RUBBER

Goodyear increases dividend

Goodyear shareholders are getting a 40 percent raise.

The Akron tire maker is increasing its stock dividend from 10 cents per share to 14 cents, a 40 percent increase.

The higher dividend is payable Dec. 1 to shareholders of record as of Nov. 1, the company said in a news release Wednesday.

The change increases the 2017 annual dividend rate to 44 cents per share and then to 56 cents per share for 2018.

AUTOS

Calif. sets driverless timeline

Driverless cars — with nobody behind the wheel — could be on California roads and highways by June 2018.

That doesn’t mean you’ll be able to buy a completely driverless car next year, or even hail a ride in one. The technology is still being developed. The driverless cars that may begin appearing next year will be test vehicles. They’ll be allowed to pick up passengers, but only if the passengers don’t have to pay.

The timeline was revealed Wednesday, when the state Department of Motor Vehicles proposed a new set of streamlined regulations along with a 15-day public comment period.

The regulations are expected to be set by the end of the year and approved by the DMV early next year. The department had not previously set a date, approximate or otherwise, for the deployment of fully autonomous cars.

The go date could be sooner than June, depending on how fast the rules are approved, the DMV said.

STEEL

Japan asks Kobe for answers

The Japanese government urged steelmaker Kobe Steel on Wednesday to clarify the extent of manipulation of inspection data on steel, aluminum and other metals used in a wide range of products, reportedly including rockets, aircraft and cars, in the latest quality scandal to rock Japanese manufacturing.

Kobe Steel, Japan’s third-largest steel maker, has announced that between Sept. 1, 2016 and Aug. 31 of this year it sold aluminum and copper materials using falsified data on such things as the products’ strength.

Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Kotaro Nogami told reporters the government was seeking more information about the problem and trying to determine its possible impact on product safety. He criticized the apparently widespread falsification of data as “inappropriate.”

EMPLOYMENT

Job openings slip in August

U.S. employers are advertising near-record levels of job openings, though the total slipped in August from July.

Job openings fell 0.9 percent in August to just under 6.1 million, the Labor Department said Wednesday, from 6.14 million in the previous month. July’s figure was revised slightly lower but is still the largest number of available jobs since records began in December 2000.

Job openings have risen as the number of unemployed has fallen to the lowest in a decade. The unemployment rate, currently 4.2 percent, has hit a 16-year low. That has left businesses struggling to fill open jobs.

CONVENIENCE STORES

Kroger may shed some shops

Cincinnati-based supermarket operator Kroger says it is considering selling its gas station convenience stores, such as KwikShop, Loaf ‘N Jug and Turkey Hill Minit Markets.

Kroger Co. says the business, which has more than 780 stores and 11,000 employees, would be more valuable outside of the company. A sale would leave Kroger with about 2,800 supermarkets.

Grocery store operators have been under pressure after Amazon.com Inc. bought Whole Foods this summer. Some expect that the online retail giant will shake up how people buy groceries.

On Wednesday, Kroger said it would expand self-checkout registers from 20 supermarkets to 400 by next year.

Compiled from staff and wire reports.