Monday, April 15, 2024

Business Highlights: The scramble to hire, minimum tax

by Associated Press

As US companies scramble to hire, workers enjoy upper hand

WASHINGTON (AP) — With the economy growing rapidly as it reopens from the pandemic, many employers are becoming desperate to hire. Yet the evidence suggests that the unemployed as a group aren’t feeling much urgency to find work. How those two trends balance themselves out will likely set the pace for how many jobs employers can fill in the coming months. On Friday, economists expect the government to report that the economy added 675,000 jobs in June. That would be a substantial gain but nowhere as many hirings as would be expected given the demand for labor and the record number of openings employers are posting.

130 countries back deal on global minimum tax for companies

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Some 130 countries have backed a global minimum tax as part of a worldwide effort to keep multinational firms from dodging taxes by shifting their profits to countries with low rates. The agreement announced by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development also provides for taxing the largest global companies in countries where they earn profits through online businesses but may have no physical presence. The deal now will be discussed by the Group of 20 countries at meetings later this year in hopes of finishing the details in October and implementing the agreement in 2023.

Wall Street hits another record; energy stocks, banks gain

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks ended broadly higher Thursday, adding to the gains that helped the market close out its best first half of a year since the dotcom bubble. The S&P 500 gained 0.5% and posted its fourth-consecutive record high. Investors have been encouraged by data that show the economy continues its recovery from the pandemic. The latest weekly unemployment report showed the lowest number of claims for unemployment benefits since the pandemic walloped the economy. The highly anticipated jobs report for June comes out Friday. Oil rose more than 2%, giving a boost to energy companies. Bond yields edged higher and helped lift bank stocks.

US jobless claims fall to 364,000, a new pandemic low

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans applying for unemployment aid fell again last week to the lowest level since the pandemic struck last year, further evidence that the job market and the broader economy are rebounding rapidly from the coronavirus recession. Jobless claims dropped by 51,000 to 364,000. Applications for unemployment benefits have fallen more or less steadily since the year began. The rollout of vaccines has sharply reduced new COVID-19 cases, giving consumers the confidence to shop, travel, eat out and attend public events as the economy recovers.

CBO projects federal deficit will hit $3 trillion this year

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Congressional Budget Office says the federal budget deficit will again hit $3 trillion this year. That’s $745 billion more than its estimate five months ago as it takes into account the cost of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus rescue plan. In an updated forecast, the CBO said the deficit for the current 2021 budget year, which ends Sept. 30, will be the second largest in history but slightly lower than last year’s record deficit of $3.13 trillion. The higher deficit will push federal debt to 102.7% of the total economy this year up from 100.1% of the economy last year. Both figures were the highest debt levels since the end of World War II.

US manufacturing activity grows, but slightly slower in June

SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — Growth in U.S. manufacturing slowed slightly in June, as supply chain problems persist and businesses say they are still struggling to find workers. The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, said Thursday that its index of manufacturing activity ticked down in June to a reading of 60.6 from 61.2 in May. Any reading above 50 indicates manufacturing is expanding. June was the 13th consecutive month manufacturing has grown after contracting in April 2020, when coronavirus fears triggered business shutdowns across the country.

US construction spending fell 0.3% in May, housing slowing

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. construction spending fell 0.3% in May. Growth in housing spending, the economy’s standout performer, slowed while activity in areas most directly impacted by the pandemic showed further weakness. The Commerce Department reported Thursday that the May decline followed a slight 0.1% rise in April and left overall construction spending up 7.5% from a year ago. Housing construction, which has been a leading force for the economy during the pandemic, posted a tiny 0.2% gain in May as single-family home construction rose 0.8% while apartments and other multifamily construction was flat. Nonresidential construction activity fell 1.1% in May with hotel and motel construction and the category that covers shopping centers both falling.

Glazed over: Krispy Kreme rises 23.5% in Wall Street return

NEW YORK (AP) — Investors, it turns out, were in the mood for donuts. Shares of the Krispy Kreme chain returned to Wall Street and rose 23.5% Thursday, despite getting off to a bit of a lackluster start. The Charlotte, North Carolina-based company known for its glazed doughnuts priced its initial public offering of 29.4 million shares at $17 a piece. That’s well below the $21 to $24 it was seeking. It raised $500 million and plans to use proceeds to pay down debt. The stock trading on Nasdaq under the “DNUT” ticker symbol opened Thursday at $16.30 but then moved higher before finishing the day at $21.

The S&P 500 rose 22.44 points, or 0.5%, to 4,319.94. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 131.02 points, or 0.4%, to 34,633.53. The Nasdaq advanced 18.42 points, or 0.1%, to 14,522.38. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies added 18.81 points, or 0.8%, to 2,329.36.

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