The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell last week to 787,000, a positive sign for the struggling labor market, the WSJ reported. The reading came in below the median economist estimate of 870,000 compiled by Bloomberg and also shows a decline from the prior week’s revised total. Continuing claims — the aggregate total of Americans receiving state unemployment benefits, fell by 1.02 million to 8.37 million, the decline shows that some of the unemployed are finding new jobs or being recalled to their old jobs. But it also indicates that many jobless people have used up their state unemployment aid. According to the Department of Labor, for the week ending October 17, 53 states reported 345,440 workers applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), a program for the self-employed and gig workers, the report shows.


New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is planning to bring 25% of its city government workers back to offices by the end of the year — a move that comes as business leaders call for the employees’ return, according to the Wall Street Journal. Bringing back the city’s workforce could deliver a significant boost to the metro’s office buildings — the city government is the largest employer in the area — which has been languishing nearly empty since the pandemic began. However, the plan is still under development and it which could be changed if NYC sees a large resurgence of the virus, the city officials said. A study found that only 10% of Manhattan office workers were back as of Sept.18 — a much slower rate than in most other large cities across the country, according to a survey of employers conducted by the Partnership for New York City.


CVS Health Corp. said it will hire 15,000 pharmacy workers during the fall and winter months for an expected increase in coronavirus and flu cases in the United States. Two-thirds of those new hires will be full-time and part-time licensed pharmacy technicians at its pharmacy locations and could help administer Covid-19 tests and vaccines. CVS stated that it’s looking for pharmacists, nurses, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, member benefit case professionals, and distribution center employees who will work in the stores. The company also said it needs several thousand work-from-home customer service representatives in several states. Many of the positions are temporary with the possibility of becoming permanent, the company added. We’re estimating a much greater need for trained pharmacy technicians this year given the continued presence of COVID-19 in our communities, said Lisa Bisaccia, senior vice president of CVS Health.


The U.S gross domestic product is expected to increase by about 30% or more in the third quarter, a sign that economy continues to recover from the shock created by COVID-19 pandemic. That would be easily the biggest increase ever in modern times. The economy shrank by a record 31.4% annual rate in the second quarter of 2020 — slightly lower than a 31.7 percent plunge in the second estimate. For the full year, the Federal Reserve sees the economy shrinking by 3.6%. The U.S. is set to release third-quarter growth figures this Thursday. However, the economy would still be about 3% smaller compared to the end of 2019, said Gus Faucher, senior vice president and chief economist of PNC Financial Services.


According to the National Association of Realtors, existing homes sales rose 9.4% in September, marking the fourth straight monthly gain after big consecutive declines in March, April, and May. Home-buying is also exceeding pre-pandemic levels, as September’s sales were up 20.9% annually. The median existing home price was $311,800, up 0.5 percent from $310.400 in August and up 14.8 percent from $271,500 a year ago. The Wall Street Journal reported that sales and prices rose in all regions of the country, although sales were in the Northeast strongest. More than 7 in 10 homes sold in September 2020–71% — were on the market for less than a month. Home prices are simply rising too fast as Americans are splurging on spending for housing, said Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the NA.


Wall Street profits rocketed 82% in the first half of this year, marking the largest profit since 2009, according to a report from the state comptroller’s office. Pretax profits over the first six months of 2020 reached $27.6 billion. The industry’s profits for all of 2019 totaled $28.1 billion. The profits jump was due to the release of $2.4 trillion in federal stimulus funding to stem the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, as well as falling interest rates, which reduced the cost of borrowing. Underwriting revenues have also boosted Wall Street firms’ profits this year which increased more than 34%, to $17.3 billion, compared with the same period last year.


Meanwhile, we have a new Guinness World Record. A man in the US named David Rush, who showed off his coordination and broke a Guinness World Record when he sliced through 40 thrown crab apples while juggling three knives — beating the previous record of 36, which was set by Josh and Cassie Horton on the set of Live with Kelly and Ryan in 2018. Rush’s neighbor Jonathan Hannon threw 41 apples in the 1 minute time period, and Rush sliced one through all except, setting the new record at 40, according to UPI. David said it took 1 1/2 years of casual training and several weeks of serious preparation to get to the point where he could take on the record. He has broken more than 150 Guinness records for juggling, balancing, and many more with a mission to promote STEM.



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