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February 9th, 2010
01:51 PM ET

Financial Dispatch: Another Toyota recall

Toyota announced the global recall of more than 400,000 of its 2010 hybrid models today.

Toyota announced the global recall of more than 400,000 of its 2010 hybrid models today.

Andrew Torgan
CNN Financial News Producer

Toyota’s troubles just refuse to go away. The Japanese auto giant today announced the global recall of more than 400,000 of its 2010 hybrid models, including the popular Prius, for problems in their anti-lock braking systems.

The worldwide recall involves 437,000 vehicles, including the Toyota Prius and the Lexus HS250h. Sales of the Lexus HS250h will be halted until a fix is in place.

Last week, Toyota acknowledged a problem with the software that controls the anti-lock braking system of the 2010 Prius and said it had already corrected the problem in cars that started to roll off the assembly line in Japan last month.

As recently as Friday, the company said a solution was near for the 200,000 of the 2010 model year Prius vehicles that have been sold in Japan and the 103,000 sold in the United States.

The Prius is the automaker's best-selling vehicle in Japan and its No. 4 seller in the United States.

And as Toyota's troubles mount, the automaker is gearing up for a new front in the battle to salvage its once-sterling image and credibility: Capitol Hill.

Toyota officials have been called to testify before two House panels this month, and the Senate may schedule one as well.

Slight improvement for job seekers

Despite the fact that there are nearly 15 million people out of work in this country, competition for new jobs is easing ever so slightly.

There are now about 5.9 job seekers, on average, competing for each job opening, according to the latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That's down from 6.4 the previous month - the greatest differential since the Labor Dept. began tracking job openings in December 2000.

It's the first time the ratio of job seekers to jobs dipped below six to one since June of last year. While that's a step in the right direction, it's still a far cry from pre-recession levels.

When the recession began in December 2007 there were only 1.7 workers per opening.

So where are the best places to find work? Consider hotels, casinos, hospitals or schools. Compared to other industries, the number of job openings as a percentage of total employment was greatest in the leisure and hospitality and education and health services industries, the report showed.

The match is back!

Finally, workers who took a hit on their savings last year might finally be in for some welcome news: Companies are stepping up efforts to help them save more for retirement.

Of companies that suspended or reduced 401(k) match programs, 80% planned to restore them this year, according to a survey conducted by Hewitt Associates, a global human resources consulting firm.

Large employers reinstating company matches for 2010 include American Express and FedEx.

Workers were dealt a double-blow during the recession, as historic stock market declines decimated retirement portfolios while companies slashed 401(k) matches to reduce costs.

And even though unemployment hovers at 9.7%, some experts say the restoration of company matches is a sign of employer confidence and may be a precursor to hiring.

Follow the money… on Twitter: @AndrewTorganCNN


Filed under: Andrew Torgan • Economy • Job Market
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