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Business Highlights

March 10, 2021 GMT

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Why the pandemic left long-term scars on global job market

NEW YORK (AP) — When the viral pandemic slammed violently into the U.S. economy a year ago, igniting a devastating recession, it swept away tens of millions of jobs. Even as viral vaccines increasingly promise a return to something close to normal life, the coronavirus seems sure to leave permanent scars on the job market. At least 30% of the U.S. jobs lost to the pandemic aren’t expected to come back — a sizable proportion of them at employers that require face-to-face contact with consumers: Hotels, restaurants, retailers, entertainment venues. The threat to workers in those occupations, many of them low-wage earners, marks a sharp reversal from the Great Recession, when middle- and higher-wage workers bore the brunt of job losses.

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What’s inside the $1.9T COVID-19 bill passed by Congress

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House has passed a sweeping pandemic relief package over Republican opposition. The bill now goes to President Joe Biden for his signature. The $1.9 trillion bill provides direct payments of up to $1,400 for most Americans, extends emergency unemployment benefits and boosts spending for COVID-19 vaccines and testing. It also provides billions to states and cities, schools and ailing industries. Democrats say their “American Rescue Plan” will help the country defeat the virus and nurse the economy back to health. Republicans criticize the measure as more expensive than necessary and that it sends money to projects not directly tied to the pandemic.

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Security camera hack exposes hospitals, workplaces, schools

BOSTON (AP) — Hackers aiming to call attention to the dangers of mass surveillance said they were able to peer into hospitals, schools, factories, jails and corporate offices after they broke into the systems of a security-camera startup. That California startup, Verkada, said Wednesday it is investigating the scope of the breach, first reported by Bloomberg, and has notified law enforcement and its customers. The hackers said they were able to peer for two days into live feeds from potentially tens of thousands of cameras, including many that were watching sensitive locations such as hospitals and schools.

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Facebook moves to dismiss federal, state antitrust suits

MENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) — Facebook has asked a court to dismiss state and federal antitrust lawsuits that accuse it of abusing its market power in social networking to crush smaller competitors. The social media giant said Wednesday that the complaints “do not credibly claim” that its conduct harmed either consumers or market competition. The antitrust suits, filed in December by the Federal Trade Commission and 48 states, are seeking remedies that could include a forced spinoff of the social network’s Instagram and WhatsApp services. The FTC said Facebook has engaged in a a “systematic strategy” to eliminate its competition, including by buying smaller rivals.

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GE, AerCap join air leasing businesses in $30 billion deal

BOSTON (AP) — General Electric is combining its aircraft leasing business with Ireland’s AerCap Holdings in a deal valued at more than $30 billion, a big step in what has become a six year endeavor to reshape the one-time global conglomerate. The agreement to push GE Capital Aviation Services, or GCAS, into a separate business puts GE closer to its goal of shedding most of its enormous financial wing that nearly sank it during the 2008 financial crisis. AerCap will pay about $24 billion in cash for GCAS, and GE will take an approximately 46% ownership stake in combined company, and $1 billion paid in AerCap notes or cash at closing.

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US budget deficit hits record $1.05 trillion after 5 months

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government’s budget deficit through February hit an all-time high of $l.05 trillion for the first five months of this budget year. The red ink pooled as spending to deal with the coronavirus pandemic surged at a pace far above the increase in tax revenue. The Treasury Department reported Wednesday that the October through February deficit was 68% larger than the $624.5 billion deficit recorded during the same period last year. It easily surpassed the previous five-month deficit of $652 billion set in 2010 when the government was spending to try to lift the country out of the deep recession caused by the 2008 financial crisis.

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Stocks mostly climb, except tech, as inflation worries ease

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks closed mostly higher on Wall Street as a benign reading on inflation led to long-term interest rates easing lower in the bond market. The S&P 500 added 0.6%, but a drop in Big Tech stocks pulled the Nasdaq down slightly. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at a record high. A key measure of inflation came in lower than expected for February, helping to allay concerns that prices could rise too quickly as the economy recovers. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.52% after going as high as 1.60% late last week.

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The S&P 500 rose 23.37 points, or 0.6%, to 3,898.81. The Dow gained 464.28 points, or 1.5%, to 32,297.02. The Nasdaq slipped 4.99 points, or less than 0.1%, to 13,068.83. The Russell 2000 of smaller-company stocks picked up 40.62 points, or 1.8%, to 2,285.68.