US jobs market shows signs of improvement but challenges ahead

Fewer people in the United States filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week amid falling COVID-19 infections but the near-term outlook for the labour market is unclear after winter storms wreaked havoc in southern states earlier this month. Still, the decline in claims to a three-month low reported by the Department of Labor on Thursday […]

‘We want people to stay with us’: Costco raises minimum wage

The majority of Americans support the idea of more than doubling the minimum wage to $15 per hour, a new Reuters/Ipsos poll found. Costco Wholesale Corp is raising the minimum wage for its hourly staff to $16 from next week, a dollar more than what its competitors Inc and Target Corp pay per hour […]

Yellen backs new allocation of IMF’s currency to aid in recovery

The global economy is at risk of a ‘dangerous and permanent divergence’, the secretary of the US Treasury warned G20 officials. United States Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Thursday threw her support behind a new allocation of the International Monetary Fund’s own currency, or Special Drawing Rights (SDR), but said broad parameters were needed to […]

US CEOs, including Trump supporters, push for Biden’s $1.9T plan

Business executives from multiple industries sent a letter to US Congressional leaders on Wednesday urging them to pass Biden’s COVID-19 relief plan. Senior executives from more than 150 companies are voicing support for President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package in a letter to congressional leaders urging them to pass coronavirus relief. The letter is […]

Snap back? US consumer confidence rises as COVID cases drop

United States consumer confidence increased in February, with households slightly more upbeat about the labour market amid declining new COVID-19 infections and expectations for additional money from the government to help the economy’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The survey from the Conference Board on Tuesday also showed consumers warming up to overseas vacations, though […]

Wild swings: US bank profits sank 36.5% in 2020 as COVID raged

Banks posted $147.9bn in profits in 2020, a significant drop from record 2019 levels, a regulatory group said on Tuesday. United States bank profits fell 36.5 percent in 2020 from the year prior as banks set aside massive amounts to guard against potential losses, but the industry showed signs of strengthening in the fourth quarter […]

US economy will need support for ‘some time’, Fed’s Powell warns

Recovery for the world’s largest economy remains ‘uneven and far from complete’, the Fed’s Jerome Powell tells Congress. The United States economic recovery remains “uneven and far from complete” and it will be “some time” before the Federal Reserve considers changing policies it adopted to help the country back to full employment, Fed Chair Jerome […]

UK: Unemployment rises as COVID lockdowns hit economy

The United Kingdom’s unemployment rate edged up to 5.1 percent in the final three months of last year, its highest level in nearly five years, official data shows, as severe COVID-19 lockdown restrictions pressured the economy. Figures published by the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Tuesday showed that the jobless rate rose 0.4 […]

Yellen’s yardstick: US Treasury chief sees unemployment as key

United States Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says she will judge the success of President Joe Biden’s coronavirus stimulus plan by how quickly it returns the US economy to pre-pandemic levels of unemployment. Speaking to a New York Times newspaper online event, Yellen also played down the increased debt levels that would be incurred from Biden’s […]

No voyage: Royal Caribbean’s quarterly loss cruises past $1bn

Royal Caribbean’s fourth-quarter revenue plunged to $34.1m from $2.52bn last year as the coronavirus pandemic kept ships parked at port. Royal Caribbean Group lost $1bn-plus in the fourth quarter of 2020 as the coronavirus crisis kept its cruise ships ashore, but the company pointed to strong booking trends for 2022. Cruise operators have been shoring […]

Biden boosts lending to small businesses hit by coronavirus woes

For two weeks starting this week, the Small Business Administration will only take applications for PPP loans from firms with fewer than 20 employees. United States President Joe Biden will launch changes on Monday to the main US coronavirus aid programme for small businesses to try to reach smaller, minority-owned firms and sole proprietors left […]

Fed pledges continued support for US economy amid pandemic woes

Monetary policy will continue to provide ‘powerful support’ to the economy, the United States’ central bank told Congress on Friday. Federal Reserve actions will continue to bolster the U.S. economy as it battles the Covid-19 pandemic, the central bank said Friday in its twice-yearly update to Congress. “Monetary policy will continue to deliver powerful support […]

