Business briefing

The daily business briefing: March 25, 2022

New jobless claims fall to lowest level since 1969, Uber agrees to list NYC taxicabs on its app, and more

1

Initial jobless claims drop to lowest level in more than 50 years

Initial jobless claims fell to 187,000 last week, the lowest level since Sept. 6, 1969, the Labor Department reported Thursday. The latest figure, for the week ending March 19, marked a drop of 28,000 from the previous week's level, which was revised up to 215,000 from the initial 214,000. The less volatile four-week average was 211,750, down 11,500 from the previous week's revised average, the Labor Department said. Continuing claims, which run a week behind the headline number, meanwhile, dropped below 1.4 million, reaching their lowest level since January 1970. "U.S. businesses are not laying off workers because they know the enormous challenges they're facing in filling open positions," said Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody's Analytics.

2

Uber agrees to list all NYC taxis on ride-hailing app

Uber has reached a deal to list all New York City taxis on its ride-hailing app, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. The agreement could help Uber address a driver shortage and curb fare increases while giving more customers to traditional cab drivers hit hard by competition from ride-sharing apps and the coronavirus pandemic. Uber has tried partnering with taxi drivers in some markets overseas, but the alliance in New York City, one of Uber's most lucrative markets, is its first citywide tie-up in the United States. "It's bigger and bolder than anything we've done," said Uber global mobility chief Andrew Macdonald. Uber plans to launch the service later in the spring. Uber shares jumped 5 percent on Thursday.

3

Biden says U.S. will help Europe replace Russian liquefied natural gas

President Biden has reached a deal for the United States to help the European Union get more liquefied natural gas to help the trading bloc replace Russian fuel imports, Bloomberg reported Friday, citing a senior E.U. official. Biden met with E.U. leaders at a summit to strengthen unity in punishing Russia for invading Ukraine. Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced early Friday the formation of a task force to help reduce Europe's and Ukraine's dependence on Russia for energy. The E.U. got 14 billion to 18 billion cubic meters of liquefied natural gas from Russia last year. The U.S. pledged to work with international partners to increase its LNG exports to the bloc, from the U.S. and elsewhere, by at least 15 billion cubic meters.

4

E.U. agrees to new regulations curbing tech giants' power

The European Union on Thursday agreed to sweeping new antitrust regulations to curb the power of giant tech companies. The law, called the Digital Markets Act, calls for so-called gatekeepers to stop using their interwoven services to make it harder for users to switch to smaller rivals. The rules could force massive tech companies, including Meta, Apple, Amazon, and Google, to change the ways they operate. Google, for example, would have to stop collecting data from different services to help it target users with ads without their consent. Apple might have to make room for competitors for its App Store on iPhones. The law is scheduled to take effect later this year.

5

Stock futures little changed after Thursday's gains

U.S. stock futures were little changed early Friday following Thursday's strong gains. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq were up by about 0.1 percent at 6:30 a.m. ET, after falling slightly earlier. The Dow rose 1 percent and the S&P 500 gained 1.4 percent on Thursday. The tech-heavy Nasdaq jumped 1.9 percent. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq are on track for their second straight winning week, up 1.3 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively, with one trading session left in the week. The Dow has fallen 0.1 percent this week. The S&P 500 is now up more than 8 percent from the low it hit earlier this month as Russia's invasion of Ukraine stoked economic uncertainty and drove up fuel prices.

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