Monday, May 20, 2024

Business Highlights: Jobless claims

by Associated Press

US jobless claims down 14,000 to 385,000 as economy rebounds

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell last week by 14,000 to 385,000, more evidence that the economy and the job market are rebounding briskly from the coronavirus recession. The Labor Department reported Thursday that unemployment claims — a proxy for layoffs — dropped last week from a revised 399,000 the week before. The applications have more or less fallen steadily since topping 900,000 in early January. Still, they remain high by historic levels: Before the pandemic slammed the United States in March 2020, they were coming in at around 220,000 a week.

McConnell: Democrats ‘won’t get our help’ to lift debt limit

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says his Republicans will oppose raising the federal debt limit if Democrats pursue their $3.5 trillion plan to strengthen social and environment programs. The Kentucky Republican’s threat was the most explicit he’s been about his desire to force Democrats into either of two unpalatable options. They could either take the politically unpopular step of unilaterally renewing the government’s ability borrowing authority, or to pare back President Joe Biden’s domestic policy agenda. His remarks suggest a showdown between the two parties, with the government’s financial soundness in the balance, may loom.

Apple to scan U.S. iPhones for images of child sexual abuse

NEW YORK (AP) — Apple is planning to scan U.S. iPhones for images of child sexual abuse, drawing applause from child protection groups but raising concern among some security researchers that the system could be misused by governments looking to surveil their citizens. The tool Apple calls “neuralMatch” will detect known images of child sexual abuse without decrypting people’s messages. If it finds a match, the image will be reviewed by a human who can notify law enforcement if necessary. But researchers say the tool could be put to other purposes such as government surveillance of dissidents or protesters.

Shipping snags prompt US firms to mull retreat from China

WASHINGTON (AP) — Importers are contending with a perfect storm of supply trouble — rising prices, overwhelmed ports, a shortage of ships, trains, trucks — that is expected to last into 2022. The experience is disturbing enough that many are reconsidering cost-saving decisions they made in recent years to shift production out of the United States to China and other low-cost producers. Now, they think, it might make sense to bring manufacturing back across the Pacific — at least to Mexico, if not the United States — to protect themselves from the risks of relying on factories an ocean away in China.

FAA head seeks more prosecution of unruly airline passengers

WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation’s top aviation regulator is asking local officials to consider filing criminal charges more often against people who act up during airline flights. Federal Aviation Administration chief Stephen Dickson says airline crews often ask police to meet their plane when it lands because of unruly passengers. In some cases, flight attendants report being assaulted. Dickson says many of the passengers are interviewed by police and then released without any charges. He calls that a missed opportunity to hold passengers accountable for dangerous behavior.

Stocks climb on Wall Street, notching more record highs

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks rose on Wall Street Thursday, notching more record highs for the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq. Investors were encouraged by improving job market data and some solid corporate earnings reports. The S&P 500 added 0.6% and the Nasdaq rose 0.8%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.8%. Smaller company stocks far outpaced the broader market. Weber, the pioneering maker of grills, rose sharply on its first day of trading. The gains were broad in what has been a choppy week of trading, during which tech stocks did particularly well. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.21%.

US trade deficit hits record $75.7 billion in June

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit increased to a record $75.7 billion in June as a rebounding American economy sent demand for imports surging. The Commerce Department reported Thursday that the deficit rose 6.7% from a revised May deficit of $71 billion. The June deficit set a record, topping the old mark of $75 billion set in March. The trade deficit represents the gap between what the country exports to the rest of the world and what it purchases from other countries. In June, exports edged up a modest 0.5% to $207.7 billion while imports surged 2.1% to $283.4 billion.

The S&P 500 gained 26.44 points, or 0.6%, to 4,429.10. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 271.58 points, or 0.8%, to 35,064.25. The Nasdaq added 114.58 points, or 0.8%, to 14,895.12. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies advanced 36.69 points, or 1.8%, to 2,236.01.

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