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Nearly 714,000 people filed initial claims for state unemployment insurance, compared with 836,000 the week before statistical adjustments. Taking seasonal variations into account, the number was 712,000, down from 75,000 Labor Department reported Thursday.
The decline was due to two consecutive weekly increases, although the damage level remained at levels not seen in previous recessions.
The numbers are likely to have been artificially depressed by the Thanksgiving holiday, said Diane Swonk, chief economist at the accounting firm Grant Thornton in Chicago. “People don’t apply that often when there is a vacation,” she said. “There is a natural drop, but we just don’t know how big it was.”
She compared the effect to the decline in hospital data for the coronavirus seen on Sundays and holidays. While the drop in claims numbers appears to have been good news, the Thanksgiving-related drop could cause some catching up to be done when the numbers are released next week.
“It’s still bad,” she said, noting that 25 states reported more than 1,000 layoffs each week. “They’re broad-based and focused on the same sectors we saw when people pulled back in March – food services, healthcare, retail and hotels.”
Nearly 289,000 new claims were collected through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which supports freelancers, gig workers, self-employed and others who are not normally entitled to unemployment insurance.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance is one of two federal unemployment assistance programs due to expire at the end of the month. Millions will strive to make up for the money lost even if the lack of those dollars in consumer pockets dampens overall economic growth.
Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill continue to save the size of any new stimulus package with G.O.P. Leaders opposed to the multi-billion dollar bailout the Democrats are considering.
The prospect of vaccines to fight the virus is a hopeful long-term signal, but the economy will face serious challenges until vaccinations can begin on a large scale in the spring, said Michael Gapen, chief US economist at Barclays.
It aims for US economic growth near zero in the first quarter, followed by a recovery next year when consumer spending picks up.
“I think the economy is on solid foundations, but we might just have a few problems by the end of the first quarter,” said Gapen. “Stimulus would of course be helpful.”
Independent economists are largely in favor of passing more stimulus money before the end of the year – and the prospects for such a bill appear to be improving.
The Democratic leaders of Congress yesterday signaled their openness to a non-partisan stimulus package worth $ 908 billion. Democrats would prefer a bigger package, like the $ 3 trillion that the House passed in May. However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Chairman Chuck Schumer released a statement that the bipartisan plan would become “the basis for immediate bicameral bipartisan negotiations”.
The next step is with Mitch McConnell and other Senate Republicans, some of whom previously sponsored a $ 500 billion bill. There are political reasons why both sides want to react to the Americans’ economic problems: The run-off elections for the Senate in Georgia on January 5th will determine which party controls the Senate.
The economy seems to have already slowed in the last few weeks as the number of viruses increased. And the situation is likely to get worse unless Congress gives further incentive. Many regulations that have been in place since the spring are slated to end on December 31st. The effects include:
Approximately seven million freelancers, contract workers, and other Americans who are not eligible for traditional unemployment benefits are losing their relief. The average is now $ 1,058 per month.
Nearly five million more people who have been unemployed for at least six months will also be excluded from aid – which now averages $ 1,253 per month. The usual limit on unemployment benefits is 26 weeks and a provision extending it to 39 weeks is expiring.
A tax credit that incentivized more than 125,000 companies not to lay off workers is expiring. Businesses will also lose the ability to defer payroll taxes and make deductions for business losses.
Aid to state and local governments – $ 150 billion – is running out. Without further help, these governments will likely have to make cuts to schools, police forces, health care, and other programs.
Last year Nestlé pledged to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050. Today the company released a detailed 27-page plan on how it will get there.
Almost two thirds of the emissions from the Swiss food giant come from agriculture, where reducing emissions requires working with around 500,000 farmers and 150,000 suppliers. It’s more complicated than just switching to renewable electricity or compensating for business travel (which Nestlé does).
Mark Schneider, the company’s managing director, spoke to the DealBook newsletter about how he got support from 290,000+ employees – and how he’ll sell investors if he pays now to hit a goal 30 years from now.
Long-term investors see the net zero promise as “future-proof for the company,” said Schneider, especially as environmental laws become stricter and consumers increasingly look for climate-friendly products. For shorter-horizons investors, the promise is “income neutral,” he added: Although the investments will cost around $ 3.6 billion over the next five years, they will be funded by operational efficiencies and will ultimately allow the company to “get a premium.” for “to raise better products. “
“There is also an increase in sales,” said Schneider. “The margin is not going backwards.”
After he announced the goals with “great fanfare”, it would be “a matter of honor” to achieve them, he said. Still, the executives who make these commitments are likely to have retired by 2050. In order to give the plan its teeth, starting next year the company will tie part of its Executive Committee’s annual bonuses to quantifiable environmental factors. “We put our money where our mouth is,” he said.
Nestlé made the net zero commitment about six months before the pandemic, which had two main impacts on the pledge, Schneider said.
On the positive side, the urgency to combat climate change has increased. “People can see what can happen if you wait too long and address and handle a problem early on,” he said. And being locked up at home has given people time “to think about what really matters,” he added.
On the negative side, the financial incentive to save the global economy – which was necessary, Schneider emphasized – has burdened the world with huge, unexpected debts. This means less “scope from a public perspective” for measures such as the long-term reduction of greenhouse gases.
More than five million companies received loans under the federal government’s signed small business aid program, but a tiny fraction of those companies devoured huge sums of money, new data shows.
Detailed credit information released by the Small Business Administration showed that approximately 600 companies received $ 10 million in loans, the largest under the $ 523 billion paycheck protection program. And only 1 percent of borrowers received more than a quarter of the total amount paid out, report Stacy Cowley and Ella Koeze of the New York Times.
