Tue, Oct 12, 2021 12:46 PM
Stocks wobble ahead of corporate earnings, inflation data
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are wobbling on Wall Street as traders wait for more data on inflation and corporate earnings this week. The S&P 500, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq were all down 0.2% in afternoon trading. A mix of retailers and other companies that rely on direct consumer spending gained ground, but those gains were offset by falling technology and communications stocks. U.S. crude oil prices rose were holding above $80 a barrel. European markets were mostly lower and Asian markets also closed mostly lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.59%.
Americans quit their jobs at a record pace in August
WASHINGTON (AP) — A new report illustrates one reason U.S. employers are having trouble filling jobs: Americans are quitting in droves. The Labor Department says quits jumped to 4.3 million in August, the highest on records dating back to December 2000, and up from 4 million in July. Hiring also slowed in August. The report shows the number of jobs available fell to 10.4 million from a record high of 11.1 million the previous month. The data strongly suggests that the delta variant wreaked havoc on the job market in August. As COVID-19 cases surged, quits jumped in restaurants and hotels and rose in other public-facing jobs, such as retail and education.
Companies scraping for staff ahead of the holidays
NEW YORK (AP) — Companies that typically hire thousands of seasonal workers are heading into the holidays during one of the tightest job markets in decades, making it unlikely they’ll find all the workers they need. For shoppers, it might mean a less than jolly holiday shopping experience, with bare store shelves and online orders that take longer than usual to fill. Employers are so desperate to find holiday workers they’re raising pay above $15 an hour, offering four-figure sign-on bonuses and promising to pay their schooling. If they can’t find the workers they need, employers will likely rely on existing staff to work more overtime, which can become costly for businesses and lead to burnout for workers.
SOCIAL SECURITY-COST OF LIVING
Sizeable increase expected in Social Security’s annual cost-of-living adjustment
WASHINGTON (AP) — Rising inflation is expected to lead to a sizeable increase in Social Security’s annual cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, for the year 2022. Exactly how much will be revealed Wednesday morning. Over the last 10 years, the COLA averaged about 1.7% annually as inflation remained low. But the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic has seen rising prices for a wide range of goods and services, and that’s expected to translate to bigger checks for retirees. The biggest annual COLA increase in recent memory was 5.8% for 2009. Wednesday’s number could rival that.
IMF-WORLD ECONOMIC OUTLOOK
IMF foresees a slight drop in global growth from pandemic
WASHINGTON (AP) — The International Monetary Fund is slightly downgrading its outlook for the global recovery from the pandemic recession. In its latest World Economic Outlook, the IMF foresees global growth this year of 5.9%, compared with its projection in July of 6%. For the United States, the IMF predicts growth of 6% for 2021, down from its July forecast of 7%. The downward revision reflects a slowdown in economic activity resulting from a rise in COVID-19 cases and delayed production caused by supply shortages and a resulting acceleration of inflation.
Fewer in US turn to food banks, but millions still in need
WASHINGTON (AP) — Hunger and food insecurity across the United States have dropped measurably over the past six months, but the need remains far above pre-pandemic levels. Specialists in hunger issues warn the situation for millions of families remains extremely fragile. An Associated Press review of bulk distribution numbers from hundreds of food banks across the country reveals a clear downward trend in the amount of food handed out by food banks across the country. It started in the spring as the COVID-19 vaccine rollout took hold and closed sectors of the economy began to reopen. Feeding America CEO Katie Fitzgerald says, “It’s come down, but it’s still elevated.”
FDA considers boosters of Moderna, J&J vaccines
WASHINGTON (AP) — Many Americans who got Pfizer vaccinations are rolling up their sleeves for a booster shot. Meanwhile, millions who received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine are waiting for their turn. Federal regulators begin tackling that question this week. On Thursday and Friday, the Food and Drug Administration convenes its independent advisers for the first stage in the process of deciding whether extra shots of the two vaccines should be dispensed and, if so, who should get them and when. Then a CDC panel will offer more specifics. Vaccinations have climbed back above 1 million per day on average in the U.S., an increase of more than 50% in the past two weeks. The rise has been driven mainly by Pfizer boosters and employer vaccine mandates.
