TECHNOLOGY

North Canton firm splits

into two separate units

North Canton tech company Squirrels LLC is becoming two companies, The Canton Repository reported.

Squirrels Research Labs (SQRL) and Squirrels LLC have separated operations. Andrew Gould will become chief executive officer at Squirrels and David Stanfill, who was president at Squirrels, will become CEO of SQRL.

The two companies will continue to share office space and facilities. There are 32 employees at Squirrels; SQRL has 11 employees.

MANUFACTURING

Industrial production rises

slight amount in February

U.S. industrial production rose a slight 0.1 percent in February, as an increase in utilities and mining offset the second straight monthly drop in manufacturing.

The Federal Reserve said Friday that the manufacturing component of the index fell 0.4 percent last month, after having fallen 0.5 percent in January. Factory production has slipped 1 percent during the past 12 months.

The declines in manufacturing activity point toward lower economic growth, though not necessarily a slide into a recession, said Gregory Daco, chief U.S. economist at Oxford Economics.

ECONOMY

Consumer optimism jumps

as expectations build up

U.S. consumer sentiment rose by more than expected as optimism picked up for incomes and the economy, suggesting support for growth in coming months.

The University of Michigan's preliminary March sentiment index advanced to 97.8, the highest this year, compared with the median forecast of 95.6 in a Bloomberg survey of economists, according to a report Friday. The measure of current conditions increased while the expectations gauge rose to the highest since October.

The increase in sentiment reflected a sizable jump in income expectations among middle and lower earners, while a measure of the economic outlook for the next 12 months rose to a four-year high. The report follows Labor Department figures showing average hourly earnings rose last month by the most since 2009.

AUTOS

Despite 'mediocre' year,

Ford gives CEO hefty raise

Ford Motor Co. Chief Executive Officer Jim Hackett's compensation rose about 6 percent in 2018, a year the CEO characterized as "mediocre by any standard" for the automaker.

Hackett received $17.75 million in total compensation, up from about $16.7 million in 2017. Increases to the CEO's salary, stock awards, perks and benefits offset a reduction in bonus payments, according to a regulatory filing Friday.

Hackett, 63, is leading an $11 billion restructuring of Ford that involves slashing jobs, closing plants, updating an aging lineup, exiting the North American sedan market and pouring billions into electric and self-driving cars. Last year, net income fell by more than half, as Ford lost money in every region of the world other than North America.