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Business briefs

Wednesday, April 3, 2013 - 10:44 am

Hyundai-Kia recalling nearly 1.9 million vehicles

DETROIT – Korean automakers Hyundai and Kia are recalling almost 1.9 million vehicles to fix problems with air bags and brake light switches.

The switch recall covers almost 1.7 million vehicles – most of the automakers' model lineups from the 2007 through 2011 model years.

In addition, Hyundai is recalling about 194,000 Elantra compacts from 2011 to 2013 to fix an air bag problem.

A faulty switch can stop the brake lights from illuminating when drivers press on the pedal, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in documents posted Wednesday on its website. Also, the cruise control may not turn off when a driver steps on the brake, push-to-start buttons may not work, and a feature that stops the driver from shifting out of park without a foot on the brake may fail.

SEC gives companies OK to use social media for announcements

WASHINGTON — The Securities and Exchange Commission will allow public companies to make significant announcements on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites provided they alert investors which sites they intend to use.

The decision announced Tuesday allows companies to use social media in place of more formal websites.

The question arose after Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said on his Facebook page in July that subscribers together watched more than 1 billion hours of video for the first time during June, the agency said.

An SEC rule requires that all investors receive significant company information at the same time. By allowing businesses to use more informal channels to share news with investors, the SEC is acknowledging the shift in technology that has made social media indispensable for the largest and most powerful corporations.

One key requirement is that companies alert investors in press releases or regulatory filings as to where they plan to disseminate information that could potentially affect the price of the company's stock.

Survey: Private employers add 158K jobs in March

WASHINGTON – A survey shows U.S. companies added fewer jobs in March compared with the previous month, as construction firms held off on hiring after three months of solid gains.

Private employers added 158,000 jobs last month, payroll processor ADP said Wednesday. That's down from February's gain of 237,000 and January's 177,000.

Construction companies didn't add any jobs in March, after average monthly gains of 29,000 in the previous three months.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, said the hiring surge during the previous months likely reflected a jump in rebuilding after Superstorm Sandy. Moody's helps compile the monthly report with ADP.

Apple apologizes in China for poor service

BEIJING – Apple apologized to Chinese consumers after government media attacked its repair policies for two weeks in a campaign that reeked of economic nationalism.

A statement Apple posted in Chinese on its website Monday said the complaints had prompted "deep reflection" and persuaded the company of the need to revamp its repair policies, boost communication with Chinese consumers and strengthen oversight of authorized resellers.

State broadcaster CCTV and the ruling Communist Party's flagship newspaper, People's Daily, accused Apple of arrogance, greed and "throwing its weight around."

High-skilled visa requests up for grabs

WASHINGTON – The Homeland Security Department expects applications for high-skilled immigration visas to outpace the available supply in a matter of days, a sign of continued economic recovery amid new hiring by U.S. technology companies. The race to secure one of the 85,000 so-called H-1B visas available for the 2014 budget year started Monday and requests will be accepted through at least Friday.