Business Briefs
Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire


Maui airport needs security screeners

Persons interested in federal security screening jobs at Kahului Airport can meet on Maui today and tomorrow with officials of the Transportation Security Administration. The TSA "job application center" will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Renaissance Wailea Resort.

Salaries range from $23,000 to $35,000 depending on experience, and those hired get federal employee benefits. Applicants must be U.S. citizens with a high school diploma or equivalent and at least a year of security or aviation screening experience.

Would-be screeners can also apply online at The TSA, about half-way to its goal of hiring 30,000 screeners for the nation's airports, earlier had local job fairs for Hawaii's other major airports.


Oil rally limited threat to growth, say experts

New York >> Crude oil's rally above $30 a barrel for the first time in 15 months will raise costs for importers and consumers without derailing a U.S. economic recovery, economists and analysts said.

Speculation that the U.S. is preparing to invade Iraq and topple President Saddam Hussein has helped spur a 17 percent rally in oil over the past two months. The U.S., the biggest energy consumer, imports about 55 percent of its oil.

"Prices will have to rise to the $35-to-$38 range before there's an impact on the fledgling recovery," said Vincent Boberski, a senior economist at RBC Dain Rauscher Inc. in Chicago.

Oil companies don't expect prices to stay above $30 for long, said Eugene X. Hodge, a senior investment officer at John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co. who co-manages a $4 billion oil and gas bond portfolio. "It's a temporary blip due to the political situation."

Home Depot profit rises 28%

Atlanta >> Home Depot Inc.'s second- quarter earnings rose 28 percent, more than forecast, as the world's largest home-improvement retailer reduced expenses and consumers spent more to refurbish kitchens and baths.

Net income climbed to $1.18 billion, or 50 cents a share, from $924 million, or 40 cents, a year earlier, the company said in a statement. Revenue in the quarter ended Aug. 4 rose 12 percent to $16.3 billion, while sales at stores open at least a year increased 1 percent.

Chief Executive Robert Nardelli is paring inventory, centralizing purchasing and slowing expansion to bolster profit as Home Depot faces increased competition from Lowe's Cos. The smaller rival is expanding into larger cities that Home Depot has dominated.


China may replace U.S. as top Japan exporter

TOKYO>> China is on pace to replace the United States as the top exporter to Japan and could do it as early as this year, the Japan government said today.

The news comes as Japan reported that total trade with China, imports and exports, rose 3.4 percent to a record $45.12 billion in the first half of the year.

China is still Japan's No. 2 trading partner behind the United States. But the figures indicated China is rapidly passing the United States as the top exporter to Japan.

The U.S. Commerce Department announced today that the U.S. trade deficit narrowed only slightly in June to $37.2 billion, the second biggest deficit on record. Trade imbalances with China and Japan play a big role in the ballooning figure.

Roughly 17.8 percent of all good imported to Japan came from China during the first half of 2002, according to the Japan External Trade Organization. That's just behind the United States, which accounted for 18.2 percent of Japan's imports over the period.

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