Last updated: March 05. 2014 11:37PM - 21816 Views
By John DiMaria

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ADP: Employers added

139,000 jobs in Feb.

Bad winter weather helped put a freeze on the labor market last month, with the private sector adding 139,000 net new jobs, payroll processing firm Automatic Data Processing said Wednesday.

The figure, which was below economists’ expectations, does not bode well for the government’s February jobs report coming Friday.

Analysts have been forecasting that the Labor Department data, which cover the private and public sectors, will show a pickup in job growth to about 150,000 last month, after a weak 113,000 in January. The unemployment rate is expected to hold steady at 6.6 percent.

But the weather can have a bigger effect on the government report than on the ADP data, said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, which assists ADP in its monthly report.

ADP uses private payroll counts. The Labor Department relies in part on a survey of households done in the middle of each month.

Feds demand

GM documents

U.S. safety regulators are demanding that General Motors turn over reams of documents and other data showing what the company knew when about a dangerous ignition problem that has been linked to 13 car-crash deaths.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating how GM handled the problem, which triggered the global recall of 1.6 million older-model compact cars. GM has acknowledged it knew of the ignition troubles a decade ago but didn’t recall the cars until last month.

In a 27-page order sent to GM Tuesday, NHTSA demanded pictures, memos, electronic communications, engineering drawings and other data to answer 107 questions. The reply, which must be signed under oath by a company officer, is due on April 3. GM spokesman Alan Adler said Wednesday that the company is cooperating.

NHTSA wants the documents to determine if GM delayed its response or withheld evidence. In either case, it could fine GM up to $35 million. Automakers are required to inform NHTSA of safety defects within five days of discovering them. Such a fine would be a record for NHTSA, but essentially is pocket change for GM, which made $3.8 billion last year.

Woman closer to

being SBA chief

Maria Contreras-Sweet is one step closer to becoming head of the Small Business Administration.

The Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship has approved Contreras-Sweet’s nomination Wednesday by a unanimous voice vote. Contreras-Sweet now faces a vote by the full Senate. If confirmed, she will succeed Karen Mills, who left the SBA in August.

Contreras-Sweet is a former secretary of California’s Business, Transportation and Housing Agency. She is also the co-founder of Los Angeles-based ProAmerica Bank, which focuses on lending to small businesses. And she co-founded Fortius Holdings, a private equity and venture fund that invested in small businesses.

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