Business Highlights: Old jobs go wanting, White House memo

Changed by pandemic, many workers won’t return to old jobs

NEW YORK (AP) — Many workers emerging from the pandemic don’t want to return to the jobs they once had. Layoffs and lockdowns combined with enhanced unemployment benefits and stimulus checks gave many Americans the time and the financial cushion to rethink their careers. Some employers and business groups are calling for an end to the $300-per-week federal unemployment supplement, saying it’s giving recipients less incentive to look for work. But a senior economist with the Economic Policy Institute, says health concerns and child care responsibilities are the main reasons holding workers back.


WH memo sees economic strength where critics see fragility

WASHINGTON (AP) — White House officials are seeking to quell any anxiety about inflation and the pace of hiring. They issued a memo Tuesday that highlights robust economic gains as the United States gets vaccinated and recovers from the coronavirus pandemic. The memo obtained by The Associated Press makes the case to senior administration officials and members of Congress that the $1.9 trillion relief package has helped boost growth and that workers will return to jobs with “fair wages and safe work environments.” It also argues that President Joe Biden’s $4 trillion infrastructure and families plan will lay “the groundwork for strong, durable growth for decades to come.”


Retailer results so far show people are going out, spending

NEW YORK (AP) — Newly vaccinated shoppers are emerging from their homes and going out again and that, along with government stimulus payments, is helping to boost Walmart’s and Macy’s quarterly results. Walmart boosted its annual earnings-per-share outlook while Macy’s surprisingly swung back into the profit column and it boosted its guidance for all of 2021. Home Depot, the nation’s largest home improvement chain, also delivered stellar results on Tuesday.


Biden reverses Trump changes to bank antidiscrimination law

NEW YORK (AP) — The Biden administration is repealing changes made by the Trump administration to an important law aimed at stopping banks from discriminating against racial minorities and the poor. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency says it plans to start from scratch on its regulations involving the Community Reinvestment Act. The agency told banks to effectively ignore the 2020 changes. Activists argued that Trump administration’s changes to the law would have made it easier for many large banks to pass exams required under the law.


A late drop leaves Wall Street indexes lower, led by tech

NEW YORK (AP) — An afternoon drop led by big technology stocks left major market indexes broadly lower on Wall Street Tuesday. The S&P 500 lost 0.9%, with most of those losses coming in the last hour of trading. Apple, Facebook and Google’s parent company all lost 1% or more. Walmart rose after reporting strong results driven by higher online sales. AT&T had the biggest loss in the S&P 500 a day after the company said it would offload its recently acquired media businesses including HBO and CNN into a new company with assets from Discovery Communications. Crude oil prices fell and Treasury yields held steady.


Vote? Not yet. Invest? Yes. Fidelity launches teen accounts

NEW YORK (AP) — Fidelity is launching a new type of account for teenagers to save, spend and invest their money. The account is for 13- to 17-year-olds, and it will allow them to deposit cash, have a debit card and trade stocks and funds. The teens can make their own trades through a simplified experience on Fidelity’s mobile app, with zero account fees or minimum balances, though the youth account requires a parent or guardian to have their own Fidelity account as well. It’s the latest step in a broad push by the industry to draw more first-time investors into the market.


US home construction falls a surprise 9.5% in April

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home construction fell a surprisingly sharp 9.5% in April. Analysts attribute part of the decline to builders holding back on starting new construction because of a surge in lumber prices and other supply constraints. The Commerce Department said Tuesday that the April decline left construction at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.57 million units. That was down from a rate of 1.73 million units in March. Applications for building permits rose 0.3% in April to an annual rate of 1.76 million units, suggesting that the April construction dip will be temporary.


Bank of America to raise minimum wage to $25/hr by 2025

NEW YORK (AP) — Consumer banking giant Bank of America plans to set the minimum wage for all positions at the company to $25 an hour by 2025, the bank said Tuesday. It’s the latest wage increase that BofA and other banks have done over the last several years, following pressure from outside groups to address wealth inequality in this country. It will also be the highest minimum wage paid by a big bank, and will likely put pressure on other banks to do the same.


Amazon to extend pause on police use of facial recognition

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon says it will extend its ban on police use of its face-recognition technology beyond the one-year pause it announced last year. Amazon and other technology companies have been under pressure from civil rights activists and their own workers to halt the sale of face-recognition technology to law enforcement agencies. One concern is that the technology can incorrectly identify people with darker skin. Last June, Amazon announced that it would pause use of its facial-recognition for a year. Seattle-based Inc. didn’t say on Tuesday why its ban was extended or how long it would last.


The S&P 500 fell 35.46 points, or 0.9%, to 4,127.83. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 267.13 points, or 0.8%, to 34,060.66. The Nasdaq fell 75.41 points, or 0.6%, to 13,303.64. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 16.24 points, or 0.7%, to 2,210.88.

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