AUTOS

GM takes first-quarter hit

General Motors Co. reported a 58.7 percent year-over-year decline in income for the first quarter of 2018.

The Detroit automaker brought in $1.1 billion in income from $36.1 billion of revenue during the first quarter of 2018. Earnings were impacted by the cost of restructuring GM’s South Korea business; the company recorded a $924 million charge for the restructuring.

During the quarter, GM sold 715,794 vehicles in the U.S., up 4 percent ahead of an estimated industry increase of about 2 percent.

Meanwhile, the Chevrolet Cruze, which is built at the GM Lordstown Assembly Complex, saw a 26 percent year-over-year decline from January through March. In total, 39,855 Cruzes were sold, down from 53,923 sold during the first quarter of 2017.

Sales declines for the Cruze, a compact car, led the automaker to announce the elimination of the second shift at the plant in mid-June.

WAGES

Private-sector pay increasing

U.S. private-sector workers received the biggest pay raise in 11 years in the first three months of the year, a sign that the tight job market is slowly lifting wages.

The Labor Department said Friday that its employment cost index shows wages and salaries in the private sector rose 1 percent between January and March compared with the previous quarter. That’s the biggest gain since the first quarter of 2007, before the Great Recession began.

The gain was boosted partly by healthy year-end commissions that are typically paid to sales workers at the beginning of the year. The increase may also reflect other one-time factors, such as bonuses paid out after the Trump administration’s corporate tax cut took effect.

In the past year, wages for private sector workers rose 2.9 percent, the healthiest increase since the third quarter of 2008.

The unemployment rate is at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent.

ECONOMY

GDP growth slows down

The U.S. economy slowed to a moderate 2.3 percent annual growth rate in the first quarter as consumer spending turned in the weakest performance in nearly five years. Still, the January-March increase came in better than expected, supporting hopes for a solid rebound for the rest of the year.

The Commerce Department reported Friday that the gain in the gross domestic product, the economy’s total output of goods and services, followed a 2.9 percent rise in the fourth quarter and gains above 3 percent in the previous two quarters.

Many economists had forecast that growth would slip below 2 percent in the first quarter, reflecting a big pullback by consumers after a torrid pace of spending in the fourth quarter. Consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of economic activity, decelerated sharply from a 4 percent growth rate in the fourth quarter to a 1.1 percent pace in the first quarter.

PRIVACY

Loan data involved in breach

A student loan services company recently notified 16,500 borrowers that files containing personal data were released to a business that wasn’t authorized to receive them.

Access Group Education Lending said in a letter to those affected that the data breach happened on March 23 when one of its vendors sent out files — including borrowers’ names, driver’s license numbers and Social Security numbers — to another business. The business was not identified, but has been described as a student loan lender.

Access Group said in the letter that it learned of the release on March 28 and it was assured that the vendor who received the files deleted them and didn’t retain copies. The company did not begin notifying borrowers until three weeks later.

In response to questions from The Associated Press, Access Group said in a statement that exposure to personal information was limited and has been terminated. Those who were affected are being offered free credit monitoring services for a year.

Access Group said the information was inadvertently released by Nelnet, which processes student loans for Access Group. To prevent something similar in the future, Access Group will continue to monitor its vendors and require written data transfer protocols.

Compiled from staff and wire reports.