The data is the first full account of how federal funds are being used by the P.P.P. The struggling small businesses offered forgivable loans to help them keep workers and keep up with the bills.
Companies that have received the $ 10 million maximum loan include dozen of restaurant chains, including Black Angus Steakhouses, P.F. Chang’s, Legal Sea Foods, and TGI Friday’s, taking advantage of an exception advocated by the restaurant industry.
Prominent law firms such as Boies Schiller Flexner, the high-priced law firm led by David Boies, and Kasowitz Benson Torres, founded and led by Marc E. Kasowitz, longtime personal attorney for President Trump, also raised $ 10 million in loans .
The data also shows how inconsistent the S.B.A. Funds disbursed through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan, an ongoing relief effort that offers businesses and nonprofits low-interest loans direct from the government to help them rebuild their troubled operations.
Two organizations received loans totaling more than $ 500,000 in early April, the cap the agency set for the program later that month. The Stamford, Connecticut Jewish Community Center received $ 900,000 and the CWC Group, a chiropractic clinic in Bellevue, Washington, received $ 713,900.
More than 8,000 organizations received $ 500,000 in loans, a limit that was later lowered to $ 150,000, where it has remained since May. The E.I.D.L. The program has issued 3.6 million loans totaling $ 194 billion since the coronavirus crisis began – far more than the program has issued in its entire 67-year history.
After the loss of President Trump to former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., more than 40 percent of Republicans polled for the New York Times said their family would be financially worse in a year, up from 4 percent in October . Democrats expressed an increase in optimism – albeit not as much as the change in Republican sentiment.
The new survey by the online research company SurveyMonkey confirms the extent to which American trust in the way business is intertwined with partisanship and ideology. In the days following the election, Democrats and independent voters showed higher confidence in the economy than Republicans for the first time since Trump took office in 2017, New York Times report Jim Tankersley and Ben Casselman.
Here are some of the results of the survey:
Democrats said almost three times as often in November as in October that they expected good or very good business conditions in the country next year. It was more than twice as likely as in October that they expected “consistently good times economically for the next five years”.
In fact, Republicans were more likely to say they were fine in November than in October. But nearly three in four respondents said they expected “periods of widespread unemployment or depression” in the next few years, up from three in ten in October.
Some of Mr Biden’s proposals are supported by Republican voters. More than four in ten Republicans support the tax hike for people who earn more than $ 400,000 a year. Three-quarters of Republicans support a proposal to guarantee workers paid sick leave during the coronavirus pandemic.
After the elections in the last few decades, large shifts in confidence among the partisans have become common. Republican economic sentiment fell when Barack Obama was elected president in 2008 and then rose when Mr Trump was elected in 2016. The confidence reported by the Republicans themselves remained well above that of the Democrats for the entire Trump administration until the election reversed the pattern again.
About the survey: The data in the article comes from an online survey of 3,477 adults conducted by the SurveyMonkey polling agency November 9-15. The company randomly selected respondents from the nearly three million people who take surveys on its platform each day. The responses have been weighted to match the demographic profile of the United States population. The survey has a modeled error estimate (similar to an error rate in a standard telephone survey) of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points, so differences less than this amount are not statistically significant.
Many homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure find it a little easier to breathe – at least for another month.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency, the regulator that oversees mortgages at the federal level, said Wednesday that single-family homeowners with loans backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac will be protected from foreclosure until at least January 31, 2021. The moratorium was expected to expire at the end of this month.
People living in properties that either Fannie or Freddie took over because the owner couldn’t pay the mortgage also received relief: regulators also extended their eviction moratorium.
“This expansion gives security to more than 28 million homeowners with corporate-backed mortgages,” said Mark Calabria, director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, referring to the two so-called government-sponsored companies.
Fannie and Freddie, who buy many loans from lenders and package them into investments, aren’t the only government organizations to have moratoriums on credit in connection with their work. The Federal Housing Administration, which frequently insures loans to borrowers who are depositing less money, has a foreclosure and eviction moratorium through December 31st. A spokeswoman for the agency said she was considering the next steps.
The regulator that oversaw Fannie and Freddie said the pandemic relief should cost both borrowers and renters from loan defaults, foreclosures and related losses as early as $ 6 billion. The one-month extension will help.
Homeowners can find out who their mortgage belongs to by entering their address on various government websites.
Wall Street was poised to open unchanged and European indices fell on another quiet trading day on Thursday.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 0.4 percent. The CAC in France fell 0.4 percent and the DAX in Germany fell 0.5 percent, while the British FTSE 100 fluctuated between gains and losses. In Asia, the Nikkei 225 closed little changed in Japan, while the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong rose 0.7 percent.
The S&P 500 is up less than 1 percent this week after the index rose nearly 11 percent in November. This was the best monthly value since April and one of the best months in three decades.
Initial U.S. state unemployment benefits declined last week after rising for two straight weeks as a surge in virus cases triggered curfews and other social restrictions across the country. Nearly 714,000 people sought government assistance for the first time last week to highlight the ongoing economic crisis and pressure Congress to deliver a fiscal bailout soon, as President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. has called for.
As a sign of progress, top Democrats in Congress on Wednesday approved a $ 908 billion compromise plan proposed by a non-partisan group of moderate senators. It’s far smaller than what they suggested earlier. The group called on Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican majority leader, to resume negotiations.
Oil prices fell. West Texas intermediate futures fell 0.6 percent to $ 44.99 a barrel. OPEC and other oil-producing countries, including Russia, will meet later Thursday to discuss whether to continue their production cuts or increase production by two million barrels a day from next month, as they previously agreed.