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Business Highlights: Time use survey, 'free money' programs

Business Highlights: Time use survey, 'free money' programs

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Virus’s impact: More relaxing and thinking, less socializing

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The eruption of COVID-19 across the United States last year caused the proportion of people working from home to nearly double, with the shift most pronounced among college graduates and workers in such fields as finance and professional services. The share of employed people working from home shot up from just 22% in 2019 to 42% in 2020. That was one of the findings of an annual government survey that documented the far-reaching impact the pandemic had on Americans’ everyday lives since the viral pandemic struck in March of last year. The American Time Use Survey details how people spent their time last year, from working to relaxing to sleeping.

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Free money for all? Mayors hope local tests bring big change

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Dozens of cities and counties and the state of California are experimenting with giving some low-income residents a guaranteed income of $500 to $1,000 each month to do with as they please, and tracking what happens. The coalition Mayors for a Guaranteed Income plans to use the data to lobby the White House and Congress for a federal guaranteed income or, for starters, to make the new $300 per month child tax credit permanent. So-called free money pilot programs show how quickly the concept has become a serious policy proposal during the pandemic. Critics blast them as unaffordable or discouraging people from working.

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Yellen outlines to Congress emergency measures on debt limit

WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has told Congress that she will start taking emergency measures next week to keep the government from an unprecedented default on the national debt. She warned that a default would cause “irreparable harm to the U.S. economy and the livelihoods of all Americans.” In a letter Friday to House and Senate leaders, Yellen said that her actions would buy time until Congress can pass legislation to either raise the debt limit or suspend the limit again for a period of time. The debt limit has been suspended for the past two years but will go back into effect on July 31. The total debt subject to the limit currently stands at $28.4 trillion.

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Wall Street rallies to record-breaking end of turbulent week

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks rallied to records on Wall Street Friday, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above the 35,000 level for the first time. The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all finished with gains of better than 1% for the week. They each returned to records after brushing aside the sharp downturn that trimmed 1.6% off the S&P 500 on Monday. The one-day swoon came as worries rose about a potentially sharp slowdown in the economy. But the market rebounded as big companies reported better profits than expected and as investors once again saw any dip in stocks as merely a chance to buy low.

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Americans spend again and American Express profit surges

NEW YORK (AP) — American Express Co.’s second-quarter revenue surged as people started spending more at a time when many are getting vaccinated against COVID-19 and feel more comfortable going out to restaurants, shops and entertainment venues again. Revenue, net of interest expense, rose to $10.24 billion from $7.68 billion, bolstered by growth in card member spending. Analysts polled by Zacks Investment Research expected $9.47 billion in revenue.

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GM issues 2nd Bolt recall; faulty batteries can cause fires

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors is recalling some older Chevrolet Bolts for a second time to fix persistent battery problems that can set the electric cars ablaze. Until repairs are done, GM says owners should park the cars outdoors and limit charging to 90% of battery capacity. They also should not deplete batteries below 70 miles of range. GM says the Bolts should not be charged overnight, and should be parked outside immediately after they are charged. The second recall comes after two Bolts that had been fixed under a previous recall caught fire. It covers about 69,000 Bolts worldwide from 2017, 2018 and part of the 2019 model year. GM says it’s still working on repairs but it’s likely battery parts will be replaced.

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$1M in fines after nitrogen kills 6 at Georgia poultry plant

ATLANTA (AP) — Federal workplace safety officials are proposing nearly $1 million in fines against four companies following a January liquid nitrogen leak that killed six workers at a northeast Georgia poultry processing plant. U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh announced the citations and fines by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Friday. Foundation Food Group, which owns the Gainesville plant, was cited for 26 violations with a proposed fine of $595,474. OSHA fines and citations are often lowered following informal and formal appeal processes. Foundation Food did not immediately reply to an email seeking comment. A new freezing line malfunctioned on the morning of Jan. 28, sending a cloud of liquid nitrogen vapor.

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Germany toughens rules for travel from Spain, Netherlands

BERLIN (AP) — Germany is listing Spain and the Netherlands as “high-incidence areas.” That means that most people arriving from those countries who aren’t fully vaccinated will have to go into quarantine from next week. The national disease control center said Friday that the change will take effect on Tuesday. The change of status in the middle of the summer travel season will inconvenience some people traveling from Spain and likely put off more would-be vacationers. Portugal, Cyprus and Britain are already listed as “high-incidence areas.”

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The S&P 500 gained 44.31 points, or 1%, to 4,411.79. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 238.20 points, or 0.7%, to 35,061.55. The Nasdaq added 152.39 points, or 1%, to 14,836.99. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies advanced 10.17 points, or 0.5%, to 2,209.65.


Updated : 2021-09-19 17:29 GMT+08:00