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Business Highlights: Job Growth Slows, Stocks Post Records

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·5-min read
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US job growth slows sharply in sign of hiring struggles

WASHINGTON: The recovery of Americas job market hit a pause last month as many businesses from restaurants and hotels to factories and construction companies struggled to find enough workers to catch up with a rapidly strengthening economic rebound. Employers added just 266,000 jobs in April, sharply lower than in March and far fewer than economists had expected. With viral cases declining and states and localities easing restrictions, the recovery from the pandemic recession has been so fast that many businesses have been caught flat-footed in the face of surging consumer demand.

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Stocks rally to records after grim jobs data undercuts rates

NEW YORK: Stocks closed at record highs on Wall Street Friday as a stunningly disappointing report on the nations job market signaled to investors that interest rates will stay low. The S&P 500 rose 0.7%, above its record closing level set at the end of last month. Voices up and down Wall Street acknowledged that Friday mornings jobs report was a massive shock, and it jolted the bond market. But many still expect the economy to keep strengthening. Stocks that have benefited most from low rates, including high-growth tech companies, helped drive the gains.

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Chamber of Commerce seeks end to enhanced US jobless aid

WASHINGTON: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is calling for Washington to immediately stop paying out-of-work Americans an extra $300 a week in unemployment benefits, saying the boost in government aid is giving some recipients less incentive to look for work. The business group said Friday that the supplemental unemployment benefit, part of the Biden administrations efforts to support the pandemic-ravaged economy, results in about one in four recipients taking home more in unemployment pay than they earned when they were employed. The statement follows the release of a report showing the U.S. economy added far fewer jobs than expected in April.

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China trade surges as global demand recovers from pandemic

BEIJING: Chinas trade with the United States and the rest of the world surged by double digits in April as consumer demand recovered, but growth appeared to be slowing. Trade data show global exports rose 32.3% over a year ago to $263.9 billion, in line with March but down from the explosive 60.6% rise in the first two months of 2021. Imports increased 43% to $221.1 billion, accelerating from Marchs 38% expansion. Chinas trade gains look especially dramatic due to comparison with a year ago, when global economies shut down to fight the coronavirus. Forecasters say growth is cooling once that distortion and seasonal fluctuations are taken into account.

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Cruise giant Norwegian threatens to skip Floridas ports

MIAMI: Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings is threatening to skip Florida ports because of the governors order banning businesses from requiring that customers be vaccinated against COVID-19. The company says Gov. Ron DeSantis order conflicts with guidelines from federal health authorities that would let cruise ships sail in U.S. waters if passengers and crew members are vaccinated. Norwegians CEO, Frank Del Rio, says lawyers think federal law tops state law. The CEO says if Norwegian cant operate in Florida, it can go to other states or the Caribbean. The company owns Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

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US consumer borrowing posts another strong showing in March

WASHINGTON: U.S. consumer borrowing rose by a strong $25.8 billion in March, the second-straight sizable monthly gain. The number released Friday by the Federal Reserve represents another indication that the U.S. economic recovery is gaining steam. The March increase followed an even larger $26.1 billion rise in February. The two increases were the biggest monthly gains since a $26.8 billion increase in December 2019 before the pandemic hit. The March borrowing advance reflected a $6.4 billion increase in the category that includes credit cards and a $19.4 billion rise in the category that covers auto loans and student loans.

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China propels BMW to strong profits, Germany lags

FRANKFURT, Germany: Auto sales are booming in China and Germanys BMW is benefiting. The luxury carmarker doubled its sales there in the first quarter. That helped Munich-based BMW make net profit of 2.8 billion euros in the first three months of the year. Auto markets are rebounding from the worst of the pandemic recession. One exception was BMWs home market in Germany, where sales were down. The company says it is using all that cash to push ahead with more electric and digitally connected cars.

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German factory production, exports up in March in good sign

BERLIN: Factory production and exports increased strongly in Germany in March. That bodes well for the second quarter in Europes largest economy as it struggles to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic. The Economy Ministry said Friday that industrial production rose 2.5% in March over February when adjusted for seasonal and calendar factors. In a separate encouraging report, German exports were up 1.2% in March over February, and up 16.1% over March of last year, according to seasonally and calendar adjusted figures from the Federal Statistical Office. Germanys economy did better last year than several others in Europe as it was supported by manufacturing.

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The S&P 500 rose 30.98 points, or 0.7%, to 4,232.60. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 229.23, or 0.7%, to 34,777.76. The Nasdaq rose 119.39 points, or 0.9%, to 13,752.24. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies rose 30.21 points, or less than 1.3%, to 2,271.63.

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