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Economy

U.S. adds 4.8 million jobs as unemployment falls to 11.1% – The Denver Post

WASHINGTON — U.S. employers added a substantial 4.8 million jobs in June, and the unemployment rate fell to 11.1%, as the job market improved for a second straight month yet still remained far short of regaining the colossal losses it suffered this spring.

The nation has now recovered roughly one-third of the 22 million jobs it lost to the pandemic recession. And with confirmed coronavirus cases spiking across the Sun Belt states, a range of evidence suggests that a job market recovery may be stalling. In those states and elsewhere, some restaurants, bars and other retailers that had re-opened are being forced to close again.

The re-closings are keeping layoffs elevated: The number of Americans who sought unemployment benefits barely fell last week to 1.47 million. Though that weekly figure has declined steadily since peaking in late March, it’s still more than double the pre-pandemic peak set in 1982. And the total number of people receiving jobless aid remains at a sizable 19 million.

California has re-closed bars, theaters and indoor restaurant dining across most of the state. Florida has also re-closed bars and beaches. Texas has reversed some of its efforts to reopen its economy. New York has paused its plans to allow indoor dining.

Credit and debit card data tracked by JPMorgan Chase show that consumers reduced their spending last week after having increased it steadily in late April and May. The reversal has occurred both in states that have reported surges in COVID-19 and in less affected states, said Jesse Edgerton, an economist at J.P. Morgan.

Nationwide, card spending fell nearly 13% last week compared with a year ago. That’s worse than the previous week, when year-over-year card spending had fallen just under 10%.

And Kronos, which produces time management software, has found that in the past two weeks, growth in the number of shifts worked has slowed in the Southeast and is now rising at just half the rate of the Northeast.

“The pace of recovery is starting to slow,” said Dave Gilbertson, an executive at Kronos. “We are expecting to see more of a plateauing over the next couple of months.”

Thursday’s jobs report is based on data gathered in the second week of June, which helps explain why the figures reflect an improving trend. Last week’s plateau in work shifts will instead affect the July jobs figures, to be released in early August.

McDonald’s has paused its reopening efforts nationwide, and Apple says it will re-close 30 more of its U.S. stores, on top of 47 that it had already shut down for a second time.

Economists have long warned that the economic benefits of allowing businesses to reopen would prove short-lived if the virus wasn’t brought under control. Until most Americans feel confident enough to dine out, travel, shop or congregate in groups without fear of infection, restaurants, hotels and retailers will lack enough customer demand to justify rehiring all their previous workers.

Still, some bright spots in the economy have emerged in recent weeks. Manufacturers expanded in June after three months of shrinking, the Institute for Supply Management, a trade group, said Wednesday. New orders are flowing in, and factories are adding more jobs, the ISM said.

And record-low mortgage rates are encouraging more home buyers. Purchases of new homes rose sharply in May. And a measure of signed contracts to buy existing homes soared by a record amount, a sign that sales should rebound after falling for three straight months.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story is below:

U.S. employers likely rehired several million more workers in June, thereby reducing a Depression-level unemployment rate, but the most up-to-date data suggests that a resurgent coronavirus will limit further gains.

Economists have forecast that businesses, governments and nonprofits added 3 million jobs — a record high — and that the unemployment rate fell a full percentage point to 12.3%, according to data provider FactSet. The predicted hiring gain would be up from 2.5 million jobs in May. Even so, the combined job growth for May and June would recover only a fraction of the 22 million jobs that were lost in March and April, when the virus forced business shutdowns and layoffs across the country.

And even a jobless rate above 10% wouldn’t fully capture the scope of the pandemic’s damage to the job market and the economy. Millions more people are working part time but would prefer full-time work. And an unusually high proportion of workers have been subject to pay cuts, research has found.

With confirmed coronavirus cases spiking across the Sun Belt, a range of evidence suggests that a nascent recovery is stalling. In states that are suffering the sharpest spikes in reported virus cases — Texas, Florida, Arizona and others — progress has reversed, with businesses closing again and workers losing jobs, in some cases for a second time.

