Business Briefs: Pa. hiring expectations similar to six months ago

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Hiring expectations similar

Hiring expectations among owners of small and mid-sized businesses in Pennsylvania are similar to what they were six months ago but weaker than a year ago, according to PNC Bank's semi-annual economic outlook survey. Fourteen percent of business owners said they planned to add staff over the next six months. That compared with 13 percent last fall and 18 percent one year ago. One-third (34 percent) said they were holding back on hiring until the local economy improves.

Facebook offers new software

Facebook unveiled smartphone software Thursday that puts social-networking features front and center on a handset, stepping up efforts to boost sales of advertising on small screens. The new software, which the company calls Home, makes it easier to access Facebook features on a smartphone's home screen, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said today in Menlo Park, Calif. The application is available starting April 12 on Samsung Electronics Co. and HTC Corp. phones that run Google Inc.'s Android operating system.

Walgreens expands treatment

Walgreen Co. is stretching the reach of its drugstore clinics beyond treating ankle sprains and sinus infections to handling chronic diseases such as diabetes, asthma and high blood pressure. The company, based in Deerfield, Ill., said Thursday that most of its roughly 370 in-store Take Care Clinics now will diagnose, treat and monitor patients with some chronic conditions that are typically handled by doctors. CVS Caremark Corp. already monitors chronic conditions at most of its 640 MinuteClinics.

Fast-food wage protest in NYC

Hundreds of fast food workers and supporters protested in New York City Thursday demanding higher wages for their low-paying jobs. The protesters want fast food restaurants to pay $15 per hour, almost double the current statewide average pay of $8.25 per hour. Fast food workers deserve union representation, said Richard Trumka, national president of the AFL-CIO. "They're being mistreated, they're being underpaid, they're going to stand together until they get fair treatment and we're going to stand with them."

Best Buy, Samsung plan kiosks

Best Buy announced plans Thursday to create store-within-store kiosks for Samsung products. The Minneapolis-based company will offer the full range of Samsung's mobile products, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, cameras and accessories. It's also a way for Samsung to carve out dedicated retail space without investing in overhead necessary to open its own stores, like its chief rival, Apple Inc., has done.

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