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The unemployment rate is above 20% for the lowest-paid workers, Fed’s Brainard says

Federal Reserve Board Governor Lael Brainard speaks at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S., March 1, 2017. Unemployment for the lowest-paid workers in the U.S. is above 20%, a figure that Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard said underscores the importance of policy help for the economy. The figure indicates how uneven the recovery has seen since efforts to control the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in the biggest quarterly GDP drop since the Great Depression. “The damage from COVID-19 is concentrated among already challenged groups,” Brainard said in a speech Wednesday. “The K-shaped recovery remains highly uneven,...

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Lack of Tiny Parts Disrupts Auto Factories Worldwide

The semiconductor shortage came out of left field, hitting the industry at a perilous moment. Sales have plunged worldwide. In Europe, for example, they were down 25 percent in 2020. This is all happening while automakers are trying to navigate a shift in basic technology from internal combustion engines to batteries, which has subjected them to new competition from Tesla, the California company that has become the most valuable automaker in the world by far, and emerging Chinese manufacturers like Nio. Exactly how long the shortage will last is unclear. It can take 20 to 25 weeks from the time new orders...

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Jobless, Selling Nudes Online and Still Struggling

Savannah Benavidez stopped working at her job as a medical biller in June to take care of her 2-year-old son after his day care shut down. Needing a way to pay her bills, she created an account on OnlyFans — a social media platform where users sell original content to monthly subscribers — and started posting photos of herself nude or in lingerie. Ms. Benavidez, 23, has made $64,000 since July, enough not just to take care of her own bills, but to help family and friends with rent and car payments. “It’s more money than I have ever made in any...

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It Could Be a Great Year, if Your Business Survives Winter

For Ashlie Ordonez, owner of the Bare Bar Studio, a spa in Denver, vaccinations for the coronavirus can’t come soon enough. While she anticipates better days later this year, surviving until then will be a struggle, and she knows the next few months will be lean ones. “I sold my wedding ring so we could pay the bills and keep the doors open,” she said. “I’m sacrificing everything to make it through this pandemic.” Vinay Patel, who manages a chain of nine hotels in Maryland and Virginia, is looking even further out for a recovery: “2022 is when we’ll see the real...

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How Parler, a Chosen App of Trump Fans, Became a Test of Free Speech

From the start, John Matze had positioned Parler as a “free speech” social network where people could mostly say whatever they wanted. It was a bet that had recently paid off big as millions of President Trump’s supporters, fed up with what they deemed censorship on Facebook and Twitter, flocked to Parler instead. On the app, which had become a top download on Apple’s App Store, discussions over politics had ramped up. But so had conspiracy theories that falsely said the election had been stolen from Mr. Trump, with users urging aggressive demonstrations last week when Congress met to certify the...

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Trump not expected to be criminally charged — at least for now — with inciting Capitol riot, DOJ says

U.S. President Donald Trump gestures during a rally to contest the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by the U.S. Congress, in Washington, U.S, January 6, 2021. President Donald Trump is not expected to be criminally charged — at least for now — with inciting the riot at the U.S. Capitol, a Department of Justice official said Friday. The official’s comments came just a day after the top federal prosecutor in the District of Columbia did not rule out charging Trump. “We don’t expect any charges of that nature,” the official said Friday during a conference call with reporters when asked...

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When Can I Apply for a P.P.P. Loan?

She did not directly mention the Paycheck Protection Program — the largest lending program by far in the agency’s nearly 70-year history — but she acknowledged the turmoil many companies are experiencing. “So many small businesses across the country have been devastated by the pandemic and economic crisis,” Ms. Guzman said. “A disproportionate impact has fallen, as it often does, on our businesses owned by people of color.” Most of the program’s financiers, including some of the country’s largest banks, said they plan to resume lending. Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Cross River Bank and Wells Fargo, which collectively made more than...

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Biden invites Pence to inauguration, calls Trump ‘incompetent’ and says it’s good he won’t attend

President-elect Joe Biden said Friday that it’s good President Donald Trump will skip the inauguration ceremony later this month after one of the most chaotic weeks in modern American politics. Trump, who helped stoke Wednesday’s violent riot on Capitol Hill, said on Twitter earlier Friday that he would not attend the event on Jan. 20. “I was told on the way over here that he indicated he wasn’t going to show up at the inauguration: One of the few things he and I have ever agreed on,” Biden said of Trump. “It’s a good thing, him not showing up.” “He’s exceeded even my...

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The Markets’ Strange Disregard for the Chaos in Washington

UBS continued, “The tax hike is also likely to be smaller than the potential overall spending.” On balance, the report said, “With vaccination programs underway, we retain a positive longer-term outlook for equities.” Such analyses help to justify the upward trend of the stock market but don’t explain why the rally withstood the assault on the Capitol. Much as I hate to say so, I’m not yet confident that the country is on a clear path to safety and stability. Given the grave damage already inflicted on the United States, the risk of greater destruction can’t be dismissed. But it doesn’t appear...

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Stocks close at record highs, post weekly gain to start 2021

Stocks closed at record highs on Friday to end the first trading week of the year as traders weighed the prospects of new fiscal aid as well as disappointing U.S. jobs data. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day up 56.84 points, or 0.2%, at 31,097.97. The S&P 500 rose 0.6% to 3,824.68, and the Nasdaq Composite popped 1% to 13,201.98. Both the Dow and S&P 500 posted four-day winning streaks. Coca-Cola rose 2.2% to lead the Dow higher. The consumer discretionary and real estate sectors each rose more than 1%, lifting the S&P 500. The Nasdaq got a boost from...

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