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Business Briefing

Suppliers hit by NUMMI shutdown

Less than week after the shutdown of NUMMI, the auto factory’s former suppliers are expected to lose at least 1,200 East Bay jobs.

Just two or three of the 13 suppliers in Alameda County surveyed are likely to survive, according to a study by the Corp. for Manufacturing Excellence. If the rest close their doors, about 917 jobs, $160 million in revenue and $64 million in wages would evaporate.

The county is home to 31 suppliers for the closed New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. plant.

GM to offer Hummer rebates

General Motors Co., the largest U.S. automaker, said it would wind down its Hummer brand and is offering rebates of as much as $6,000 to sell remaining sport-utility vehicles.

Jim Bunnell, GM’s general director for dealer network support, told retailers in a conference call that they would get letters within days about ending their franchises, the company said.

Shedding Hummer was part of GM’s plan to pare its U.S. brands to four from eight after bankruptcy.

INTERNET

AOL to sell or close Bebo

AOL Inc. plans to find a buyer for its social networking site Bebo or shut it down by the end of May, the company told staff in a memo.

The level of competition in social networking makes it difficult for the company to fight larger players such as Facebook and News Corp.'s MySpace, AOL said.

Bebo, founded in San Francisco, is one of the most popular social networking sites in Britain, but it never gained traction in the U.S.

In 2008, AOL paid $850 million for the company, which has about 40 employees.

THE ECONOMY

Job openings up in some sectors

Job openings rose in several sectors of the economy in February, including transportation, restaurants and hotels, the Labor Department said.

But total job openings declined, a sign that hiring remains sluggish even as employers start to add workers and gain confidence that the recovery is taking hold.

Employers posted 2.7 million job openings at the end of February, according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey. The number exceeded the record lows of 2.4 million last year, though it was about 130,000 fewer than in the previous month.

Retailers listed 320,000 openings, up from 255,000 the previous month. Manufacturers posted 17,000 more openings. Restaurants and hotels have added nearly 50,000 openings in two months.

RETAIL

Home Depot plans to add jobs

Home Depot Inc., the largest U.S. home-improvement retailer, is adding store jobs for the first time in four years in anticipation of a rebound in sales.

Home Depot made the decision late last year, said Chief Executive Frank Blake. Sales grew more than the company had anticipated in the fourth quarter, and the company forecast in February that revenue would rise 2.5% this year, marking the first increase since 2006.

The company, which had about 317,000 workers as of Jan. 31, eliminated jobs in each of the last three years, according to annual filings. Blake declined to say how many workers the company would add.

-- times wire reports


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