On Wednesday, California re-closed down bars, theaters and indoor restaurant dining across most of the state. And Arizona’s outbreak grew more severe by nearly every measure. Florida has closed some beaches.

Credit and debit card data tracked by JPMorgan Chase show that consumers have slowed their spending in just the past week, after spending had risen steadily in late April and May. The reversal has occurred both in states that have seen surges in reported COVID cases and in less affected states, said Jesse Edgerton, an economist at J.P. Morgan.

Nationwide, card spending fell nearly 13% last week compared with a year ago. That was worse than the previous week, when year-over-year card spending had declined just under 10%.

Real-time data from Homebase, a provider of time-tracking software for small businesses, shows that the number of hours worked at its client companies has leveled off after having risen sharply in May and early June. Business re-openings have also flattened. The economic bounce produced by the initial lifting of shutdown orders may have run its course.

Still, Thursday’s jobs report will be based on data gathered in the second week of June, so it will still likely reflect an improving hiring trend. Last week’s plateau in hours worked will instead affect the July jobs figures, to be released in early August.

“Whatever picture the jobs report gives us, things have become worse since then,” said Julia Pollak, a labor economist at ZipRecruiter.

In addition to the renewed shutdowns across the Sun Belt, New York City has postponed plans to reopen indoor seating at restaurants in the face of more confirmed virus cases. Such moves are causing another round of layoffs or will limit future hiring.

McDonald’s has paused its reopening efforts nationwide. And Apple said it will re-close 30 more of its U.S. stores, on top of 47 it had already shut down for a second time.

Economists have long warned that the economic benefits of allowing businesses to reopen would prove short-lived if the virus wasn’t brought under control. Until most Americans feel confident enough to dine out, travel, shop or congregate in groups without fear of infection, restaurants, hotels and retailers won’t have enough demand to justify rehiring all their previous workers.

“The path forward for the economy is extraordinarily uncertain and will depend in large part on our success in containing the virus,” Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told a House committee this week. “A full recovery is unlikely until people are confident that it is safe to re-engage in a broad range of activities.”

Still, some bright spots in the economy may emerge in Thursday’s jobs report. Manufacturers expanded in June after three months of shrinking, the Institute for Supply Management, a trade group, said Wednesday. New orders are flowing in and factories are adding more jobs, the ISM said.

And record-low mortgage rates are encouraging more home buyers. Purchases of new homes rose sharply in May. And a measure of signed contracts to buy existing homes soared by a record amount in May, a sign that sales should rebound after falling for three straight months.

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World News

Living in Florida and Texas as virus cases surge

People in Florida and Texas – where new coronavirus infections are ballooning – have described their opinions about the pandemic and their leaders decisions to restart the economy before defeating the virus.

Jay Martinez, 21, South Florida

I am worried about the situation in the entire world, not just my hometown of Pembroke Pines, Florida. This is a sad situation that we have all been affected by and the best thing we can do is hope for it to end soon.

I knew that this was inevitable. I do not believe Florida opened their businesses too soon. At the end of the day some responsibility has to be placed in the hands of citizens.

I do not quarantine right now. I decided to stay in Gainesville, where I go to college, and am surrounding myself with people who are at very low risk of developing bad symptoms.

I try to wear a mask as often as I can.

As someone who planned on moving to a large city after graduation this summer, the pandemic has affected my life a lot. Days that used to be packed with going to the gym, searching for jobs and having fun with friends have become quests of finding small activities to keep me productive.

Right now, the goal of every citizen should be staying healthy and protecting those that are most vulnerable to the virus.

Alisha Hoath, 22, Boca Raton

I have been here for four years as I attend Florida Atlantic University.

I feel just as nervous as I did In March when it all started. But I do think there was a period when everyone began to forget about the virus. I even thought things were getting better for awhile.

I absolutely think businesses reopened too soon.

For the most part I know I could be doing better with social distancing. I’ve been going to yoga classes and took a trip to a hotel in Miami for the weekend which was probably not my best decision.

But we made sure to keep six feet apart and wear masks.

