- - Monday, October 1, 2012

U.S. manufacturing grew for the first time in four months, buoyed by a jump in new orders and more jobs. The increase is a hopeful sign that the economy may be improving after a weak stretch.

The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, said Monday that its index of factory activity rose to 51.5. That’s up from 49.6 in August.

A reading above 50 signals growth and below indicates contraction. The index had been below that threshold from June through August.

Most economists were encouraged by the report after weak consumer spending and fewer exports slowed factory production in the spring. Still, they cautioned that economic growth is likely to stay modest until hiring accelerates and consumers spend more.

RETAIL

Ikea plans to sell only energy-efficient lighting

PHILADELPHIA — Two years after it began phasing out incandescent bulbs, Swedish retailer Ikea announced Monday it is taking another step and planning to sell only energy-efficient LED lighting by 2016.

Ikea said the shift to the longer-lasting bulbs will help set an environmentally friendly example in the industry and also save the company about $10 million to $20 million a year, or 10 percent, in lighting costs at its 300 stores around the globe.

EUROPE

Unemployment stuck at record 11.4 percent

BRUSSELS — Unemployment across the 17 countries that use the euro remained at its record high rate of 11.4 percent in August, official data showed Monday, renewing concerns that efforts to slash debts have sacrificed jobs.

While European leaders have managed to calm financial markets in recent months with promises to cut spending and build a tighter union, they have been unable to solve the eurozone’s deep-rooted economic problems and the rising tide of joblessness.

Europe’s problems are dragging down the entire global economy. The region is the U.S.’s largest export customer and any fall-off in demand will hit American companies — as well as President Obama’s election prospects.

FOOD

Peanut butter recall grows to include major retailers

Sunland Inc., a New Mexico company, has expanded its recall of peanut butter and almond butter to include cashew butters, tahini, and blanched and roasted peanut products.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there are now 30 illnesses in 19 states that can be traced to Trader Joe’s Creamy Salted Valencia Peanut Butter, one of the brands Sunland Inc. makes.

The recall includes nut products from Whole Foods Market, Target, Fresh & Easy, Giant Food, Harry and David, Stop & Shop Supermarket Company and several others.

OBITUARY

Former Johnson & Johnson CEO James Burke dies at 87

TRENTON, N.J. — Former Johnson & Johnson CEO James E. Burke, who steered the health care giant through the Tylenol poisonings in the 1980s that resulted in the first tamper-resistant product packaging, has died.

Mr. Burke died late Friday at the age of 87.

Mr. Burke ran the New Brunswick, N.J., company for 13 of his 37 years there and had a second career as chairman of the Partnership for a Drug-Free America.

In a rare honor for a CEO, Mr. Burke in 2000 was awarded the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian award, for both his corporate and civic leadership.

CRIME

$100 million scam suspect in Ohio is Harvard law grad

CLEVELAND — A former fugitive suspected of running a $100 million cross-country scam collecting donations for Navy veterans has been identified as a Harvard-trained attorney wanted on unrelated fraud charges since 1987, authorities said Monday.

U.S. Marshal Peter J. Elliott said the man who identified himself as Bobby Thompson and signed legal papers as “Mr. X” is really John Donald Cody, 65, whose true identity was uncovered through 1969 military fingerprints that didn’t make it into the national crime system.

He is jailed awaiting trial on charges of defrauding donors in 41 states of up to $100 million through a bogus Florida-based charity.

MEDIA

Washington Post buying bulk of Celtic Healthcare

The Washington Post Co. is getting into the health care business with the purchase of a majority stake in Celtic Healthcare Inc., a Mars, Pa.-based provider of home health care and hospice services.

The media and education company said Monday that the deal is part of its strategy to invest in companies with earnings potential and strong management.

From wire dispatches and staff reports