Business Highlights: Board diversity, job openings

Study: Racial diversity stagnated on corporate boards

NEW YORK (AP) — Many top U.S. companies have rushed to appoint Black members to their boards of directors in the wake of the racial justice protests that swept the country last year. But in the two years preceding the protests, progress on bringing racial diversity to boards had stagnated, a new study revealed Tuesday. The Board Diversity Census, conducted by the Alliance of Board Diversity and the consulting firm Deloitte, points to the steep deficit companies face when it comes to fulfilling pledges to diversity their ranks. An overwhelming 82.5% of directors among Fortune 500 company boards are white. The census suggests that, until last year, attention to racial diversity took something of a backseat to gender equality in boardrooms.


US job openings surge to record 9.3 million in April

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers posted a record 9.3 million job openings in April as the U.S. economy reopens at break-neck speed. Openings were up 12% from 8.3 million in March. But employers hired just 6.1 million, up 1% from March, according to a Labor Department report out Tuesday, suggesting that job vacancies are opening faster than companies can fill them. Hotels and restaurants, reopening after being forced to close or curb hours during the coronavirus pandemic, reported the biggest increase in job openings. The number of Americans quitting their job rose 11% to almost 4 million in April, the highest figure in records going back to 2000.


ProPublica: Many of the uber-rich pay next to no income tax

WASHINGTON (AP) — The richest 25 Americans pay less in tax — 15.8% of adjusted gross income — than many ordinary workers do, once you include taxes for Social Security and Medicare, the nonprofit investigative journalism organization ProPublica found. An anonymous source delivered to ProPublica reams of Internal Revenue Service data on the country’s wealthiest people, including Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch and Mark Zuckerberg. ProPublica compared the tax data it received with information available from other sources. Using perfectly legal tax strategies, many of the uber-rich are able to whittle their federal tax bills down to nothing or close to it.


Global glitch: Swaths of internet go down after cloud outage

LONDON (AP) — The online world has received a lesson on how vital a small number of behind-the-scenes companies have become to running the internet. On Tuesday, dozens of websites briefly went offline around the globe, including CNN, The New York Times and Britain’s government home page, after an outage at the cloud service Fastly. The company has indicated the outage appeared to be caused internally. Brief internet service outages are not uncommon and are only rarely the result of hacking or other mischief. Still, major futures markets in the U.S. dipped sharply minutes after the outage, which came a month after a cyberattack forced the shutdown of the biggest fuel pipeline in the U.S.


Retailers shine a spotlight on Black-owned beauty brands

NEW YORK (AP) — Beauty retailers like Ulta and Sephora are ramping up their beauty products from Black-owned companies as a key strategy to combat racial bias in their stores. They’re developing entrepreneurship programs to help budding Black owners and hoping to create a pipeline of new talent. The moves are part of an overall effort by retailers to have their store shelves better reflect the U.S. Black population and come after years of Black-owned brands struggling to get access to stores and funding. Still, while Black entrepreneurs praise these moves, they worry the progress is still slow and they’re afraid the efforts won’t be long-lasting.


Pipeline CEO defends paying ransom amid cyberattack

WASHINGTON (AP) — A pipeline company CEO made no apologies Tuesday for his decisions to abruptly halt fuel distribution for much of the East Coast and pay millions to a criminal gang in Russia. This, as he faced down one of the most disruptive ransomware attacks in U.S. history. Colonial Pipeline CEO Joseph Blount says he had no choice, telling members of a Senate committee uneasy with his actions that he feared far worse consequences given the uncertainty the company was confronting in the early hours of the attack last month. His testimony to the Senate Homeland Security Committee on the May 7 cyberattack provided a rare window into the dilemma faced by the private sector amid a storm of ransomware attacks.


Stocks end mostly higher; Wendy’s becomes latest meme stock

NEW YORK (AP) — Major indexes closed mostly higher on Wall Street, thanks largely to gains in a handful of Big Tech companies. Small-company stocks continued to outpace the rest of the market, while investors’ attention turned to huge gains in a new batch of “meme” stocks favored by online investors using social media, including Wendy’s and Clover Health. The S&P 500 was nearly unchanged, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 0.3%. Fastly, an internet cloud services provider, rose 10.8% after the company said it had addressed an internal problem that caused dozens of websites around the globe to go down briefly. Treasury yields fell.


The S&P 500 rose 0.74, or less than 0.1%, to 4,227.26. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 30.42 points, or 0.1%, to 34,599.82. The Nasdaq gained 43.19 points, or 0.3%, to 13,924.91. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies added 24.58 points, or 1.1%, to 2,343.76.

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