Business week: a paid family leave plan
Hello and happy May. Does anyone else fancy a vacation, or just a chance to go… somewhere else? Good news: If you’re vaccinated, you could escape to Europe (and help revive its struggling tourism industry) as early as this summer. Here’s what you need to know for the coming week in business and tech news. – Charlotte cowles
What’s up? (April 25-May 1)
Plan n ° 3
In his first address to Congress, President Biden detailed his Plan of American families, the third huge spending proposal he presented in his 100 days in office. (The first was the $ 1.9 trillion stimulus package, entered into force in March, and the second was the American employment plan, which focuses on infrastructure and has yet to pass Congress.) The latest proposal includes funding for universal preschool, federally paid family leave, an expanded permanent child tax credit, subsidized child care for low and middle income families and free community college, among other initiatives. To pay it off, Mr. Biden wants to raise taxes on the rich. But most Republicans are opposed to the tax increases and say the plan costs too much.
No more signs of life in the economy. The country’s gross domestic product in the first quarter was up 6.4 percent, at an annualized rate, according to the Commerce Department. It’s almost back to its pre-pandemic peak. Consumer spending is also on the rise, and some analysts estimate it could rise by more than 9% this year – a record – as health and working conditions continue to improve and travel and restaurants are resuming.
Big Tech is getting bigger
The pandemic was ideal for tech giants. Amazon’s latest quarterly report showed these successful sales – up 44% from the previous year – that it beat even the most optimistic forecasts. Meanwhile, Apple profits increased 54%, mainly thanks to the surge in iPhone sales. And Facebook almost doubled its turnover during the same period, while Twitter jumped 28 percent. (The two companies have banned former President Donald J. Trump and some extremist figures from posting on their platforms since January, but that clearly hasn’t hurt their results.)
And after? (May 2-8)
A is for antitrust
The fight between Apple and Epic Games, which makes the popular video game Fortnite, heads to federal court in California this week. The dispute started last year when Epic started selling Fortnite directly to its customers, violating its contract with Apple, which collects a 30% commission on App Store sales. Apple retaliated by kicking Fortnight out of its store, and Epic retaliated with a lawsuit. The case will be closely watched by other companies and lawmakers who have raised concerns about the App Store’s anti-competitive practices. These include European regulators, who friday accused apple violate antitrust laws by imposing unfair rules and fees on competing music streaming services.
Checking prices in the grain aisle
For the sake of your fellow human beings, don’t stock up on toilet paper. But keep in mind that he’s about to become more expensive. Companies like Procter & Gamble, General Mills and Kimberly-Clark are all raising prices for basic necessities like tampons, toilet paper, diapers and cereals this year to offset rising production and shipping costs. . These costs increased during the pandemic, especially when supply chains were pinched, but companies were reluctant to pass them on to struggling consumers. Now that the economy is starting to stabilize, expect some price adjustments to offset last year.
Pack your bags
The travel industry is ready to take off – if you’re vaccinated, it’s true. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention relaxed rules for cruise lines to resume operations, allowing some ships to set sail as early as mid-July if they can attest that 98 percent of the crew and 95 percent of passengers are fully vaccinated. And the European Union said that American tourists with vaccination certificates would be allowed to visit the block this summer, more than a year since it banned non-essential travel from most countries.
The Food and Drug Administration announced a long-awaited ban on the sale of menthol cigarettes as well as all flavored cigars. (However, possession will remain legal.) Amazon will increase the salary between 50 cents and $ 3 an hour for half a million of its workers. And the Federal Reserve left interest rates close to zero, minimizing a rise in inflation and promising to continue to support the economic recovery.