Living with the pandemic has been really hard. I’m graduating from university this semester and always thought I’d be diving straight into my career, but a lot of companies are not hiring right now. To be honest, I don’t really know what I’m supposed to be doing.

The Florida governor needs to make it easier for people here to get a test. It should not be this hard during a pandemic to find a test.

It took days of being placed on hold or hung up on before I finally found a place that required me to stand in 99F (37C) heat for nearly two hours before I could get tested.

I watched an elderly women practically collapse as she waited in direct sunlight with no seat or water.

Thank you to everyone on the front line fighting this thing, but we need to do better.

Sarina Nunes, 22

I’m mostly worried about the people who aren’t taking it seriously here in Boca Raton and are preventing us from improving or moving forward from this.

I don’t think it was reopening businesses that caused an increase in cases. I think it was the people.

I think it’s people’s behaviour that caused the Florida outbreak, like crowding on beaches and in bars with no masks.

I personally wear a mask when I leave my home. Most places and grocery stores require it.

The pandemic has personally affected me by having my dream internship cancelled, my graduation ceremony cancelled, my senior year in college cancelled and many job opportunities cancelled.

The governor should implement rules or do something that will make people follow them.

It’s very frustrating how wearing masks has become about political opinion, rather than a simple precaution.

Rachel Moon, 23, sales rep in Houston, Texas

When we reopened, my friends all went to the Houston bars, and they have all tested positive now. If I wasn’t in the healthcare industry, I’m sure I’d still be somewhat careful.

I’m a Republican, but I don’t think Trump should be enforcing rules if he isn’t following them. I don’t agree with how he acts. I think that if he led by example, more likely people would follow and wear masks.

Like, even the people who were protesting Trump wore masks, it really isn’t that hard. So, I think that the way he acts discredits his authority.

But I think Governor Abbott and his team have done everything they can do.

Genesis Valbuena, 26, project manager, Austin

Some bar owners here in Austin are vocally going against what we need to do – criticising the data and suing the government for shutting them down.

If we continue to do this, we are going to be shut down for the rest of the year. For me that’s completely narcissistic. How certain bar owners are acting is ludicrous.

The reopening should have been done less quickly.

I think initially the decision by local and state government, who closed down everything quickly, was made out of fear instead of data.

If it was scientific evidence that led to the closure back in March, I think that the data wasn’t shared as well as it should have been. The New York governor gave daily talks where he would explain with data. That was more credible than what occurred here in Texas.

George Reyes, 19, student in Houston

The pandemic is horrible. So many people have died, but I don’t think the is media is portraying it in the correct light, and are putting the president at fault for it.

Personally, it’s affecting me with school and stuff but don’t know anyone with the virus.

When Texas reopened I was hanging out with friends on a daily basis.

Places up north are much worse. There is so much land here, and when you look at the numbers and the percentages, a lot of deaths are in nursing homes.

We shouldn’t be shutting down the economy I’m happy with the way the things reopened the way they did.

I wash my hands to be more cautious and stuff, but if I need to go to the store I’m going to go. I’ve been to a couple of parties. I am aware I could get it at a party.

I went to Austin, I thought if I’m getting it, it would for sure be then. But two weeks later I’m fine. I was around so many different people, and nothing happened.

David Schwartz, 61, banker in Miami

I have lived in Miami for the last 23 years where I lead the Florida International Bankers Association.

I am as concerned now as I was when the pandemic first started. I still have most of my essentials delivered to my house and I wear a mask anytime I go out.

I do not believe the issue is when businesses reopened, but rather how the guidelines are being respected.

My staff and I have been working remotely from home for more than 100 days now. I no longer have the freedom to go to restaurants or movies and, more importantly, to travel.

If I could speak to my governor, I would ask him to be more stringent in enforcing the recommended WHO and CDC guidelines regarding the use of masks and social distancing.

Reporting by Paula Hong and Koralie Barrau

Interviews have been edited for clarity

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World News

Denver to heat up as the week progresses weather could be stormy July 4 weekend

Below normal temperatures in Denver on Tuesday will give way to heat in the city on Thursday when toasty temps climb above normal and back into the 90s.

