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Unemployed claims could reveal more evidence of an improvement: Live updates

Outdoor dining at a restaurant in Philadelphia last week.  Economists predict an improved job market as the spread of the vaccine accelerates and more states lift business restrictions.
Credit…Hannah Beier for The New York Times

More evidence of labor market improvement could emerge Thursday morning as the Labor Department reports the latest data on new unemployment benefit claims.

The rising pace of vaccinations – combined with the easing of restrictions on business and consumer activity in many states and the advent of stimulus funds – has helped raise employment in recent weeks.

On Friday, the government reported that employers added 916,000 jobs in March, twice the gain in February and the most since August. Unemployment fell to 6 percent, the lowest since the pandemic began, when nearly 350,000 people rejoined the workforce.

Most experts expect a continued economic recovery, supported by the passage of the Biden administration’s $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package in March. Most individuals have received payments of $ 1,400 provided by the bill, and the funds from the legislation should add firepower to an economy that is expected to grow by more than 6 percent this year.

“As more and more of the service sector comes online, I think we will see significant declines in the number of claims,” ​​said Rubeela Farooqi, U.S. chief economist at high-frequency economics.

There is still plenty of land to compensate for.

Even after March’s job gains, the economy is 8.4 million jobs smaller than it was in February 2020. Entire sectors such as travel and leisure as well as restaurants and bars have only begun to recover after the millions of job losses that followed the pandemic have arrived.

The union ballots run at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Ala., Are expected to be spoken by hand starting Thursday afternoon or Friday morning.
Credit…Charity Rachelle for The New York Times

The union, which sought to represent workers at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama, said late Wednesday that there were 3,215 ballots – or about 55 percent of the approximately 5,800 workers eligible to vote.

The votes are expected to be spoken by hand, starting either Thursday afternoon or Friday morning at the National Labor Relations Board’s office in Birmingham, according to the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union. Hundreds of ballots are disputed, mostly by Amazon, the union said.

The vote count will be displayed on a video conference call to a small number of outsiders, including journalists, in addition to union and company representatives.

EU elections are typically held in person, but the Labor government decided that the election should be conducted by mail to minimize risks during the pandemic. The votes were sent to workers in early February and were due to reach the agency by 30 March. Since then, Amazon and the union have had a chance to challenge whether a particular worker was eligible to vote.

When the public count is complete, the Agency shall announce the formal results if the margin of victory for one side is greater than the number of contested votes.

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

Baoshan second reservoir.  Not a single typhoon landed in last year's rainy season.
Credit…A Rong Xu to The New York Times

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

Chipmakers use plenty of water to clean their factories and discs, the thin slices of silicon that form the basis of the chips, Raymond Zhong and Amy Chang Chien report for The New York Times. In 2019, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company’s facilities in Hsinchu will consume 63,000 tons of water per day, according to the company, or more than 10 percent of the supply from two local reservoirs.

In recent months, the government has:

But the most far-reaching measure has been halting irrigation, which affects 183,000 acres of farmland, about one-fifth of Taiwan’s irrigated land.

The Taiwanese public seems to have decided that rice farming is less important, both to the island and the world, than semiconductors. The government subsidizes the producers for the lost income. But Chuang Cheng-deng, 55, is worried that the counter-harvest will cause customers to seek out other suppliers, which could mean years of depressed earnings.

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

Prosecutors accuse the French arm of Ikea, the Swedish interior design giant, and some of its former leaders of constructing a “espionage system” from 2009 to 2012 in a criminal case that has riveted public attention in France.

The alleged snooping was used to investigate employees and union organizers, check employees on medical leave and upgrade customers seeking refunds for rejected orders, reports Liz Alderman for The New York Times. A former military operator was hired to carry out some of the more covert operations.

A total of 15 people have been charged. A verdict from a panel of judges is scheduled for June 15.

The case caused an uproar in 2012 after emails were leaked to the French news media and Ikea immediately fired several executives in its French unit, including its CEO. There is no evidence that similar surveillance took place in any of the other 52 countries, with the global retailer refining a new face image of stylish frugality served with Swedish meatballs.

The victims’ lawyers described a methodical operation that ran on two tracks: one involved background and criminal control of job candidates and employees without their knowledge, and another targeted at union leaders and members.

Ikea’s lawyer, Emmanuel Daoud, denied that systemic monitoring had been carried out in Ikea’s stores in France. He claimed that any invasion of privacy had been the work of a single person, Jean-François Paris, the head of risk management at the French unit.

Emails and receipts showed that Mr Paris handed over much of his legwork to Jean-Pierre Fourès, who monitored hundreds of job seekers, gathered information from social media and other sources to speed up control and employment. He also carried out background checks on unsuspecting customers who flooded with Ikea over large refunds. He insisted that he had never broken the law regarding the collection of background material.

The surveillance included career workers. In one case, Mr Fourès was hired to investigate whether Ikea France’s deputy director of communications and merchandising, who was on annual sick leave recovering from hepatitis C, had falsified the severity of her illness when executives got knowing that she had traveled to Morocco.

A carnival cruise ship docked last year in Long Beach, California.  The cruise ship has threatened to move its ships outside US ports.
Credit…Lucy Nicholson / Reuters
  • Carnival Cruise Line, the largest cruise operator in the United States, is optimistic that several of its U.S.-based lines will be operational in July, it said Wednesday as it reported first-quarter results. Reservation volumes for future Carnival cruises were about 90 percent higher in the first quarter of 2021 than in the previous quarter, “reflecting both the significant accumulated demand and the long-term potential for cruises,” Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation, said. a statement Wednesday. The company reported a net loss of $ 2 billion. In the first quarter of 2021.

  • Trade unions representing employees of two prominent podcasting companies owned by Spotify, the audiostreaming giant, announced on Wednesday that they had ratified their first employment contracts. The larger of the two unions with 65 employees is on The Ringer, a sports and pop culture site with a podcasting network. The other union, at the podcast production company Gimlet Media, has just under 50 employees. The two groups were among the first in the podcasting industry to unite, and both are represented by the Writers Guild of America, East.

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