B&N releases new
Barnes & Noble Inc. is releasing a new Nook e-book reader for the holidays, while it evaluates the future of tablet computers.
Nook tablets haven’t sold well amid intense competition with Apple’s iPad, Amazon’s Kindle Fire and others. Barnes & Noble had a slim 2 percent share of the worldwide tablet market in the fourth quarter of 2012, but fell off IDC’s top 5 list this year.
The company said it isn’t giving up on tablets, but it will focus on a new e-reader this year while continuing to sell last year’s tablet models. The move comes as research firm IDC says the market for dedicated electronic-book readers is declining. Instead, consumers have been more interested in tablets, which can do much more, including video, email, Facebook and games.
ADP sees biz
Business hiring slowed this month, with the private sector adding just 130,000 net new jobs as the partial government shutdown hit an already weakening labor market, payroll processor ADP said Wednesday.
The figure was below the 150,000 average monthly job growth in the sector in the previous year as the hiring in the service sector fell off in October, said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, which assists ADP in the monthly report.
“The government shutdown and debt limit brinkmanship hurt the already-softening job market in October,” Zandi said. Firms that do government contracting were affected by the 16-day government shutdown and the fiscal impasse probably caused small companies to hold off on hiring, he said.
The 130,000 private-sector jobs added in October marked the smallest gain since April, ADP said. Economists had projected ADP’s numbers would show the private sector added 138,000 jobs last month.
Combined with a significant downward revision of September’s figure to 145,000, the latest ADP data do not bode well for the government’s October job report, due next week, and add to the likelihood that the Federal Reserve will hold steady on its stimulus efforts, Zandi said.
up just a tad
U.S. consumer prices increased only slightly in September, as higher energy costs offset flat food prices. The figures are the latest evidence that slow economic growth is keeping inflation tame.
The consumer price index rose a seasonally adjusted 0.2 percent in September, the Labor Department said Wednesday. That’s up from 0.1 percent in August. Higher gas, electricity and other energy costs rose 0.8 percent, making up about half the overall increase.
In the past year, consumer prices have increased just 1.2 percent, down from a 1.5 percent annual gain in August. That’s the smallest 12-month gain since April, and it’s below the Federal Reserve’s 2 percent inflation target.
Excluding volatile food and energy costs, core prices rose just 0.1 percent and are up 1.7 percent in the past 12 months.