Business & Education

Business & education news

Updated at 8:47 a.m. ET

The coronavirus pandemic has pushed unemployment to its highest level since the Great Depression, but the pace of layoffs has been easing. And there are now some signs that the job market could slowly start to recover.

The Labor Department says another 1.87 million people filed claims for unemployment insurance last week. That's down 249,000 from the previous week. While still very high by historical standards, the number has been declining steadily from a peak of 6.8 million the week ending March 28.

Trevon Ellis spent years building up his north Minneapolis barbershop, the Fade Factory, luring customers with smart haircuts, snacks and friendly conversation.

It took just one terrible night to destroy it all.

"Inside is totally burned down," Ellis says. "Everything was burned to a crisp."

The recent wave of protests against police brutality has left a trail of chaos and destruction in many city neighborhoods, with countless businesses looted and damaged.

There are indications layoffs from the coronavirus pandemic may be easing. Initial claims for unemployment have been slowing, and as businesses start to reopen, some people are going back to work.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Some of Facebook's earliest employees are condemning CEO Mark Zuckerberg's hands-off approach to President Trump's inflammatory rhetoric about protests over police brutality.

Gary Jones, the former president of the United Auto Workers, has pleaded guilty to embezzlement, racketeering and tax evasion as part of a larger scandal over union corruption that has shaken trust in the union and exposed it to a possible federal takeover.

Jones admits he conspired to embezzle more than $1 million out of dues paid by union members, the Department of Justice said Wednesday.

When the Internet Archive announced that it was creating a "National Emergency Library," temporarily suspending wait lists to borrow e-books amid the pandemic, a crowd of writers and publishers made their outrage clear. Now, their complaint has made it to court.

A day after the music industry blacked itself out en masse, Warner Music Group, one of the world's three major record labels, announced today that it is back to business in a big way. But not as usual. As of today, the conglomerate will be a publicly traded company.

Giving someone a facial is one of the more intimate jobs out there: leaning over someone else's face, treating it, massaging it.

"To be totally honest, a lot's going to have to happen for me to feel comfortable giving facials in person," says Hawaii-based facialist Nicole Burke Stephenson. "I'm questioning whether or not I'll ever use a steamer again because it blows people's breath into my face."

For the last two and half months, Gladis Blanco has been out of a job.

Blanco has worked in housekeeping at the Bellagio Resort and Casino in Las Vegas for the last eight years. She has mixed feelings about going back to work.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Americans are skipping payments on mortgages, auto loans and other bills. Normally, that could mean massive foreclosures, evictions, cars repossessions and people's credit getting destroyed.

But much of that has been put on pause. Help from Congress and leniency from lenders have kept impending financial disaster at bay for millions of people. But that may not last for long.

A technology policy nonprofit organization on Tuesday sued President Trump over his executive order attempting to strip away a legal protection long enjoyed by social media platforms.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

When Luc Jasmin III took over Parkview Early Learning Center six years ago, he wanted to create a safe space where young children could not only be cared for but also get an educational foundation to prepare them for a lifetime of learning.

During normal times, the center in Spokane, Wash., serves about 100 children who range in age from 4 weeks old to 13 years. The center didn't close down during the coronavirus pandemic, except for a couple of days to retrain staff on social distancing and cleaning guidelines.

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Updated at 10:36 a.m. ET Wednesday

The death of a black man at the hands of a white police officer has sparked days of civil unrest in the United States. Those sparks have landed in a tinderbox assembled over decades of economic inequality, now made worse by the coronavirus pandemic.

Updated at 10:52 p.m. ET

Facebook is facing an unusually public backlash from its employees over the company's handling of President Trump's inflammatory posts about protests in the police killing of George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis.

At least a dozen employees, some in senior positions, have openly condemned Facebook's lack of action on the president's posts and CEO Mark Zuckerberg's defense of that decision. Some employees staged a virtual walkout Monday.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Twice now, on March 13 and again on April 27, President Trump gathered some of the country's top corporate executives — from test producers to lab processors to major retailers — to tout his plan to make COVID-19 testing widely available. His vision: Blanket the country in drive-through testing sites.

During lockdown, Kiesha Preston has heard from many people facing physical, psychological and/or sexual abuse that the violence against them is escalating without reprieve.

On the south side of Minneapolis over the weekend, Safia Munye and her family walk up to the door of what was Mama Safia's Kitchen.

A volunteer from the neighborhood walks out onto Lake Street.

"Is this your business?" she asks.

Safia and her daughter Saida Hassan nod silently.

"I'm sorry," the woman says.

It's the first time they've seen it since fiery protests erupted among cries for racial justice and as state troopers in riot gear blocked the road to this street.

Kim Timko used to rely on Rent the Runway for dresses for weddings and parties, outfits for date nights, and professional clothes for her job as a lawyer in New York. She said the clothing-rental service is "a nice way to have expensive clothes without having to buy."

But weddings have been postponed, parties canceled, and Timko is working from home during the coronavirus pandemic. Like many others, she has put her Rent the Runway subscription on hold. She may even cancel it.

Amid continuing protests over the death of George Floyd, Target has temporarily closed or adjusted hours at more than 200 stores nationwide.

Copyright 2020 KQED. To see more, visit KQED.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Roundtable: Trump And The Media

May 30, 2020

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Hero pay. Thank You pay. Service pay. Hazard pay.

These were the many names for temporary pay bumps that some stores, warehouses and factories gave to workers who risked their health to continue to show up on the job during the pandemic.

It's hard to say that an extra $3 an hour made a dramatic difference in Sammy Сonde's budget. Maybe a few more groceries — soup is a dinner favorite — or an occasional treat of a takeout meal after a particularly tiring workday.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Georgia was one of the first states to allow businesses to reopen with necessary precautions to safeguard public health. It's been hard, if not impossible, for many businesses to get back on track.

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