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Jobless Claims Could Reveal More Evidence of a Recovery: Live Updates

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Here’s what you need to know:

Recognition…Hannah Beier for the New York Times

More evidence of the labor market recovery could be in place Thursday morning when the Department of Labor reports the latest data on new unemployment benefits claims.

The increasing pace of vaccination – coupled with the easing of restrictions on business and consumer activity in many states and the arrival of stimulus funds – has helped raise attitudes in recent weeks.

On Friday, the government reported that employers created 916,000 jobs in March, double the number in February and the most since August. The unemployment rate fell to 6 percent, the lowest level since the pandemic began. Almost 350,000 people are back in work.

Most experts expect a sustained economic recovery, supported by the Biden government’s adoption of the $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus aid package in March. Most people have received $ 1,400 in payments, and the funding from the legislation should give firepower to an economy that is expected to grow more than 6 percent this year.

“As more service sectors go online, I think the number of claims will decrease significantly,” said Rubeela Farooqi, US chief economist at High Frequency Economics.

Still, there is still a lot to do.

Even after employment growth in March, the economy is 8.4 million fewer jobs than in February 2020. Entire sectors such as travel and leisure as well as restaurants and bars are only gradually recovering from the millions of job losses that resulted from the arrival of the pandemic.

The ballots in the union ride at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, are expected to be hand counted starting Thursday afternoon or Friday morning.Recognition…Charity Rachelle for the New York Times

The union, which plans to represent workers at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama, announced late Wednesday that 3,215 ballots had been cast – or about 55 percent of the roughly 5,800 workers eligible to vote.

Ballot papers are expected to be counted by hand in the National Labor Relations Board office in Birmingham starting Thursday afternoon or Friday morning, according to the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union. Hundreds of ballots are being challenged, mostly from Amazon, the union said.

The vote count is shown in a video conference call to a small number of outsiders, including journalists, as well as to representatives of the union and the company.

Union elections are usually held in person, but the Labor Authority decided that the elections should be done by mail in order to minimize the risks during the pandemic. The ballot papers were mailed to workers in early February and were due at the agency before March 30th. Since then, Amazon and the union have had the opportunity to check whether certain workers were eligible to vote.

When the public census is complete, the agency will announce the formal results if the profit margin for one side is greater than the number of controversial ballots.

If the margin is tighter, it may take two to three weeks for the NLRB to hold a hearing to sort through the contested ballots and obtain evidence from both sides as to whether they should be counted.

The second Baoshan Reservoir.  Not a single typhoon landed during the rainy season last year.Recognition…A Rong Xu for the New York Times

Officials call Taiwan’s drought the worst in more than half a century. And it depicts the tremendous challenges associated with hosting the island’s semiconductor industry, which is an increasingly indispensable hub in the global supply chains for smartphones, automobiles, and other cornerstones of modern life.

Chip makers use lots of water to clean their factories and wafers, the thin silicon disks that make up the chips. Raymond Zhong and Amy Chang Chien report for the New York Times. In 2019, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company’s facilities in Hsinchu were consuming 63,000 tons of water per day, or more than 10 percent of the supply from two local reservoirs, according to the company.

In the past few months the government has:

The most comprehensive measure, however, has been to stop irrigation, which affects 183,000 acres of arable land, roughly one-fifth of Taiwan’s irrigated land.

The Taiwanese public appears to have decided that growing rice is less important than semiconductors to both the island and the world. The government subsidizes the producers for the loss of income. However, 55-year-old Chuang Cheng-deng fears that the thwarted harvest will lead customers to seek other suppliers, which could mean years of poor yields.

The Ikea store in Franconville, France, where employees were being monitored, showed documents.Recognition…Elliott values ​​for the New York Times

Prosecutors have accused the French arm of Ikea, the Swedish home furnishings giant, and some of its former executives, of developing a “spy system” from 2009 to 2012 in a criminal case that caught the public eye in France.

The alleged snooping has been used to investigate employees and union organizers, investigate workers on vacation, and assess customers seeking refunds for botched orders, Liz Alderman reports for the New York Times. A former military agent has been hired to carry out some of the more secretive operations.

A total of 15 people are charged. A jury judgment is scheduled for June 15th.

The case caused outrage in 2012 after the emails leaked to the French news media and Ikea immediately fired several executives in its French unit, including its managing director. There is no evidence that similar surveillance has taken place in any of the other 52 countries where the global retailer is serving up a fresh picture of stylish frugality with Swedish meatballs.

The victims’ lawyers described a methodical operation that took place in two ways: one that involved background and criminal checks on applicants and workers without their knowledge, and another that targeted union leaders and members.

Ikea attorney Emmanuel Daoud denied that system-wide surveillance had been carried out in Ikea’s French stores. He argued that any invasion of privacy was the work of a single person, Jean-François Paris, the head of risk management for the French unit.

Emails and receipts showed that Mr Paris turned much of the work over to Jean-Pierre Fourès, who monitored hundreds of applicants and gathered information from social media and other sources to expedite review and hiring. He also ran background checks on unsuspecting customers who got tangled up with Ikea for large refunds. He insisted that he had never broken the law while collecting background material.

The surveillance included working people. In one case, Mr Fourès was tasked with investigating whether Ikea France’s deputy director of communications and merchandising, who had been ill for a year and recovered from hepatitis C, faked the severity of her illness when managers learned that she had traveled to Morocco.

A carnival cruise ship docked in Long Beach, California last year.  The cruise line has threatened to move its ships outside of US ports.Recognition…Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

  • Carnival Cruise Line, the largest US cruise operator, is optimistic that several of its US-based lines will be operational by July, the company said on Wednesday as it reported its financial data for the first quarter. Bookings for future Carnival cruises were about 90 percent higher in the first quarter of 2021 than in the previous quarter, which “reflects both the significant pent-up demand and long-term potential for cruises,” said Arnold Donald, managing director of Carnival Corporation, the cruise company’s parent company in a statement on Wednesday. The company reported a net loss of $ 2 billion for the first quarter of 2021.

  • Unions representing employees of two well-known podcasting companies owned by Spotify, the audio streaming giant, announced on Wednesday that they had ratified their first employment contracts. The larger of the two unions, with 65 employees, is at The Ringer, a sports and pop culture website with a podcasting network. The second union of the podcast production company Gimlet Media employs almost 50 people. The two groups were among the first in the podcasting industry to unionise, and both are represented by the Writers Guild of America, East.

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Robert Dunfee