with Liu He, China's vice premier and special trade envoy, who had traveled to Washington this week for a new round of trade talks. Trump said Thursday the talks were "going very well," and that the world's two largest economies were getting closer to "the biggest deal ever made."

The New York Times

4. Trump backs off border closure threat, gives Mexico 1-year warning

President Trump backed away Thursday from his threat to close the U.S.-Mexico border. Earlier in the week, Trump said he would shut down the border completely to stem the flow of drugs and undocumented immigrants. On Thursday, Trump said he was giving Mexico a "one-year warning" to discourage illegal immigration from Central America and curb drug smuggling. If Mexico fails to make significant progress, he said, he will act. "Mexico understands that we're going to close the border or I'm going to tariff the cars — one or the other," Trump said. The most likely first step would be tariffs on cars made in Mexico, because that would be a "very powerful incentive," Trump said.


5. Trump says he wants Herman Cain on Federal Reserve Board

President Trump said Thursday he wanted to nominate Herman Cain for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board, calling the former CEO of the Godfather's Pizza chain "a truly outstanding individual." Cain ran for president in 2012 but his campaign ended after several women accused him of sexual harassment. Cain previously directed the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. He is the second political ally with past ethical issues Trump has proposed for the Fed, which is traditionally independent. Last month, Trump said he planned to nominate conservative economist and former campaign adviser Stephen Moore as a Fed governor. The White House on Monday stood by Trump's backing of Moore despite reports about financial problems, including Moore's failure to pay more than $330,000 in spousal support.

The New York Times Bloomberg

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