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Business Highlights: Vaccine mandates, women in workforce

Business Highlights: Vaccine mandates, women in workforce

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US mandates vaccines or tests for big companies by Jan. 4

NEW YORK (AP) — Tens of millions of Americans who work at companies with 100 or more employees will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 4 or get tested for the virus weekly. The new requirements are the Biden administration’s boldest move yet to persuade reluctant Americans to finally get a vaccine that has been widely available for months -- or potentially face financial consequences. If successful, administration officials believe it will go a long way toward ending a pandemic that has killed more than 750,000 Americans. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says companies that fail to comply could face penalties of nearly $14,000 per violation. The requirements will apply to about 84 million workers at medium and large businesses.

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Many women have left the workforce. When will they return?

NEW YORK (AP) — As the U.S. economy rebounds from the ongoing pandemic, many women are choosing to sit out the labor force. The pandemic has laid bare the disproportionate burdens many women shoulder in caring for children or aging parents, as well as highlighted the roles they have traditionally played in the labor force. In September, 2.5 million fewer women were employed compared to the same month in 2019, and nearly 3.1 million more women were not in the labor force this past September compared to the number in the same month two years ago. Even with children back in school, a dramatic influx of women returning to work that some analysts expected has yet to materialize.

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Despite a mixed finish, S&P 500 and Nasdaq notch records

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks wound up a mixed bag on Wall Street Thursday, but big gains in several technology giants helped push the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq indexes to more record highs. The S&P 500 added 0.4% and the Nasdaq rose 0.8%, but the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.1%. More stocks fell than rose on the New York Stock Exchange. Qualcomm soared 12.7% after the chipmaker reported record profits and said supply constraints would continue to ease. Moderna sank 17.9% after cutting its forecast for vaccine deliveries. The yield on the 10-year Tresaury note fell to 1.52%.

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Unemployment claims drop to 269,000, another pandemic low

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell to a fresh pandemic low last week, another sign the job market is healing after last year’s coronavirus recession. Jobless claims dropped by 14,000 to 269,000 last week. Since topping 900,000 in early January, the weekly applications have fallen more or less steadily ever since and are gradually moving toward pre-pandemic levels of around 220,000 a week. Overall, 2.1 million Americans were collecting unemployment checks the week of Oct. 23 — down from 7.1 million a year earlier when the economy was still reeling from the coronavirus outbreak.

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Is it green, or forever toxic? Nuclear rift at climate talks

SOULAINES-DHUYS, France (AP) — Nuclear power is a central sticking point as negotiators plot out the world’s future energy strategy at the climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland. Critics decry its mammoth price tag, the disproportionate damage caused by nuclear accidents, and the radioactive waste left behind. But a growing pro-nuclear camp argues that it’s safer on average than nearly any other energy source. And they say nuclear power is so low-emission that it’s the world’s best hope of keeping climate change under control. But nuclear waste remains a major problem, with the most radioactive material still toxic for tens of thousands of years.

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OPEC+ keeps cautious oil production despite Biden pressure

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — OPEC and allied oil-producing countries have decided to stick with their plan for cautious monthly increases in oil production even as prices surge and the global economy is thirsty for fuel. The OPEC+ alliance, made up of OPEC members led by the Saudis and non-members led by Russia, rebuffed pressure from U.S. President Joe Biden to pump significantly more oil and lower gasoline prices for U.S. drivers. The group on Thursday approved an increase in production of 400,000 barrels per day for the month of December. That’s in line with a plan to add that amount of oil to the market every month into next year.

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Airbnb reports $834 million 3Q profit as revenue soars

Airbnb has reported a strong third quarter with record profit and revenue as more people get vaccinated and return to traveling. Airbnb said Thursday that it earned $834 million on $2.2 billion in revenue during the third quarter, which is traditionally its strongest part of the year because it includes summer travel. The San Francisco-based home-sharing business says that when companies closed offices in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, that freed employees to work from somewhere other than the office or home, and some of the hit the road. Airbnb says it expects the trend of work flexibility will accelerate as major companies like Ford and Amazon embrace it.

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Countries pledge to cut heavily polluting coal, with caveats

GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — In the fight to curb climate change, several major coal-using nations have announced steps to wean themselves off of the heavily polluting fossil fuel. Though some will only do it slowly. The pledges to phase out coal come on top of other promises made at the U.N. climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland. The head of an international energy organization said those earlier pledges trimmed several tenths of a degree from projections of future warming. But outside experts called that “optimistic.” Optimism also abounded in relation to the promises on coal. Coal has the dirtiest carbon footprint of the major fuels and is a significant source of planet-warming emissions.

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The S&P 500 gained 19.49 points, or 0.4%, to 4,680.06. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 33.35 points, or 0.1%, to 36,124.23. The Nasdaq rose 128.72 points, 0.8%, to 15,940.31. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies slipped 1.85 points, or 0.1%, to 2,402.43.


Updated : 2022-05-18 14:20 GMT+08:00