Business Briefs – May 1, 2019

May Day 2019: Workers Demand Higher Wages, Rights, Respect

BERLIN (AP) – Higher salaries, better working conditions, maternity leave, minimum wage and an end to discrimination against temporary or foreign workers: These were among the concerns as hundreds of thousands of union members and labor activists rallied around the world to mark May Day.

The tradition of May Day marches for workers’ rights began in the United States in the 1880s. It quickly spread to other countries at a time when industrialization pitted poorly paid employees who had few protections and little power against increasingly dominant factory employers and landowners.

Over the decades, the May Day protests have also become an opportunity to air general economic grievances or political demands.

Trump’s GOP Allies Press for Action on Disasterv

WASHINGTON (AP) – The White House is displaying new flexibility on giving disaster aid to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico as President Donald Trump’s GOP allies increasingly are losing patience with a weekslong standoff over a widely backed bill. A new Senate GOP offer is aimed at breaking the logjam and offers greater flexibility in delivering disaster funding to Puerto Rico. The bill involving Puerto Rico includes aid to the mainland U.S. as well, so Republicans from affected states are getting anxious.

Budget Office Finds Caveats to Government-Run Health System

WASHINGTON (AP) – Congressional budget experts say moving to a government-run health care system like “Medicare for All” would be complicated and potentially disruptive for Americans. Wednesday’s report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says among the risks are increased wait times and reduced access to care if there aren’t enough medical providers to meet increased demand for services. The CBO did not produce a cost estimate of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ plan, but instead listed pros and cons.

No. 2 GOP Senator: Fed Pick Moore’s Fate May Be Known Soon

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Senate’s No. 2 Republican leader says President Donald Trump’s uphill effort to appoint conservative commentator Stephen Moore to the Federal Reserve board may be coming to a head soon. Sen. John Thune of South Dakota tells reporters there are “discussions and conversations” with the White House about Moore. But Moore says everything is fine and that he hasn’t “heard anything” from the White House about potential problems with his expected nomination.

State of Small Business More Mixed Than Administration Says

NEW YORK (AP) – While Trump administration officials say the president’s policies are helping the economy and in turn small businesses, reports by economists and surveys of owners show the state of small business is more mixed. The new tax law isn’t living up to many owners’ expectations, according to a Bank of America survey. The Federal Reserve has found the Trump trade policy, including tariffs on imports that have led to retaliation from other nations, is hurting or causing concern at companies.

U.S., China Hold New Round Of Tariff War Negotiations

BEIJING (AP) – American and Chinese trade negotiators have held more talks aimed at ending a tariff war after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said U.S. officials might be moving toward a decision on whether to make a deal. No details were announced after the one-day meeting at a Chinese government guesthouse. Both sides say they are making progress. Washington wants Beijing to roll back industry development plans it says are based in part on stolen technology and that violate its market-opening commitments.

Survey: U.S. Businesses Are Hiring; 275K Jobs in April

WASHINGTON& (AP) – U.S. companies in April added the most jobs in 9 months, a sign that hiring remains strong amid solid economic growth.

Payroll processor ADP said Wednesday that businesses hired 275,000 people last month, up from just 151,000 in March. That’s a much higher number than economists forecast for Friday’s government jobs report. Current projections call for the Labor Department to report 181,000 new jobs, according to data provider FactSet.

The economy expanding at a solid pace this year, despite fears last winter that the U.S.-China trade war, slower global growth and higher interest rates would tip the economy into recession.