Business Briefs

Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Friday, December 17, 1999

AOL membership tops 20 million

DULLES, Va. -- America Online Inc. said today that membership in its AOL Internet access service has surpassed 20 million.

The Dulles, Va., company, which had $4.78 billion in revenue for its fiscal year ended June 30, has added 10 million members over the past two years. It also operates the CompuServe Internet service, with about 2 million members.

Workplace injuries at a record low

WASHINGTON -- Job-related illnesses and injuries in private workplaces were at a record low last year, government figures show.

The total of 5.9 million in 1998 amounts to about 6.7 workers out of every 100, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said yesterday.

The rate in 1997 was 7.1, the lowest since the agency started keeping track in 1973.

"Employment rose 3 percent in 1998, yet 200,000 fewer workers got hurt or sick on the job than in 1997," Labor Secretary Alexis Herman said.

It was the sixth consecutive year of declines in the illness and injury rate, a statistic that counts nonfatal afflictions caused in private workplaces.

Repetitive stress disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome and noise-induced hearing loss accounted for 4 percent of the total workplace illnesses and injuries in 1998.

GE to split stock, raise dividend

FAIRFIELD, Conn. -- General Electric Co. declared a 3-for-1 stock split and boosted its quarterly dividend 17 percent, helping drive the company's market value beyond $500 billion. GE's stock rose rose sharply on today's news.

The second most valuable U.S. company after Microsoft Corp. also expanded a stock buyback program to $22 billion from $17 billion. The stock split requires shareholder approval at General Electric's annual meeting in April. The dividend will be payable Jan. 25 to shareholders of record as of Dec. 27. General Electric expects to achieve a sixth straight year of record sales and profit in 1999, Bloomberg News reported.

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