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Business Highlights

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Sign of inequality: US salaries recover even as jobs haven’t

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans as a whole are now earning the same amount in wages and salaries that they did before the virus struck — even with nearly 9 million fewer people working — a stark sign of the economic inequality that has marked the pandemic recession and recovery. The turnaround in total wages underscores how disproportionately America’s job losses have afflicted workers in lower-income occupations — from restaurants and hotels to retail stores and entertainment venues — rather than in higher-paying industries, where employees have actually gained jobs as well as income since early last year.

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Amazon faces biggest union push in its history

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon is facing the biggest unionization push in its history. And it’s happening in the unlikeliest of places: Alabama, a state with laws that don’t favor unions. A successful effort could motivate others throughout Amazon to organize. But workers, who want more break times and to be treated with respect, have an uphill battle. A contract could take years, and Amazon has a history of crushing labor organizing. Mail-in voting started this week and will go on until the end of March. A majority of the 6,000 employees have to vote “yes” in order to unionize.

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Fox hosts Dobbs, Bartiromo strike back in voting fraud suit

NEW YORK (AP) — Three hosts for Fox News have filed motions to dismiss claims against them and their employer as part of a $2.7 billion libel lawsuit brought by a voting technology company. Maria Bartiromo, Lou Dobbs and Jeanine Pirro were sued this month by Smartmatic. They and Donald Trump lawyers Rudolph Giuliani and Sidney Powell are accused of conspiring to spread false claims that the company was involved in an effort to steal the election from Trump. The Fox personalities argue they were doing their job in covering newsworthy assertions by the president that the electoral process was marred. A lawyer says Smartmatic is confident in its case.

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Airlines push White House to reject testing for US flights

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. airlines are pressing their case against requiring coronavirus testing of passengers on domestic flights. The CEOs of several major airlines met Friday with the White House’s coronavirus-response coordinator to lobby against a testing requirement. They say it would further undermine air travel, which is still running at less than half its pre-pandemic level. A person familiar with the discussions says the Biden administration isn’t currently planning to impose a testing requirement. But Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have said that such a requirement is under consideration to slow the spread of COVID-19.

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UK economy suffers biggest drop since 1709

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s economy suffered its biggest decline in more than 300 years in 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic closed shops and restaurants, devastated the travel industry and curtailed manufacturing. Official data released Friday show that the economy shrank 9.9% last year, more than twice the figure for 2009 at the height of the global financial crisis. The drop is the largest since 1709, when a cold spell known as the Great Frost devastated what was then a largely agricultural economy. The data comes as Britain’s economy remains shackled by restrictions designed to combat COVID-19. The Bank of England hopes that as vaccinations roll out, the economy is likely to rebound this year, “like a coiled spring.”

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S&P 500 closes wobbly week at new record high

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are closing higher Friday after a late surge by technology stocks led the S&P 500 to a new high. The wobbly week of trading ended with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq at record highs also. Investors focused on trillions of dollars of potential government aid that could be coming for the economy, as Democrats advance their stimulus package. Companies reported solid earnings, including manufacturer Mohawk Industries and genetic testing company Illumina. Bond yields rose, giving banks a boost. Bumble shares continued to climb after the company’s IPO the day before.

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Maryland lawmakers move ahead with first tax on internet ads

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland lawmakers are moving forward with a first-in-the-nation tax on internet ads for big companies like Facebook and Google to help pay for an ambitious and costly measure to improve K-12 education. The Maryland General Assembly, which is controlled by Democrats, overrode Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of legislation for the tax Friday. Lawmakers also voted to override Hogan’s veto of the separate education measure, which has been years in the making. The measure would take effect in 30 days, but supporters and opponents agree a court challenge is likely. That could lead to a potential injunction until a court case is resolved.

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The S&P 500 index rose 18.45 points, or 0.5%, to 3,934.83. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 27.70 points, or 0.1% to 31,458.40. The Nasdaq added 69.70 points, or 0.5%, to 14,095.47. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks rose 4.04 points, or 0.2%, to 2,289.36.


Updated : 2021-04-21 23:16 GMT+08:00