Sunday, May 26, 2024

AP morning business news brief: June 27, 2023

by BIZ Magazine

Still hiring: Big Tech layoffs give other sectors an opening

The recent mass layoffs at companies like Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Meta came as a shock the thousands of workers who’d never experienced upheaval in the tech sector. Now they are being courted by long-established employers whose names aren’t typically synonymous with tech work. Hotel chains, retailers, investment firms, railroad companies and even the IRS have signaled on recruiting platforms that they are hiring software engineers, data scientists and cybersecurity specialists. It’s a chance for them to level the playing field against tech giants that have long had their pick of the top talent. No employer is making a more aggressive push than the country’s largest: the federal government, which aims to hire 22,000 tech workers in fiscal 2023.

Stock market today: Wall Street rises as economy holds up better than feared

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street is drifting higher Tuesday after a round of reports suggested the economy is in better shape than feared. The S&P 500 was up 0.4% Tuesday. The Dow gained 94 points, or 0.3%, and the Nasdaq composite was 0.5% higher. Airlines helped to lead the way after Delta said demand for travel still looks strong, particularly among high-income passengers. That helped offset weakness for Walgreens Boots Alliance, which said it sees customers becoming more cautious amid high inflation. Readings released Tuesday morning on consumer confidence, sales of new homes and other areas of the economy all topped economists’ forecasts.

US consumer confidence jumps to highest level since early 2022

WASHINGTON (AP) — The American consumer’s confidence jumped in June to its highest level in 18 months as a strong labor market continues to buoy the U.S. economy. The Conference Board reported Tuesday that its consumer confidence index rose to 109.7 in June from 102.5 in May. That’s the highest the reading has been since January of 2022. The business research group’s present situation index — which measures consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions — rose to 155.3 from 148.9 in May. The board’s expectations index — a measure of consumers’ six-month outlook for income, business and labor conditions — climbed to 79.3 this month from 71.5 in May.

Meta launches more parental supervision tools for Instagram. Is it enough?

Instagram and Facebook’s parent company Meta is adding new parental supervision tools and privacy features to its platforms beginning Tuesday. The changes come as social media companies face increased scrutiny over how they impact teens’ mental health. But many of the features being added Tuesday require teens — and parents — to opt in, raising questions about how effective they are. Instagram, for instance, will now send a notice to teens after they have blocked someone. The message will encourage them to let their parents “supervise” their account. The idea is to get kids to engage their parents at a moment when they might be more open to guidance.

Farmers markets thrive as customers and vendors who latched on during the pandemic remain loyal

NEW YORK (AP) — Farmers markets gave people something they desperately sought during the pandemic: A place to shop outdoors, and at the same time support smaller, often local businesses. The markets are now building on that goodwill as the customers that became regulars and the vendors who set up shop in 2021 and 2022 return for the new season. Back in 2020, the markets were deemed non-essential and had been forced to close. Small vendors ranging from farm stands to dog treat makers say the markets offer them access to customers and a connection to the community.

Ex-Audi boss convicted of fraud in automaker’s diesel emissions scandal

BERLIN (AP) — Former Audi boss Rupert Stadler has been convicted in connection with the automaker’s diesel emissions scandal. He is the highest-ranking executive found guilty after cars cheated on emissions tests with the help of illegal software. A German court on Tuesday handed Stadler a suspended prison sentence of 21 months and ordered him to pay a large fine after he pleaded guilty last month in an agreement with prosecutors. The former head of Volkswagen’s luxury division admitted wrongdoing and regret for his failure to keep rigged cars off the market. The scandal cost Volkswagen more than $30 billion in fines and settlements and saw two U.S. executives sent to prison.

Ford cutting several hundred white-collar jobs to reduce cost amid transition to electric vehicles

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — Ford Motor Co. is going through another round of white-collar job cuts as the company continues to reduce costs amid a transition to electric vehicles. The company confirmed Tuesday that it was starting to notify several hundred engineers and other salaried employees that their jobs are being eliminated. The firings come after around 200 Ford contract employees were let go last week. Spokesman T.R. Reid wouldn’t give a specific number of Ford jobs that are being cut this week. They come as the company tries to make the transition from internal combustion vehicles to those powered by electricity. Reid says most of the cuts are in engineering, but all other business units will see reductions.

Europe’s interest rates to stay high as long as needed to defeat inflation, central bank chief says

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde is warning that inflation is holding its grip on the economy. She made clear in a speech Tuesday in Portugal that the bank intends to raise rates high enough to “break this persistence” and that they will stay high for as long as needed. Lagarde acknowledged that the inflation rate has fallen thanks to lower energy prices. Businesses initially passed on their rising costs by charging customers higher prices, a phase that’s starting to wane. Now, with unemployment low, workers are demanding higher wages to make up for lost purchasing power. That threatens to keep pushing up inflation in a wage-price spiral that the bank must prevent.

China’s premier says economic growth is accelerating and the country can hit its 5% target this year

BEIJING (AP) — China’s No. 2 leader says economic growth accelerated in the latest quarter and he expressed confidence it can hit the ruling Communist Party’s official target of 5% for the year. Premier Li Qiang spoke at a conference in the eastern city of Tianjin. Li gave no figure for the three months ending in June but said it was faster than the previous quarter’s 4.5%. The world’s second-largest economy rebounded from 2022’s unusually weak 3% growth after the end of anti-virus controls on travel and business activity. But that faded faster than expected. Li said, “We expect to achieve the economic growth rate of 5% determined at the start of the year.”

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