The number of Americans applying for jobless benefits rose by 860,000 in the week ending Sept. 12, a decrease of 33000 from the previous week, signaling a gradual improvement in the battered labor market, the Department of Labor reported. Despite the improvement, last week’s claims is roughly four-times higher before the pandemic shut down many businesses in March. Continuing claims in regular state programs, which lag initial claims by a week, fell by almost 1 million, to 12.6 million, in the week ended Sept. 5. Furthermore, for the week ending September 12, 52 states reported there were 658,737 unadjusted initial claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), according to the report.
A recent study found that freelancers contributed $1.2 trillion to the US economy this year as the pandemic continues to change the nature of work arrangements, according to the report from CNBC. Compared to 2019, this was a 22% increase, which is driven partly by the influx of younger, highly-skilled professionals seeking flexible alternatives to traditional employment. The report shows there are 59 million freelancers in the U.S. — just over a third of the American workforce — and 36% of them do this type of work full-time amid the pandemic — an increase of 2 million freelancers since 2019. However, move toward more remote work likely will accelerate the trend, said Hayden Brown, President and CEO of Upwork.
Tech-giant Google said it announced plans to invest an additional $600 million in their Henderson data center in Southern Nevada, according to Gov. Steve Sisolak. Google will bring its total investment in the city of Henderson to $1.2 billion after its initial $600 million investment in the facility. The company’s total proposed investment to the State of Nevada is more than $1.8 billion, which also includes the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center site, Sisolak added. The data center is expected to be fully operational in 2021 and also estimated this will create more than 2,696 construction jobs, according to the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development.
Six months into the COVID-19 pandemic, America’s offices sit half empty. The fate of entire industries remains unknown. In some cities, like San Francisco and New York as broad reopening is allowed — offices, retail, warehouses, and manufacturing all still well below 50% of their pre-pandemic activity. Other cities, like Washington, D.C, and Chicago are returning somewhat unevenly, with manufacturing and warehouses around 75% their normal activity, but offices are still lagging — half empty.
While companies are reopening this fall, many businesses allowing employees to work remotely at least part-time for the foreseeable future, suggesting that it could take years before offices return to pre-covid occupancy levels. Click here to see how all 50 states are reopening and closing again.
Industrial production in the United States rose 0.4% in August — the fourth consecutive monthly increase after sharp declines in March and April. But it had still remained 7.3% below its pre-pandemic February level, the Federal Reserve announced in a report. Manufacturing output rose 1% — a slower pace than in June and July. Mining production, which includes oil and gas extraction, fell 2.5% because of drops in oil production caused by shutdowns ahead of Hurricane Laura. Production of cars and trucks fell 3.7% in August after a strong gain in July. The output of utilities also fell 0.4% after a strong 3.8% rise in July while capacity utilization rose to 71.4% in August, according to data from the Federal Reserve.
The Census Bureau reported that U.S. retail sales increased by 0.6% in August- marked the fourth straight month of growth, beating market expectations but the gain was significantly slower than the 8.4% gain in June. The report shows that spending increased at clothing (2.9%), furniture (2.1%), building materials, and garden equipment (2%) while household goods sales increased 9.9% when compared with February — this shows that spending for home improvements continued to rise. At the same time, declines were seen in grocery stores (1.6%), department stores (2.3%), while sporting goods and music stores saw a 5.7% decline, according to the report.
A new fast-moving bobcat fire in California has scorched more than 100,000 acres and was still only 15% contained as of Monday, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department. This bobcat fire becomes one of the largest wildfires in Los Angeles County history. The cause of the Bobcat Fire, which started on September 6, is still unknown, the officials said. The fire estimated contamination date is Oct.30. Currently, at least 27 wildfires are burning in California. Nearly 1,700 firefighters are battling the blazes, the department said.