Skies over Denver will be mostly sunny on Tuesday as the high temperature tops out at 84 degrees, according to the National Weather Service forecast. Winds will gust to about 16 mph.

On Wednesday in Denver, the high temperature will bump up to 88 degrees under sunny skies and gustier winds, up to 22 mph, the weather service said.

Thursday will be sunny and hotter still in the city with a high temperature of 93 degrees.

The weather should be mostly dry through Thursday, with a chance of stormy weather increasing Friday and through the weekend. The July 4 weekend weather will be hot in Denver with the high temperature hitting about 90 degrees. Some weekend storms may produce heavy rains and local flooding.

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World News

Duterte presidency unravels as coronavirus ravages Philippines

Analysts say the pandemic has exposed the president’s ‘militarist’ approach and lack of a serious policy agenda.

It has been four years since Rodrigo Duterte took his oath as president of the Philippines, railing against the “erosion of faith and trust in government”, while riding on a populist wave by promising “real change” and “transparency” to the country of more than 100 million people.

But as he enters his last two years in office on Tuesday, Duterte’s leadership has proven hollow, analysts have said, adding that his handling of the continuing coronavirus pandemic has exposed his lack of serious policy, leaving many Filipinos to fend for themselves even as the economy faces its most serious challenge in decades.

From his war on drugs that killed thousands, to the deadly siege by ISIL-inspired fighters in the city of Marawi, and the current health emergency that already infected 36,000 people and killed more than 1,250 others, Duterte has relied on “militarist” approach to every major crisis he faced, even if it is not working, observers added.

Sonny Africa, executive director of the independent think-tank, IBON Foundation, said fixing the political and economic damage that Duterte has wrought in the last four years “is already a daunting task”.

“It’s scary what another two years will do,” Africa told Al Jazeera, as he warned that the Philippines “is in the worst crisis of joblessness and collapsing household incomes in its history”.

Africa, a London School of Economics-trained development expert, said that instead of addressing basic fiscal and economic reforms – such as social protection, free land distribution and the reversal of a “regressive” tax system – Duterte’s economic managers are continuing with business as usual.

“The government’s policies are not working because the self-serving political agenda and interests of economic elites are given priority over rational public health and socioeconomic relief,” he said.

If anything, the president “is opportunistically exploiting the pandemic” in advancing a political and economic agenda that shows “undue bias” for big business, cronies and foreign investors, Africa added.

Duterte has defended his policies by saying that he is “looking after the welfare” of the Filipinos, and telling them to “stop blaming the government, because the coronavirus is already here.”

He also said that he will “bet his reputation” that there are no anomalies in the government’s handling of the health crisis.

Africa noted that majority of the borrowing is for infrastructure projects that are “unlikely to be financially and economically viable, amid the changed conditions of pandemic-driven recessions”.

“Its so-called ‘recovery programme’ is a mere recycling of the same economic policies before the pandemic and are more inappropriate than ever.”

“The dependence on debt to drive the economy was questionable before and is only more so now.”


The Listening Post

Duterte vs Rappler: Media on notice in the Philippines

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World News

Donald Trump plays golf as US battles rise in coronavirus cases

The US president played golf this weekend as his country experienced a surge in Covid-19 cases.

Donald Trump was pictured at a private course he owns in Virginia on Saturday despite promising he would remain in Washington DC amid anti-racism protests.

The Loudon County course is located just outside the US capital.

It was the 271st time he had gone golfing during his term as president, which is more than the 333 visits his predecessor Barack Obama made during his whole eight years in charge, according to data from CNN and NBC.

It came as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the US rose to more than 2.5 million on Saturday as states including Arizona and Florida saw record rises.

More than 125,000 Americans have died of COVID-19, the highest known death toll from the disease in the world.

On Friday, Trump cancelled a planned weekend visit to his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, amid anti-racism protests.

Trump said he had signed a ‘very strong’ executive order protecting monuments.

A text of the order says the federal government will prosecute ‘to the fullest extent’ anyone who damages or desecrates monuments, memorials or statues.

The 2003 Veterans Memorial Preservation Act provides for prison terms of up to 10 years for destroying or attempting to destroy monuments commemorating those who served in the US armed forces.

