Desperate for workers, US restaurants and stores raise pay
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. restaurants and stores are rapidly raising pay in an urgent effort to attract more applicants and keep up with a flood of customers as the pandemic eases. McDonald’s, Sheetz and Chipotle are just some of the latest companies to follow Amazon, Walmart and Costco in boosting wages, in some cases to $15 an hour or higher. The pay gains are, of course, a boon to these employees. Restaurants, bars, hotels and stores remain the lowest-paying industries, and many of their workers ran the risk of contracting COVID-19 on the job over the past year while white-collar employees were able to work from home.
US jobless claims fall to 473K as more GOP governors bar aid
WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell last week to 473,000, a new pandemic low and the latest evidence that fewer employers are cutting jobs as consumers ramp up spending and more businesses reopen. The decline — the fourth in the past five weeks — coincides with a rash of states led by Republican governors that have blamed expanded jobless benefits for a slowdown in hiring and are acting to cut off the additional aid. Thursday’s report from the Labor Department showed that applications declined 34,000 from a revised 507,000 a week earlier. The number of weekly jobless claims — a rough measure of the pace of layoffs — has fallen significantly from a peak of 900,000 in January.
Biden pledges aggressive response to pipeline cyberattackers
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden pledged an aggressive response to the cyberattack that temporarily shut down the Colonial Pipeline and warned gasoline stations on Thursday not to engage in price gouging as motorists wait for fuel to start flowing back to their communities. “Do not, I repeat, do not try to take advantage of consumers during this time,” Biden said at the White House. “Nobody should be using this situation for financial gain. That’s what the hackers are trying to do. That’s what they’re about, not us. That’s not who we are.” The closed pipeline — which reopened Wednesday — posed a fresh set of risks to a presidency still in its early stages.
Back to square one? Trump decision still weighs on Facebook
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Suppose you were Mark Zuckerberg, recently ordered by an advisory board to decide how long former President Donald Trump should stay banned from Facebook. How do you make that decision without alienating key constituencies — advertisers, shareholders, users, lawmakers and others — while staying true to your own sense of what Facebook should be? It’s a hypothetical exercise, but one that illustrates the high-wire act Facebook’s leadership now has to pull off. Facebook’s quasi-independent oversight board last week said the company was justified in suspending Trump because of his role in inciting deadly violence at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Disney Q2 revenue drops on continued weakness in parks
NEW YORK (AP) — Disney second-quarter revenue dropped as the pandemic continued to weigh on its parks and theme parks. Disney+ subscriptions continued to surge but missed some analyst expectations. Still, net income beat expectations and CEO Bob Chapek said signs of recovery can be seen across the company’s business as the pandemic begins to wane. Disney+ subscribers more than doubled from a year ago to 103.6 million subscribers as of April 3. That was lower than the 109.3 million analyst expected, according to FactSet. Chapek said the company is still on track to reach its goal of 230 to 260 million subscribers for Disney+ by 2024.
Amazon seeks to hire 75,000; offers $100 to vaccinated hires
NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon is seeking to hire 75,000 people in a tight job market and is offering bonuses to attract workers, including $100 for new hires who are already vaccinated for COVID-19. The jobs are for delivery and warehouse workers, who pack and ship online orders. Amazon, which already pays at least $15 an hour, gave out raises for some of its workers last month, and the company said Thursday that new hires will make an average of $17 an hour. The hiring spree comes as the company gears up for Prime Day next month, its popular sales event that has become one of the busiest shopping days of the year for Amazon.
Big 0.6% April wholesale price jump catches many off guard
WASHINGTON (AP) — Wholesale prices, driven by escalating costs for services and food, jumped 0.6% in April, surprising economists and providing more evidence that inflation pressures are starting to mount with the country emerging from a recession brought on by the pandemic. The increase in the producer price index, which measures inflationary pressures before they reach consumers, was double the 0.3% gain that economists had been expecting. The increase, reported Thursday by the Labor Department, followed a sizable 1% advance in March. Over the past 12 months, wholesale prices are up 6.2%, the largest advance since the data was first calculated in 2010.
Stocks climb after three days of losses, led by Big Tech
NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street put the brakes on a three-day losing streak with a broad stock market rally Thursday powered by Big Tech companies and banks. The S&P 500 notched a 1.2% gain, clawing back almost half of its loss from a day earlier, when it had its biggest one-day drop since February. Even so, the benchmark index is on track for a 2.8% weekly decline, which would be its largest since January. The other major indexes were also on pace for sharp weekly declines, despite recouping some of their losses. Technology stocks led the gainers after sinking earlier in the week as investors fretted about signs of rising inflation.
The S&P 500 rose 49.46 points, or 1.2%, to 4,112.50. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 433.79, or 1.3%, to 34,021.45. The Nasdaq rose 93.31 points, or 0.7%, to 13,124.99. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 35.81 points, or 1.7%, to 2,170.95.