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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, November 08, 2017 1:00 am

briefs

Humana to slash 1,300 positions

Staff, news services

The health insurer Humana is cutting about 1,300 positions a couple months after starting an early-retirement program that attracted 1,150 participants.

A spokesman said Tuesday that the positions amount to less than 3 percent of the insurer's workforce. Those who lose jobs can apply for another position with Humana, which also has 1,450 openings. The final number of cuts has not been determined.

The company did not release details on where the job cuts, or additions, would take place.

Humana Inc., based in Louisville, Kentucky, is one of the nation's biggest providers of Medicare Advantage coverage, which involves privately run versions of the federal Medicare program for people who are over 65 or disabled.

Toyota profits up 16% in 2nd quarter

Toyota Motor Corp. reported Tuesday that it saw a 16 percent gain in fiscal second-quarter profit as sales grew and a cheaper yen offset higher marketing costs.

Japan's top automaker said its July-September profit totaled $4 billion. Quarterly sales grew 10 percent to $62.7 billion. 

Toyota is planning to build a new plant in the U.S., which will be run with Japanese automaker Mazda Motor Corp., although its site has not been announced.

The plan comes at a time when Japan is facing pressure from President Donald Trump's administration to reduce the bilateral trade imbalance and move production to the U.S. and create jobs there.

Meijer adding to delivery service

Meijer, the discount retailer, is launching home delivery of general-merchandise items in addition to its grocery delivery, which was rolled out locally in the spring.

The Grand Rapids, Michigan-based company has expanded home delivery to more than 200 stores and is on pace to make more than 1 million deliveries by the end of the year.

Items available for delivery include items as varied as Thanksgiving turkeys, Christmas trees, TVs and toys, officials said.

Meijer's program requires membership in Shipt, a delivery service.

Shipt's annual fee of $99 allows customers to receive unlimited free delivery of orders costing $35 or more. Orders less than $35 are charged a flat $7 fee.

Borrowing in US up $20.8 billion

American consumers increased their borrowing by $20.8 billion in September. It was the largest gain in 10 months and was led by a sharp increase in borrowing for auto and student loans.

The September increase followed a gain of $13.8 billion in August and marks the largest monthly increase since a $24.5 billion jump in November 2016, the Federal Reserve reported Tuesday.

Consumer borrowing is watched for clues about the direction of spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of economic growth in the U.S.

Google, Volkswagen partner on research

German automaker Volkswagen and Google have announced plans to cooperate in exploring possible uses in the auto industry for quantum computers.

Quantum computing, a technology that's in its early phases, uses the quirks of quantum physics to perform calculations at far higher speeds than current computers.