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Recognition…Gabby Jones for the New York Times
With the pace of vaccination increasing and pandemic restrictions eased, the economy is on the verge of a dynamic recovery. One measure, however, has continued to thwart the resurgence: the number of weekly jobless claims that have been stubbornly high for months, even as businesses reopen and vaccination rates rise.
After the new claims hit a pandemic low in mid-March, initial claims for state unemployment benefits have risen as the impact of the pandemic continues to affect the economy. Last week, the Ministry of Labor announced that a total of 741,000 workers had applied for state unemployment benefits for the first time.
The Department of Labor will publish its latest weekly unemployment claims report on Thursday. If the number of applications falls, confidence in the upturn in the labor market will increase again after the recent bump. However, if it does increase, there will be a strong indication of the ongoing strain on the workforce from the pandemic.
In any case, unemployment claims could remain much higher for the next few months than they were before the pandemic as the labor market adapts to a new normal.
“The labor market conditions for job seekers improved very quickly between January and now,” said Julia Pollak, labor economist at the ZipRecruiter construction site. “But there are still major barriers to getting back to work.”
Workplace safety concerns remain particularly among workers who have not yet been vaccinated. Many children still attend schools remotely, making full-time job prospects difficult for their caregivers.
But there is hope on the horizon when these barriers begin to fall. President Biden extended the deadline for states to qualify all adults for vaccination to April 19, and every state has complied. Students who have learned from a distance return to class in earnest.
“This has been the deepest and fastest recession ever, but it will also be the fastest rebound,” said Ms. Pollak. “And I don’t think we should lose sight of that just because some of the measures are a bit persistent.”
Recognition…Gabby Jones for the New York Times
US stocks are expected to rise when trading begins Thursday as more companies report earnings for the first quarter and retail sales are expected to show a sharp spike in spending in March.
The S&P 500 is expected to open 0.5 percent higher, according to futures.
After debuting in the bumper market, Coinbase shares rose 11 percent in premarket trading. On Wednesday, the cryptocurrency exchange closed its first day of trading at $ 328.28 per share, valuing the company at nearly $ 86 billion – more than ten times its last valuation as a private company.
Bank of America’s shares rose 2.5 percent in premarket trading after the company posted better-than-expected sales and trading revenue. Together with its colleagues, the bank reports a leap in profit. On Wednesday executives at Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo delivered optimistic economic forecasts.
According to economists polled by Bloomberg, retail sales rose 5.8 percent in March, recovering from a 3 percent decline in the previous month.
Elsewhere in the markets
The yields on 10-year US Treasury bills fell 1.61 percent. On Wednesday, Federal Reserve chairman Jerome H. Powell reiterated the central bank’s intention to keep monetary policy accommodative for a long time. He said the bank will likely slow its bond-buying program “long before” its key rate hike.
The European stock indices also rose. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose for the third time in a row. It rose 0.3 percent to a record high.
The Russian ruble fell 1.2 percent against the dollar on Thursday. The Biden government is expected to announce a range of measures against Russia, including financial sanctions for hacking state and private networks and a host of other activities.
Recognition…Ilana Panich-Linsman for the New York Times
The semiconductor shortage caused by pandemic disruptions and production problems in multi-billion dollar chip factories has sent shock waves through the economy. Questions about chips are rising among businesses and policymakers alike trying to cope with the world’s dependence on the small components.
The main focus was on the temporary closure of large US auto plants. But the chips are in everything from cash registers to kitchen appliances, and the problem affects many other sectors, particularly the server systems and PCs that are used to provide and use internet services that were vital during the pandemic, reports Don Clark for the New York Times.
“Every aspect of human existence goes online, and every aspect of it runs on semiconductors,” said Pat Gelsinger, the new CEO of chipmaker Intel, who attended the meeting with the president on Monday. “People ask us for more.”
The chip shortage may affect almost every company that adds communications or computing capabilities to products. Many examples were detailed in 90 comments submitted by companies and trade groups on President Biden’s supply chain review, including a laundry list of requirements from industry giants like Amazon and Boeing.
Dan Rozycki is the president of a small engineering firm that sells small sensors that monitor construction sites to make sure the concrete is setting properly. His company is one of the lucky chip users for the time being. It planned ahead and has enough chips to continue manufacturing the roughly 50,000 sensors it delivers to construction sites every year. But his dealer has warned him that he may not be able to deliver more of this until late 2022, he said.
“Will that stop these projects?” Mr. Rozycki asked. He searches the market for other traders who may have the two chips he needs in stock. Other options include redesigning the sensors to use different chips.
Recognition…Jenny Kane / Associated Press
An international coalition of 35 children’s and consumer groups called Instagram Thursday to discard their plans to develop a version of the popular photo-sharing app for users under the age of 13.
Instagram is pushing for a separate kids app after years of complaints from legislators and parents that the platform is slow to identify underage users and protect them from sexual predators and bullying.
However, in a letter to Mark Zuckerberg, the executive director of Facebook – the company that owns the photo-sharing service – the nonprofit groups warned that a children’s version of Instagram would not alleviate such problems. While 10- to 12-year-olds with Instagram accounts probably wouldn’t switch to a “babyish version” of the app, younger students could be locked into endless routines of scrolling and shame about body images.
“While collecting valuable family data and cultivating a new generation of Instagram users can be beneficial to the bottom line of Facebook,” the groups led by the Boston Ad-Free Childhood Campaign said in the letter to Mr. Zuckerberg, ” it will likely increase the use of Instagram by young children, who are particularly vulnerable to the platform’s manipulative and exploitative features. “
The Africa Digital Rights’ Hub in Ghana is part of the coalition of non-profit groups; the Australian Council on Children and the Media; the Center for Digital Democracy in Washington; Common Sense Media in San Francisco; the Consumer Federation of America; and the 5Rights Foundation in the UK.
Stephanie Otway, a Facebook spokeswoman, said Instagram is in the early stages of developing a service for children to keep the under-13s away from its main platform. Although Instagram requires a minimum of 13 users, many younger kids have lied about their ages in order to set up accounts.
Ms. Otway said the company would not display ads on Instagram products designed for children under the age of 13 and that it intends to consult child health and safety experts about the project. Instagram is also working on new age verification methods to catch younger users trying to tell lies about their age, she said.
“The reality is that children are online,” said Ms. Otway. “They want to connect, have fun, and learn with their family and friends, and we want to help them do so in a safe and age-appropriate manner.”
A former editor of Vanity Fair has been working on creating a new digital publication in which the authors will share in the subscription income – Vanity Fair meets Substack. The new company behind the release, Heat Media, is hoping to showcase it in the coming months, said four people with knowledge of the matter. The start-up comes in part from Jon Kelly, a former editor at Vanity Fair. One of the supporters is private equity firm TPG, which would take three seats on Heat Media’s board of directors. Another investor is 40 North, a related investment arm of Standard Industries, a global industrial company. According to the population, Heat Media has raised around $ 7 million so far.
Kimberly Godwin, a veteran CBS News executive, was named the next president of ABC News on Wednesday. This makes her the first black woman to head the news department of a large radio network. Ms. Godwin succeeds James Goldston, who announced his resignation from ABC in January. It will start work at the beginning of May. Ms. Godwin most recently served as Executive Vice President of News at CBS.