A news summary, focused on big employers; updated 9:16 p.m.
FORD is recalling about 271,000 2013-14 F-150 pickups with 3.5-liter V-6 engines because the brakes may malfunction, the automaker said today. The company said it was aware of nine accidents but no injuries (New York Times). Also, Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr. defended the automaker against blistering criticism by White House candidate Donald Trump, saying it should be held up as an example of a company doing things right. Trump has called Ford’s decision to build a $1.6 billion assembly plant in Mexico an “absolute disgrace” that would not happen if he becomes president (Detroit News).
In December, Ford said it would invest $1.3 billion in its Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, creating 2,000 jobs. The expansion is for the launch of the new 2017 Ford F-Series Super Duty truck (press release). More about Ford’s Louisville factories. Also, Ford said today it will release its May U.S. sales figures around 9:15 a.m. June 1, followed by a conference call to discuss the results (press release).
UPS is doubling the size of an expansion announced last fall that was already going to add another 300 jobs to the so-called Centennial Hub; it’s unclear whether the bigger project will require even more hiring (Courier-Journal). UPS originally announced the project last October, saying it would cost $300 million and would be substantially complete by 2018 (press release).
HUMANA: Missouri’s insurance regulators are asking Humana and Aenta to make changes before the state approves their pending $34 billion merger announced July 3 (Business First).
KINDRED‘s shareholders approved the executive compensation plan during a non-binding advisory vote today at their annual meeting. They also re-elected the full slate of 11 directors to the governing board; the company didn’t provide a vote breakdown, which will likely come in a future regulatory filing (press release).
CHURCHILL DOWNS broke ground yesterday on a previously announced $25 million expansion of its Oxford Casino in Maine. The project includes a 106-room hotel, new dining, and an expanded gaming area. Churchill bought the casino in 2013 (WLBZ).
AMAZON said today it would open a second distribution center in Joliet, Ill., 46 miles southwest of Chicago. The company will create more than 2,000 full-time jobs at the facility in addition to the 1,500 full-time employees currently working at its existing Joliet center (press release). The city has 148,000 residents; more census facts. Also, the company plans to expand its Fresh grocery delivery service this year to new markets including Boston (Recode). More about Amazon’s Louisville area operations.
In other news, Bardstown Road is getting another craft beer restaurant: The Eagle, which has locations in Cincinnati and Indianapolis. It’s taking the space now occupied by El Camino, which is moving to another, undisclosed location two miles away and with half the current 300 seats (Insider Louisville). The Eagle will join the soon-to-open HopCat at Grinstead and Bardstown, which will have 130 craft beers and seating for 600. Also in the works: Sterling Brewing has announced plans for a restaurant at 1300 Bardstown Road (Courier-Journal). And there are already so many more.
Elsewhere in hospitality land, the average Louisville hotel room rate will jump 13.9 percent to $119.35 by 2020, according to a new report (Insider Louisville).
Finally, U.S. stocks soared for the second consecutive day after positive economic data, rising oil prices, and a new debt deal for Greece. The Dow Jones Industrial average and other major indices all closed up nearly 1% after similar gains yesterday (Google Finance). Nearly all 11 big-employer shares in the Boulevard Stock Portfolio rose, too.