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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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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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Garment Workers Who Lost Jobs in Pandemic Still Wait for Severance Pay

Over a crackling phone line, Ashraf Ali, a 35-year-old father in Bangladesh, described feeling suicidal and desperate to feed his family. Sokunthea Yi, in Cambodia, said she spends sleepless nights worrying about how she will pay off loans she took out to build her house. And at only 23, Dina Arviah in Indonesia said she was hopeless about her future as there were no longer any jobs in her district.All once held jobs as garment workers in factories producing clothes and shoes for companies like Nike, Walmart and Benetton. But in the last 12 months those jobs have disappeared, as major …

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Jobs Report March 2021: Gain of 916,000 as Recovery Sped Up

But retailers, manufacturers and transportation companies added jobs as well, which Ms. Swonk said showed that the recovery was being driven by more than just the reopening of shuttered businesses. Government aid has given Americans money to spend, and the confidence to spend it.Businesses, too, appear to be growing more confident. Many of the jobs added in January and February were temporary positions, but in March, temporary staffing levels were essentially flat, indicating companies were filling permanent positions instead.Amy Glaser, senior vice president at the staffing firm Adecco, said that in recent weeks, a growing share of her …

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Why Are Jobless Claims Still High? For Some, It’s the Multiple Layoffs.

Jobs are coming back. Businesses are reopening. But a year after the pandemic jolted the economy, applications for unemployment benefits remain stubbornly, shockingly high — higher on a weekly basis than at any point in any previous recession, by some measures.And headway has stalled: Initial weekly claims under regular and emergency programs, combined, have been stuck at just above one million since last fall, and last week was no exception, the Labor Department reported Thursday.“It goes up a little bit, it goes down, but really we haven’t seen much progress,” said AnnElizabeth Konkel, an economist for the career …

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Uncounted in the Unemployment Rate, but They Want to Work

Robert Hesse was expecting an imminent promotion to manager of Sub Zero Ice Cream, a nitrogen ice cream shop in Ventura, Calif., when it shut down in March because of the pandemic.“I like to work,” said Mr. Hesse, a college graduate who turns 26 on Tuesday. “Otherwise I feel like I’m useless.” But he has been reluctant to seek a new job because he lives with his parents, who are not yet vaccinated, and is afraid of bringing the virus home to them.“It’s just health concerns — I don’t really want to be around the general public …

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Lessons From a Year of Pandemic Spending

“He was suffering,” she said. “But he wasn’t ready to die.”Ms. Smith visited him every other day, sometimes bringing steak sandwiches, pizza and other favorite foods. And she often ate dinners and snacks provided by the nursing home — which didn’t cost her anything. She now prepares all her meals at home, spending roughly $60 per week on groceries, including the fish cakes she practically lives on. That’s about twice what she had been spending when she shared meals with Bruce.She said she didn’t realize how much of her life revolved around those visits and the …

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The Robots Are Coming for Phil in Accounting

The robots are coming. Not to kill you with lasers, or beat you in chess, or even to ferry you around town in a driverless Uber.These robots are here to merge purchase orders into columns J and K of next quarter’s revenue forecast, and transfer customer data from the invoicing software to the Oracle database. They are unassuming software programs with names like “Auxiliobits — DataTable To Json String,” and they are becoming the star employees at many American companies.Some of these tools are simple apps, downloaded from online stores and installed by corporate I.T. departments, that …

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U.S. Economy Added 379,000 Jobs in February

Hiring picked up last month as states lifted restrictions and stepped up vaccination efforts, with the government reporting on Friday that the American economy added 379,000 jobs last month.The pace of hiring in February was an unexpectedly large improvement over the gains made in January. It was also the strongest showing since October.But there are still about 9.5 million fewer jobs today than a year ago. Congress is considering a $1.9 trillion package of pandemic relief intended to carry struggling households and businesses through the coming months.“What we’re seeing is broad, slow gains,” said Julia Pollak, an economist at …

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