Jobless Claims May Show Uptick as Trend Stays Positive: Live Updates

Shoppers in the Bronx this month. Government assistance has enabled more consumer spending, contributing to recent gains in the labor market.
Credit…Karsten Moran for The New York Times

The latest update on the labor market is scheduled to arrive Thursday morning when the government releases its weekly report on jobless claims.

The unexpectedly sharp drop announced last Thursday took Wall Street by surprise and fueled hopes that the economic recovery was gaining momentum. About 613,000, it was the lowest weekly total of initial claims for state unemployment benefits since the pandemic began, though still high by historical standards.

This time, analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expect the figure to climb. Even so, most forecasters maintain that the labor market is improving.

“We know from experience that weekly claims bounce around from one week to the next,” said Gregory Daco, chief U.S. economist at Oxford Economics, and reports from states like California tended to spike and drop. What matters is the longer-term trend, he said, and since January, there has been consistent progress.

Warmer weather, more extensive coronavirus vaccination efforts and a stream of government assistance that has enabled consumer spending have all contributed to recent gains.

Still, the labor market remains encumbered by anxiety about coronavirus infections and the demands of child care when regular school schedules have been disrupted.

According to the Census Bureau’s weekly Household Pulse Survey, more than four million people who were unemployed in March said they were not working because they were afraid of catching Covid-19.

“It’s important to keep in mind that the trend is going in the right direction,” said Heidi Shierholz, director of policy at the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute, “but we’re still at crisis levels of unemployment claims.”

Thomas Gottstein, the chief executive of Credit Suisse, described the loss as “unacceptable.” If not for the collapse of Archegos, the bank said it would have made a pretax profit of 3.6 billion francs.
Credit…Ennio Leanza/Keystone, via Associated Press

Credit Suisse said on Thursday that it suffered a loss in the first quarter stemming from loans it made to the collapsed investment fund Archegos Capital Management, a debacle that has prompted Switzerland’s financial regulator to investigate whether the bank was doing a poor job monitoring the riskiness of its investments.

The loss of 252 million Swiss francs, about $275 million, from January through March, came after a loss of 4.4 billion francs from Archegos wiped out a big increase in revenue and forced the departure of some top executives. Credit Suisse also said on Thursday that it had sold bonds to investors to shore up its capital.

The bank, based in Zurich, has suffered a series of calamities this year that have severely damaged its reputation and finances. Swiss regulators are also investigating a spying scandal and Credit Suisse’s sale of $10 billion in funds packaged by Greensill Capital. The funds were based on financing provided to companies, many of which had low credit ratings or were not rated at all. Greensill collapsed in March, and its ties to former Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain have caused a political scandal.

The Swiss regulator, known as Finma, said it would “investigate in particular possible shortcomings in risk management” at Credit Suisse. Finma also said that it would “continue to exchange information with the competent authorities in the U.K. and the U.S.A.”

If not for the Archegos loss, Credit Suisse would have made a pretax profit of 3.6 billion francs, the bank said. Revenue for the quarter rose 30 percent to 7.6 billion francs as Credit Suisse raked in fees from lively trading on stock and bond markets.

The quarterly loss, described as “unacceptable” in a statement by the bank’s chief executive, Thomas Gottstein, compared to a profit of 1.3 billion francs in the first quarter of 2020.

An AirTag, which Apple introduced this week as an attachment that helps owners find lost items, and which Tile says is a copy of its trackers.
Credit…Apple, via Reuters

Tile said Apple boxed out its products and then copied them. Spotify said Apple blocked it from telling customers that they could find cheaper prices outside its iPhone app. And Match Group testified that it now paid nearly $500 million a year to Apple and Google in app store fees, the dating company’s single largest expense.

That testimony came Wednesday at a Senate hearing on Apple’s and Google’s control over their app stores, held by the Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust. The hearing was the latest example of the growing scrutiny of Big Tech and the increasing agreement among Democrats, Republicans and smaller companies that the world’s biggest tech companies have become too powerful.

At the hearing, representatives from Apple and Google defended their companies’ practices, saying that they don’t copy competitors, that few apps pay their commissions and that they charge the commissions to fund the security of their app stores.

Both Democratic and Republican senators were skeptical of those explanations. “Google and Apple are here to defend the patently indefensible,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut. “If you presented this fact pattern in a law school antitrust exam, the students would laugh the professor out of the classroom, because it is such an obvious violation of our antitrust laws.”

Apple and Google have long had a stranglehold on the business of mobile apps. But that position, which has earned them hundreds of billions of dollars, has increasingly led to regulatory, legal and public-relations headaches.

Federal and state lawmakers are holding hearings and considering legislation to weaken the companies’ app-store controls. The Justice Department is investigating the issue. And in a trial next month, Apple is set to face off against Epic Games, the Fortnite maker, which is suing Apple for forcing it to use Apple’s payment system in its iPhone app.

Jared Sine, the chief legal officer at Match Group, said on Wednesday that Google had called his company the previous night when his planned testimony became public. He said Google wondered why his testimony appeared to be tougher than what Match had said on a recent earnings call.

Mr. Blumenthal called that intimidation, and Senator Amy Klobuchar, the Minnesota Democrat who is the subcommittee’s chairwoman, suggested that the senators would investigate.

Wilson White, a government affairs official at Google, said that Match was an important partner and that Google would never aim to intimidate the company.

“There are many, many ways they could hurt our business,” Mr. Sine said. “We’re all afraid, is the reality, Senator. We’re fortunate you’re listening to us today.”

“Well,” Ms. Klobuchar replied, “I hope the Justice Department is, too.”

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