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briefs

Job fair set for 26 spots at Poseidon

A local manufacturer has planned a hiring fair from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at its new factory at 725 Parr Road, Berne.

As The Journal Gazette first reported in February, Poseidon Barge Corp. is investing $6 million to buy, renovate and equip the 72,180-square-foot building where workers will build portable sectional barges. The Fort Wayne company expects to create up to 26 jobs by next year.

The expansion allows the manufacturer to reduce outsourcing and launch new products.

Officials are trying to fill 15 welding positions this week. Pay will range from $14 to $22 an hour, depending on experience. Workers will also receive benefits, including medical insurance and paid vacation days.

Service firms grow at best pace since August

U.S. service firms grew last month at the fastest pace since August as new orders and sales grew, adding to evidence that the economy is picking up after a slow start to the year.

The Institute for Supply Management said Monday that its service-sector index rose to 55.2 from 53.1 in March. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion. The ISM is a trade group of purchasing executives.

The figures come after a healthy jobs report on Friday also fueled hopes for an improving economy. The government said employers added 288,000 jobs in April, the most in 2 1/2 years, and the unemployment rate fell to 6.3 percent.

The rate fell mostly because fewer people began looking for work. The government doesn’t count people as unemployed unless they are actively searching for a job. Still, the better services and hiring data represent a turnaround after the government said last week that the economy barely expanded in the first three months of the year.

Coke, Pepsi dropping BVO from all drinks

Coca-Cola and PepsiCo said Monday they’re working to remove a controversial ingredient from all their drinks, including Mountain Dew, Fanta and Powerade.

The ingredient, called brominated vegetable oil, had been the target of petitions on Change.org by a Mississippi teenager who wanted it out of PepsiCo’s Gatorade and Coca-Cola’s Powerade. In her petitions, Sarah Kavanagh noted that the ingredient has been patented as a flame retardant and isn’t approved for use in Japan and the European Union.

Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have stood by the safety of the ingredient, which is used to distribute flavors more evenly in fruit-flavored drinks. But their decisions reflect the pressure companies are facing as people pay closer attention to ingredient labels and try to stick to diets they feel are natural.

Second GM executive retires in recall wake

Another General Motors engineer is leaving the company in the wake of its delayed recall of small cars with faulty ignition switches.

Jim Federico, who most recently headed safety, vehicle performance and testing labs, is retiring after almost 36 years with the company. GM said he’s leaving on his own to work outside the auto industry.

Federico was GM’s highest-ranking executive with safety in his title in February, when the company began recalling 2.6 million older-model small cars to replace the defective ignition switches. He was also the chief engineer for global small cars in 2010, and was involved in an internal investigation into the faulty switches.

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