Business news

Administration to give $3 billion housing aid


WASHINGTON --- The Obama administration is providing $3 billion to unemployed homeowners facing foreclosure in the nation's toughest job markets.

The Treasury Department said Wednesday it will send $2 billion to 17 states that have jobless rates higher than the national average for a year. They will use the money to aid unemployed homeowners. Some states have already designed such programs.

California will get the largest share of money for the Treasury program, at $476 million. Georgia will get $127 million, and South Carolina will receive $59 million.

Got a record or bad credit? You're hired

WASHINGTON --- Companies using criminal records or bad credit reports to screen job applicants might run afoul of anti-discrimination laws as the government looks at hiring policies that can hurt blacks and Hispanics.

A blanket refusal to hire workers based on criminal records or credit problems can be illegal if it has a disparate impact on minorities, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said.

Justice Department statistics show that 38 percent of the U.S. prison population is black, while Latinos prison rates are 2.3 times higher than for whites.