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New State Unemployment Claims Fall to a New Pandemic Low

New claims for unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest level of the pandemic, the government reported on Thursday, offering fresh evidence of the labor market’s recovery.A total of 566,000 workers filed first-time claims for state benefits during the week that ended April 17, the Labor Department said, a decrease of 57,000 from the previous week’s revised figure. In addition, 133,000 new claims were filed for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a federal program that covers freelancers, part-timers and others who do not qualify for state benefits.On a seasonally adjusted basis, new state claims totaled 547,000.“The bigger story — even though we’ …

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Welcome to the YOLO Economy

In addition to the job-hopping you’d expect during boom times, the pandemic has created many more remote jobs, and expanded the number of companies willing to hire outside of big, coastal cities. That has given workers in remote-friendly industries, such as tech and finance, more leverage to ask for what they want.“Employees have a totally unprecedented ability to negotiate in the next 18 to 48 months,” said Johnathan Nightingale, an author and a co-founder of Raw Signal Group, a management training firm. “If I, as an individual, am dissatisfied with the current state of my employment, I have so many …

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Developers Flock to Cold Storage as Americans Stock Their Freezers

“The immediate change in consumer behavior due to Covid has caused companies to change how they service those demands,” said Art Rasmussen, a senior vice president at CBRE, a real estate investment and services firm. “Covid has accelerated the online growth by several years, and the infrastructure wasn’t quite ready to take on that capacity.”Updated April 20, 2021, 12:43 p.m. ETBuilding near population centers is logical, but not necessarily easy or cheap. “Traditionally, people shied away from it because it was capital intensive,” said Tim O’Rourke, managing director at real estate research and services firm JLL.“Supply and demand …

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Restaurants Fought for Covid Survival, With Some Tech Helpers

The past year has crushed independent restaurants across the country and brought a reality to their doors: Many were unprepared for a digital world.Unlike other small retailers, restaurateurs could keep the tech low, with basic websites and maybe Instagram accounts with tantalizing, well-lit photos of their food.For the past decade, Krystle Mobayeni had been trying to convince them that they needed more. Ms. Mobayeni, a first-generation Iranian-American, started her company, BentoBox, in 2013 as a side job. She wanted to use her graphic design skills to help restaurants build more robust websites with e-commerce abilities. But it was a …

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‘We Were Left With Nothing.’ Argentina’s Misery Deepens in the Pandemic.

Before the pandemic, Carla Huanca and her family were making modest but meaningful improvements to their cramped apartment in the slums of Buenos Aires.She was working as a hairstylist. Her partner was tending bar at a nightclub. Together, they were bringing home about 25,000 pesos ($270) a week — enough to add a second story to their home, creating extra space for their three boys. They were about to plaster the walls.“Then, everything closed,” said Ms. Huanca, 33. “We were left with nothing.”Amid the lockdown, the family needed emergency handouts from the Argentine government to keep food on the table. They …

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One Way to Get People Off the Streets: Buy Hotels

With offices in San Francisco booming and ample opportunity for overtime, Mr. Sanchez said that at his peak he could max out at $22 an hour, or a little over $60 adjusted for inflation. He also wasn’t worried about rent. He stayed in his family’s public housing unit until his mid-20s and had a cheap after-hours life that consisted of floating around the neighborhood and hanging out with friends near the 24th Street BART stop. “I was always in the streets,” he said.When he moved out of his family’s apartment, an event that was set off by …

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That Popular S.U.V. Is Going to Cost You

“It’s been a weird year,” Mr. Drury said.That has driven up the average purchase price of a new vehicle to about $40,000.Inventories of luxury cars are the lowest as buyers have pounced, while run-of-the mill sedans are relatively plentiful, said Ms. Krebs at Cox.So if new cars are too expensive, you can just buy a used car, right?Yes, but deals may be elusive there as well. Fewer people bought new cars last year, so fewer used cars were traded in. And the short supply of new cars is pushing more buyers to consider used cars, raising …

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Realtors Want to Sell You a Home. Their Trade Group Backs Evicting Others.

“Redfin has consistently been in favor of moratoriums,” said its chief executive, Glenn Kelman. “History will judge us.”Updated April 17, 2021, 11:41 a.m. ETZillow supports the C.D.C. edict, too, and it believes that moratoriums work most effectively when policies and relief programs include landlords and property managers in addition to renters. Last month, it published research suggesting that there could be as few as 130,000 evictions in the near future if everything goes right with legislation, regulations, their implementation and the economy. But it is a difficult figure to predict.On the ground in Atlanta, Bilal Shareef also sees the …

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Another Unlikely Pandemic Shortage: Boba Tea

A panic erupted on the West Coast this week. Over a drink.It happened when beverage aficionados learned that tapioca, the starch used to make the sweet, round, chewy black bubbles — or pearls — that are the featured topping in the popular boba tea drink, was in short supply.“I was shocked,” said Leanne Yuen, a longtime boba drinker and a student at the University of California, Irvine. “What am I going to do now?”The impending boba shortage is yet another sign of how the pandemic has snarled global supply chains, upended industries and created scarcities of goods from toilet …

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Covid-19 Pushes India’s Middle Class Toward Poverty

Anil G. Kumar, a civil engineer, was one of them. Around this time last year, he and his family were about to buy a two-bedroom apartment. But when last year’s lockdown hit, Mr. Kumar’s employer, a construction chemicals manufacturer, slashed his salary by half.“Everything turned turtle within a few hours,” he said. Three months later, his job had been eliminated.Now Mr. Kumar spends his days in his home in a working-class neighborhood in the western part of Delhi, searching for jobs on LinkedIn and taking care of his son.The family’s middle-class life is now …

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