Kaiser Permanente hit by strike votes in California, Oregon
LOS ANGELES (AP) — More than 24,000 nurses and other health-care workers at Kaiser Permanente in California and Oregon have overwhelmingly authorized a strike over pay and working conditions strained by the coronavirus pandemic. Similar strike votes could come in a half-dozen other states against Kaiser, one of the nation’s largest health care providers. The unions object to Kaiser’s proposal to give newer employees lower pay and fewer health protections. They also want 4% raises for each the next three years and a commitment to hire more nurses to relieve staffing shortages. Kaiser is offering 1% a year and says it must reduce labor costs to remain competitive.
Southwest limits canceled flights after 3 tumultuous days
DALLAS (AP) — Southwest Airlines appears to be fixing problems that caused the cancellation of nearly 2,400 flights over the previous three days. By midday Tuesday, Southwest had canceled fewer than 100 flights, although more than 400 others were running late. That’s according to tracking service FlightAware. Southwest says bad weather and air traffic control issues in Florida on Friday trapped planes and pilots out of position, causing cascading problems for flights across the country.
Slain reporter’s father takes on Facebook over violent video
WASHINGTON (AP) — The family of a slain journalist is asking the Federal Trade Commission to take action against Facebook for failing to remove online footage of her shooting death. Andy Parker says the company is violating its own terms of service in hosting videos on Facebook and its sibling service Instagram that glorify violence. His daughter, TV news reporter Alison Parker, and cameraman Adam Ward were killed by a former co-worker while reporting for Roanoke, Virginia’s WDBJ-TV in August 2015. A complaint filed Tuesday with the FTC says Facebook is engaging in deceptive trade practices by violating its own terms of service and misrepresenting the safety of the platform.
NATURAL GAS PIPELINE-SUPREME COURT
Spire asks Supreme Court to keep pipeline operational
UNDATED (AP) — The St. Louis-based natural gas company Spire Inc. is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to allow it to keep operating a pipeline through Illinois and Missouri, warning that a winter shutdown could be devastating to St. Louis-area customers. In a filing last week, Spire requested a stay that would allow operation of its Spire STL Pipeline until the issue is resolved in the courts. If the Supreme Court declines to take up the case, operation of the pipeline could cease on Dec. 13 unless the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission extends an emergency order granted in September.
GENERAL MOTORS-BATTERY RECALL COSTS
GM reaches deal with LG to pay for Bolt battery recall costs
DETROIT (AP) — LG Electronics has reached a deal with General Motors to pay as much as $2 billion to reimburse the automaker for the cost of recalling Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles due to battery fires. The automaker announced the deal in a statement early Tuesday. GM says it will show a $1.9 billion to $2 billion estimated recovery in its third-quarter earnings that will offset charges associated with the recalls. In August GM expanded a previous recall to more than 140,000 Bolt electric vehicles sold worldwide since 2016 because a battery manufacturing defect could cause the vehicles to catch fire. The recall follows reports of 13 battery fires, GM said, which can occur when two separate defects are present in the battery modules.
France’s $35B innovation plan includes nuclear reactor funds
PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron has unveiled a 5-year, 30 billion-euro ($35 billion) investment plan for developing innovative technology, including small nuclear reactors, electric cars and greener airplanes. Macron said Tuesday that the goal of the state-funded France 2030 plan is to boost France’s economic growth over the next decade amid growing global competition with China and the United States. The plan includes 8 billion euros ($9.2 billion) to develop energy technology that would help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Macron said the funding would finance the building of small, modular nuclear reactors in France, which relies on nuclear power for 70% of its electricity.
EU announces cuts in Baltic catches of herring, cod
BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union is imposing cuts in catches of cod and herring in the Baltic Sea to make sure both threatened stock and the region’s fishing fleet have a chance of survival. The sea off several of the EU’s northern member states has been suffering from pollution, high water temperatures and too many vessels chasing too few fish over the past years, pushing EU ministers to impose some tougher measures Tuesday. Under the measures, catches for Western cod, once abundant, will be cut by 88% next year while Eastern Baltic cod will be kept at a highly reduced level, down 70% compared with two years ago.