WASHINGTON (AP) — Defying anxiety about a possible recession and raging inflation, America’s employers added a surprising 528,000 jobs last month, restoring all the jobs lost in the coronavirus recession as the country’s hiring boom continued. Unemployment fell to 3.5%, lowest since the pandemic struck in early 2020. July’s job creation was up from 398,000 in June. The American job market has repeatedly defied skeptics this year. Economists had expected only 250,000 new jobs this month.
EXPLAINER: How do we know when a recession has begun?
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy has contracted for two straight quarters, intensifying fears that it is on the cusp of a recession, if not already in one, barely two years after the pandemic downturn officially ended. Six months of contraction is a longstanding, informal definition of a recession. Yet nothing is simple in the post-pandemic economy, which has confounded policymakers and experts alike since the growth screeched to a halt in March 2020, when COVID-19 struck and 20 million Americans suddenly lost their jobs. While most economists — and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell — say the economy isn’t in a recession yet, many increasingly expect a downturn to start later this year or next.
US stocks falling after red-hot jobs report; Warner -15%
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are opening lower on Wall Street Friday following much stronger than expected hiring data from the Labor Department. The S&P 500 is off 0.8% at the opening bell and the Nasdaq is down by more than a percent. The Dow Jones industrials are also falling. Labor Department figures show U.S. employers added 528,000 jobs last month, restoring all the jobs lost in the coronavirus recession, while unemployment fell to the lowest since the pandemic erupted in early 2020. The hiring boom suggests the Fed may continue aggressively fighting inflation. Warner Bros. Discovery shares are having their third worst day ever after reporting weak second quarter earnings.
3 more ships with grain depart Ukraine ports under UN deal
ISTANBUL (AP) — Three more ships carrying thousands of tons of corn have left Ukrainian ports. The movement Friday is the latest sign that a negotiated deal to export grain trapped since Russia invaded Ukraine nearly six months ago is slowly moving forward. But major hurdles lie ahead to get food to the countries that need it most. While the shipments have raised hopes of easing a global food crisis, experts say much of the grain that Ukraine is trying to export is used for animal feed, not for people to eat. And the cargoes are not expected to have a significant impact on the global price of corn, wheat and soybeans for several reasons.
Democrats say they’ve reached agreement on economic package
WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Democrats say they have reached an accord on changes to their marquee economic legislation, clearing the major hurdle to pushing one of President Joe Biden’s leading election-year priorities through the chamber in coming days. Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, a centrist who was seen as the pivotal vote, says she is ready to “move forward” on the bill. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York says lawmakers have achieved a compromise that will receive the support of all Democrats in the chamber. His party needs unanimity and Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote to move the measure through the Senate over certain solid opposition from Republicans.
Amazon to buy vacuum maker iRobot for roughly $1.7B
NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon on Friday announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire the vacuum cleaner maker iRobot for approximately $1.7 billion. The company sells its robots worldwide and is most famous for the circular-shaped Roomba vacuum. Amazon says it will acquire iRobot for $61 per share in an all-cash transaction that will include iRobot’s net debt. The deal is subject to approval by shareholders and regulators. Upon completion, iRobot’s CEO, Colin Angle, will remain in his position.
Tougher IRS enforcement central to Dem economic package
WASHINGTON (AP) — One of Washington’s favorite punching bags, the Internal Revenue Service, may finally get the resources it’s been asking Congress for if Democrats get their economic package focused on energy and health care over the finish line. The deal worked out by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin looks to spend an extra $79.6 billion on the beleaguered agency over the next 10 years. Democrats are framing the IRS investment as necessary to ensure that corporations and wealthier Americans pay what they owe in taxes, but Republicans are warning the investment will lead to increased scrutiny of small business owners and others.
Biden, Republicans spar over impact of Dems’ economic plan
WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats call it the “Inflation Reduction Act.” Republicans say it’s a “tax and spending spree.” And everyone has a study they say proves one or the other. Recent bipartisan action in Congress on matters ranging from producing computer chips to expanding NATO isn’t extending to the latest economic package from Democrats. For President Joe Biden, the $739 billion plan can help lower inflation, cut the budget deficit, address climate change and lower medical bills. That’s a message he’s trying to sell amid intense Republican criticism. GOP lawmakers counter that the 15% minimum corporate tax included in the proposal would hit U.S. factories and middle-class workers. They say energy costs will increase, while innovations in health care would decline.
Applications for US jobless claims up again last week
WASHINGTON (AP) — More Americans applied for jobless benefits last week as the number of unemployed continues to rise modestly, though the labor market remains one of the strongest parts of the U.S. economy. Applications for jobless aid for the week ending July 30 rose by 6,000 to 260,000 from the previous week’s 254,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. First-time applications generally reflect layoffs. The four-week average for claims, which evens out the weekly ups and downs, also rose from the previous week, to 254,750. The Labor Department’s jobs report for July, due out Friday, is expected to show that employers added 250,000 jobs last month.
Long-term mortgage rates under 5% for 1st time in 4 months
WASHINGTON (AP) — The average long-term U.S. mortgage rate fell below 5% for the first time in four months this week, just after the Federal Reserve jacked up its main borrowing rate in an aggressive effort to get inflation under control. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the 30-year rate tumbled to 4.99% from 5.3% last week. A year ago, the rate was 2.77%. Last week, the Fed ratcheted up its main borrowing rate by three-quarters of a point, the second such increase in less than two months. Higher borrowing costs have cooled the housing market, which has been hot for years.