Monday, April 22, 2024

Business Highlights: AI job interviews

by Associated Press

Want a job? Employers say: Talk to the computer

Online services that interview job applicants remotely by webcam and use artificial intelligence to assess their skills mushroomed in popularity during the pandemic and into the subsequent economic recovery. But the technology raises questions about whether computers can accurately and fairly judge a person’s character traits and emotional cues. The dominant provider, HireVue, recently announced it would stop trying to read people’s facial expressions, but it still makes assessments based on an analysis of their speech and the words they choose. Some governments are pushing for more transparency to ensure the technology isn’t discriminating based on race, gender, accents and other factors.

MacKenzie Scott, citing wealth gap, donates $2.7 billion

MacKenzie Scott, the billionaire philanthropist known for her impromptu multi-billion dollar donations to charities and racial equity causes, announced Tuesday that she has given $2.7 billion to 286 organizations. It is the third round of major philanthropic gifts Scott has made, which together rival the charitable contributions made by the largest foundations. She made clear in her announcement that she is troubled by the increasing concentration of vast wealth among a small proportion of individuals. She and her husband, Dan Jewett, worked with a team of researchers and philanthropy advisors “to give away a fortune that was enabled by systems in need of change.”

May retail sales fell 1.3% as Americans spend less on goods

NEW YORK (AP) — Retail sales fell in May, dragged down by a decline in auto sales and a shift by Americans to spend more on vacations and other services instead of goods. Total sales dropped a seasonal adjusted 1.3% in May from the month before, the U.S. Commerce Department said Tuesday. Wall Street analysts expected a smaller decline of 0.5%. But the agency did revise April’s number upward to a 0.9% increase. As more Americans are vaccinated and want to head out more, they are spending more of their money on haircuts, trips and other services that are not included in Tuesday’s report.

Record rise in US wholesale prices over the past year

WASHINGTON (AP) — Wholesale prices, boosted by rising food costs, increased 0.8% in May, and are up by a record amount over the past year, another indication that inflation pressures are rising since the economy has begun to re-open following the pandemic lockdowns. The Labor Department reported Tuesday that the monthly gain in its producer price index, which measures inflation pressures before they reach consumers, followed a 0.6% increase in April and a 1% jump in March. Food prices rose a hefty 2.6% while energy costs were up 2.2%. Over the past 12 months, wholesale prices are up 6.6%, the largest 12-month increase on records going back to 2010.

US stocks dip from records ahead of Fed decision on rates

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks eased back below their record heights Tuesday as investors waited to hear whether the mixed bag of data coming in about the economy will push the Federal Reserve to let up on its massive support for markets. The S&P 500 fell 0.2%. It was down as much as 0.4% earlier, after a report showed inflation on the wholesale level leaped last month by more than economists expected. The worry is that if high inflation proves to be longer lasting than the Fed expects, it may have to halt its bond purchases and raise interest rates.

Startup Lordstown Motors says production still on track

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Startup electric truck maker Lordstown Motors says it’s still on track to begin production this fall despite a bumpy past week. Company executives in Ohio said Tuesday that they have enough orders and cash on hand to keep operating through next May. That comes a day after the company’s top two executives resigned and less than a week after Lordstown Motors cautioned it may not be in business a year from now. The startup that plans to begin production at a former General Motors plant near Youngstown has struggled to secure funding and firm vehicle orders.

California fully reopens after being 1st to shut in pandemic

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom has celebrated the lifting of most COVID-19 restrictions in the nation’s most populated state. The governor visited Universal Studios Hollywood on Tuesday to host a lottery-style selection of 10 winners who will get $1.5 million each simply for being vaccinated. California was the first state in America to put in place a coronavirus lockdown, but it has turned a page on the pandemic. Most of California’s coronavirus restrictions are over, including capacity limits at businesses, masks and social distancing. Newsom pointed to the 40 million-plus doses of vaccine administered and the resulting plunge in cases as the reason for the reopening.

The S&P 500 fell 8.56 points, or 0.2%, to 4,246.59. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 94.42 points, or 0.3%, to 34,299.33. The Nasdaq dropped 101.29 points, or 0.7%, to 14,072.86. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies lost 6.07 points, or 0.3%, to 2,320.07.

You may also like

Update Required Flash plugin