White House spokesman Judd Deere said the cancellation was not related to New Jersey’s requirement visitors from states with high coronavirus infection rates self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

Trump visited one of the states with high rates, Arizona, earlier this week.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected] For more stories like this, check our news page.

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World News

Inside Spoons as it gets ready for punters next week

A Spoons in north London has let a photographer go behind the scenes as pubs across England prepare to reopen next month.

The Mossy Well in Muswell Hill has been kitted out with perspex screens, socially distanced furniture and plenty of hand sanitiser.

But it’s not just the layout that has changed. Punters can look forward to supermarket-style queues, table service and ‘pub hosts’ when they order their first pints since lockdown began.

Spoons and other pub chains, Greene King and McMullen’s, have revealed how their pubs will look like when they reopen from July 4, but many pubs want clearer advice from the Government that goes beyond the new one-metre rule.

So what can people expect under the ‘new normal’?

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Signing in

Many publicans have said they will be operating a pre-booking system to control customer numbers, and expect supermarket-style queues at the door.

Brewer Greene King said it will be introducing a ‘pub host’, who will manage the queues, greet customers from one metre away, and show them to their tables.


Ordering a pint

Wetherspoons and Greene King have said customers will be encouraged to use phone apps to order and pay for drinks, to avoid people congregating at the bar.

Both chains have also said their bars will be fitted with Perspex screens, hand sanitisers, and floor stickers indicating a one-way system for moving around the pub.

Eating in

Following the Government’s reduction of the two-metre social distancing restriction, pubs will be spacing tables at least one metre apart.

McMullen’s, which owns more than 130 pubs in the UK, has said some tables will be out of use to provide additional space, and opening times and menus will be ‘slightly reduced’.

Along with other industry leaders, trade body UKHospitality (UKH) put forward proposals to ministers, including that customers should be served individually-wrapped sauces and condiments rather than sharing bottles.

Some pubs have said they will be handing out one-time-use menus which customers can take away or dispose of at the venue.


Using the toilet

Cleaners will be on hand in pub toilets, and Greene King has said its cleaners will be refreshing the facilities every 15 minutes.

It added that a ‘pub safe monitor’ will be cleaning surfaces and tables, and customers will be asked to flip ‘one in, one out’ red and green indicators at the entrance to toilets with their elbow as they enter and leave.

‘New normal’ for bartenders and servers

Wetherspoons staff will be undergoing temperature checks and filling in health questionnaires before each shift and could be wearing masks, gloves, and eye protection.

When they serve drinks, they will only be touching the bottom of the glass in order to avoid transmission via the surface.

McMullen’s joint managing director Heydon Mizon said their staff will also be taking ‘daily team health checks’.


Final orders?

The Government has not yet said whether there will be a limit on the number of drinks one person can buy.

A spokesman for Wetherspoons said staff will ensure ‘customers are served responsibly’, although they hinted there would be no limit on the number of orders a customer can make.

‘Before lockdown you couldn’t order three pints for yourself at one time and that will be the case now,’ they said.

Mr Mizon said McMullen’s will also ‘operate as usual’.

‘We will serve people within the licensing criteria, with the pub being the safest controlled environment for responsible drinking – and long may it continue,’ he said.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].

For more stories like this, check our news page.

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World News

Male juvenile arrested as suspect in three Denver carjackings

A juvenile was arrested Tuesday as a suspect in a string of Denver carjackings, police said.

The boy is being held on investigation of first-degree assault and three counts of aggravated robbery, according to police. Tips from the public, after a Crime Stoppers bulletin was released Sunday, led to the arrest.

The three carjackings happened Friday:

  • 11:50 a.m., 3300 block South Oneida Street, 2009 beige Hyundai sedan
  • 3:35 p.m., 8300 block East Fairmont Drive, 2005 silver Jaguar sedan
  • 4:35 p.m., 2800 block South Newport Street, 2009 black Mercury sedan

Police are still trying to recover the Jaguar.

Anyone with information is asked to call Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867 (STOP).

 

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