SOLAR ENERGY

Ohio sees solar job growth

While the U.S. solar industry work force declined last year, Ohio saw a 12 percent increase in workers.

The Solar Foundation reported Wednesday in its annual National Solar Jobs Census that Ohio employment jumped from 5,831 jobs in 2016 to 6,564 last year.

Nationwide, there were 250,271 Americans working in solar last year, a 3.8 percent decline from the previous year. It’s the first year that jobs have decreased since the Solar Jobs Census was first released in 2010, the group said.

Twenty-nine states saw the number of jobs increase.

California remained the state with the largest number of solar jobs (86,414), but jobs there fell 14 percent in 2017.

“After six years of rapid and steady growth, the solar industry faced headwinds that led to a dip in employment in 2017, including a slowdown in the pace of new solar installations,” Solar Foundation President and Executive Director Andrea Luecke said in a prepared statement.. “Uncertainty over the outcome of the trade case also had a likely impact on solar jobs growth. At the same time, the fact that jobs went up in 29 states is an encouraging sign that solar is taking hold across the country as a low-cost, sustainable, and reliable energy source.”

To read the full report, go to: SolarJobsCensus.org

STOCK MARKET

Wild ride continues

It was another shaky day on Wall Street as indexes rallied in the morning, bobbed up and down for much of the day, then sank in the last few minutes of trading. Energy companies dropped along with oil prices and technology companies also declined.

Stocks were coming off a big gain on Tuesday. At times, investors looked ready to jump back in after steep losses Friday and Monday, yet every gain the market made was met with more selling. About 20 minutes before the close of trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up more than 260 points, but it finished with a small loss.

After two steep plunges, including its worst loss in six and a half years Monday, the S&P 500 is down 6.7 percent from its most recent record high set on Jan. 26.

While markets were noticeably calmer on Wednesday, there are signs that investors are still far more nervous than they were just a few days ago.

The VIX, which is called Wall Street’s “fear gauge” because it measures how much volatility investors expect in the future, is currently at 27, more than double where it was two weeks ago. It spiked above 50 early Tuesday.

“The markets had blinders on,” Invesco Chief Global Markets Strategist Kristina Hooper said. “I thought it was almost alarming that markets weren’t considering that, for example, we have a different [Federal Reserve] in 2018 that could be more hawkish.”

RECALLS

Harley brake issues reported

Under pressure from U.S. safety regulators, Harley-Davidson is recalling over 250,000 motorcycles worldwide because the brakes might fail.

Documents posted Wednesday by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration say the recall covers more than 30 models from the 2008 through 2011 model years. Harley says deposits can form on brake parts if the fluid isn’t changed every two years as specified in the owner’s manual. That can cause a valve in the antilock brake control unit to stick.

The U.S. agency began investigating problems in July of 2016 after getting 43 complaints including three reports of crashes and two injuries.

Documents show Harley wanted to do a field service campaign instead of a recall, but the government refused.

The company says it cooperated with NHTSA and began a thorough evaluation of the issue. “Complex, ongoing discussions regarding what was ultimately identified as a maintenance issue continued with the agency through January 2018,” Harley-Davidson said in a printed statement.

The recall covers nearly 175,000 motorcycles in the U.S.

Dealers will flush and replace brake fluid starting on Feb. 12.

Compiled from staff and wire reports.