Indoor farming gains ground amid pandemic, climate challenges

Investors used to brush off Amin Jadavji’s pitch to buy Elevate Farms’ vertical growing technology and produce stacks of leafy greens indoors with artificial light. “They would say, ‘This is great, but it sounds like a science experiment,’” said Jadavji, CEO of Toronto, Canada-based Elevate. Now, indoor farms are positioning themselves as one of the […]

Dining woes: Canada’s restaurants suffer worst year on record

Food trucks, bars and taverns were hit the hardest by lockdowns and restrictions, with sales dropping 48 percent. Canadian restaurants and bars suffered their worst year for sales on record in 2020. Sales at eating and drinking establishments in Canada dropped 28% from the year before, Statistics Canada reported Thursday in Ottawa. That’s the largest […]

Walmart expects full-year sales to slow as US COVID lockdowns end

Walmart made a hefty profit of $560bn last year as Americans stocked their pantries during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. Walmart Inc expects full-year sales and profit growth to slow as it reinvests in its business and lockdowns end after revenue soared to $560bn last year as people stocked up on groceries during the […]

US jobless claims unexpectedly rise to 861,000 amid chip shortage

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits totalled a seasonally adjusted 861,000 for the week ending February 13, compared to 848,000 in the prior week, the US Department of Labor said on Thursday. The number of Americans filing first-time applications for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week, but the labour market is steadily recovering as additional […]

Canine cryptocurrency, race to Mars and the Year of the Ox

THE WEEK IN NUMBERS We round up the numbers to know from the week’s biggest economic and business news stories so you can impress yourself and your friends. If you’ve been glued to the impeachment proceedings unfolding in the United States, you’re far from alone. But as the news out of Washington winds down for […]

Property boom: US home prices surge at fastest pace on record

The median price of a single-family home soared 14.9 percent to $315,000 in the fourth quarter of 2020. U.S. home prices, fueled by the lowest mortgage rates in history, rose at the fastest pace on record, surpassing the peak from the last property boom in 2005. The median price of a single-family home climbed 14.9% […]

CBO projects $2.3 trillion US deficit before Biden stimulus plan

While it dropped by $900bn, the United States’ budget deficit could still increase if President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus proposal were to pass. The United States Congressional Budget Office says the federal government is on track for a $2.3 trillion deficit this year, down roughly $900bn from last year when the coronavirus pandemic led […]

US unemployment fell slightly, but what will it take to recover?

New claims for unemployment assistance in the United States fell slightly last week but remain stubbornly high, a signal that the US’s economic recovery remains stalled as lawmakers and the White House continue to debate the next round of coronavirus relief aid. But how does the US’s jobs situation now compare with the Great Recession […]

Fed’s Powell adds urgency to Biden’s call for strong stimulus

In a speech before the Economic Club of New York, US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell urged lawmakers and business leaders to help push for maximum employment amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the U.S. job market remains a long way from a full recovery and called on both lawmakers […]

South Korea’s jobless rate hits 21-year high as COVID cases rise

Bleak unemployment picture contrasts sharply with view that South Korea’s economy has outperformed its developed peers. South Korea’s jobless rate surged to its highest in more than two decades, raising concern that an export-driven recovery could be masking a harsher scarring of the economy. The unemployment rate jumped to 5.4% in January from a revised […]

Will Biden’s stimulus plan help reduce child poverty in the US?

As part of the broader $1.9 trillion relief package, Congressional Democrats propose temporarily raising the child tax credit from $2,000 to up to $3,600 per child, which could help lift families out of poverty. Tucked inside United States President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan is a seemingly radical notion that children should not […]

Biden wage plan would lift 900,000 from poverty. There’s a catch

United States President Joe Biden’s plan to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour would reduce poverty but also cut 1.4 million jobs, says the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. United States President Joe Biden’s proposal to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour by June 2025 would reduce employment by 1.4 million jobs […]