Millions to lose jobless aid as claims fall to pandemic low
WASHINGTON: Millions of jobless Americans who have depended on federal unemployment aid as a financial lifeline are about to lose those benefits just as the delta variant of the coronavirus poses a renewed threat to the economy and the job market. Two programs one that provides jobless aid to self-employed and gig workers, the other to people whove been unemployed for more than six months will expire Monday. As a result, an estimated 8.9 million people will lose these weekly benefit payments. An additional 2.1 million people will lose a $300-a-week federal supplemental unemployment payment, which also expires Monday. These recipients will continue to receive state unemployment benefits.
Deal with OxyContin maker leaves families angry, conflicted
NEW YORK: A landmark settlement in the nations opioid epidemic is forcing the owners of OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma to give up the company and pay out $4.5 billion. But many families of those who died from overdoses say its not enough. Theyre upset that the Sackler family behind Purdue Pharma will be able to keep much of their fortune and be protected from future opioid lawsuits. Other families who lost loved ones say they arent thrilled with the settlement but are supporting it because much of the money will go toward fighting opioid addiction through treatment and education programs.
GM, Ford halt some production as chip shortage worsens
DETROIT: The global shortage of computer chips is getting worse, forcing automakers to temporarily close factories including those that build popular pickup trucks. General Motors announced Thursday that it would pause production at eight North American plants during the next two weeks, including two that make the companys top-selling Chevrolet Silverado pickup. Ford will stop making pickups at its Kansas City Assembly Plant for the next two weeks. Shifts will be cut at two more truck plants in Dearborn, Michigan, and Louisville, Kentucky. Industry analysts say the delta variant of the novel coronavirus has hit employees at chip factories in southeast Asia hard, forcing some plants to close. Thats worsened a chip shortage that was starting to improve earlier in the summer.
Companies loosen job requirements but challenges remain
NEW YORK: A growing number of companies big and small are now dropping requirements that made it harder to hire, from minimum education levels to amount of experience. Drug store chain CVS announced earlier in August it would no longer require a minimum high school degree to fill entry level spots at its stores. Amazon said in June it would stop testing job seekers for marijuana. This comes even as many employers are being forced to raise hourly wages and perks like extra bonuses or more flexible scheduling in order to recruit workers. The chains say theyre making up for the lack of experience and education by doing a better job with training. But analysts say the moves still make them vulnerable.
Lean In circles help women in construction navigate bias
NEW YORK: The construction industry is fighting to recruit more women into a sector that faces chronic labor shortages. Women make up only 4% of skilled construction laborers in the U.S. and often face discrimination on jobs sites. The latest initiative to change that culture is Lean In Circle for Tradeswomen, launched by the North Americas Building Trades Unions and Facebook executive Sheryl Sandbergs Lean In advocacy group. About 700 tradeswomen are meeting in 76 small groups in the U.S. and Canada to share strategies on combatting bias.
US trade deficit narrows slightly to $70.1 billion in July
WASHINGTON: The U.S. trade deficit narrowed slightly to $70.1 billion in July as economic recovery overseas helped boost American exports while imports declined. The Commerce Department reported Thursday that the trade deficit fell 4.3% in July after surging to $73.2 billion in June. The trade deficit represents the gap between what the country exports to the rest of the world and the imports it purchases from other countries. In July, exports jumped 1.3%, reflecting revived overseas demand, while imports edged down 0.2%.
Xi says China will set up 3rd stock exchange in Beijing
BEIJING: President Xi Jinping says China will set up its third stock exchange to serve private companies in the capital, Beijing. The step adds to promises to support entrepreneurs in the state-dominated economy. The announcement comes as Chinas companies face potential new hurdles to raising money on Wall Street or in other Western markets as Beijing launches regulatory crackdowns and tightens political control. Xi gave no details of the planned Beijing exchange or when it might be set up.
Stocks shake off an afternoon stumble to end modestly higher
NEW YORK: The stock market recovered from an afternoon stumble and ended with modest gains Thursday, enough to mark more record highs for the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq. The S&P 500 added 0.3% while the Nasdaq managed a gain of 0.1%. Small-company stocks far outpaced the rest of the market, a sign that investors are feeling encouraged about the prospects for the economy. The Russell 2000 rose 0.7%, more than twice the gain of the S&P 500, which tracks large companies. Energy stocks did particularly well as the price of oil rose 2%. The yield on the 10-year Treasury slipped to 1.29%.
Electric boats making waves without the noise
NEW YORK: The auto industry has raced ahead on an electric wave with more manufacturers joining the race seemingly every day. The boating industry has sputtered far behind, bogged down by low-horsepower engines and batteries that take up nearly half the boat. Thats in the process of changing. Bolstered by new technology, the electric boats are now faster, have smaller batteries with longer ranges and are still zero emission. Electric boating has been embraced by celebrities like Drake, Robert De Niro and Greta Thunberg, according to Vision Marine. Many tour operators have turned to electric boats and so have cities for rental and water taxis.
The S&P 500 gained 12.86 points, or 0.3%, to 4,536.95. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 131.29 points, or 0.4%, to 35,443.82. The Nasdaq added 21.80 points, or 0.1%, to 15,331.18. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 16.96 points, or 0.7%, to 2,304.02.
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