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US economy adds 4.8 million jobs in June as coronavirus surges

The US economy added a record 4.8 million jobs last month as the nation continued an economic rebound that’s now threatened by a surge in coronavirus infections, new data show.

Thursday’s closely watched June jobs report showed a better-than-expected recovery in the labor market as states forged ahead with reopening plans that are now being partly rolled back amid record numbers of COVID-19 cases.

The unemployment rate dropped to 11.1 percent in June from 13.3 percent in May as lockdowns aimed at controlling the virus continued to ease, the Bureau of Labor Statistics figures show. That marked a continued improvement from April’s peak of 14.7 percent

But the data reflect a snapshot of the economy in mid-June, before the virus’s resurgence forced states such as California, Texas and Florida to shutter bars and restaurant dining rooms for a second time. The economy’s path forward will rely on whether the new wave of infections gets under control, according to experts.

“The strength of the recovery will depend on the vigor of job growth in the coming months, which in turn relies on progress on the public health front,” Yelena Shulyatyeva, senior US economist at Bloomberg Economics, said in a commentary. “The longer it takes for the unemployed to get back to work, the slower the economic rebound to the pre-crisis trend will be.”

Also complicating the recovery is the end of two key programs that have shored up the economy during the pandemic. The application deadline for the Paycheck Protection Program providing forgivable loans to small business passed this week, though it may be extended to August. And the $600 weekly boost to unemployment benefits is due to run out at the end of July.

A separate report released Thursday showed some 1.4 million applications for unemployment benefits last week. The weekly figure from the US Department of Labor has consistently declined since late March but has remained above 1 million for 15 straight weeks — a level that was unthinkable before the pandemic.

“These claims tell us that sizable segments of the economy are still retrenching with workers losing jobs as bankruptcies accelerate and businesses either remain closed or re-close in states suffering rising infection and hospitalization rates,” said Seth Harris, a visiting professor the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs who served as deputy labor secretary in the Obama administration.

With Post wires

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World News

YouTube TV adds ViacomCBS, raises price to $64.99 per month

Coronavirus lockdowns set off the golden age of streaming: Investor

Jeff Sica of Circle Squared Alternative Investments argues the old model of going to movie studios and theaters has been broken.

YouTube TV is now one of the priciest live TV steaming services with a monthly asking price of $64.99.

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YOUTUBE PURSUES TV ADVERTISERS WITH NEW PROGRAM

The company announced its $15 price hike in a blog post on Tuesday. The reason for the increase is because of its expanding channel package. In May, YouTube TV shared that its parent company, Google, inked a deal with ViacomCBS to bring more channels onto the streaming service’s platform, including BET, CMT, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Network, TV Land and VH1 – all of which debuted June 30.

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WHY YOUTUBE DIDN'T REMOVE TRUMP'S GEORGE FLOYD VIDEO

"We're excited to launch ViacomCBS' portfolio on YouTube TV this summer," Lori Conkling, YouTube TV’s global head of partnerships, has said. "Our expanded partnership delivers on our promise to offer a premium portfolio of content to our YouTube TV subscribers, as well as across the YouTube platforms."

Prior to the announcement, YouTube TV had cost cord-cutters $49.99. And before that, the service had cost $35 when it first launched in 2017. Similar to the ViacomCBS deal, these price jumps resulted from YouTube TV adding popular channels like PBS and the Discovery Network’s HGTV and Food Network.

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Meanwhile, Hulu + Live TV and Fubo TV start at $54.99 per month and AT&T Now Plus start at $55 per month and AT&T Now Max starts at $80 per month with HBO Max. Sling TV, on the other hand, offers two packages – Sling Blue and Sling Orange – for $30 each or $45 for both packages combined.

Despite its competitor’s offerings, YouTube TV now offers more than 85 channels and even added new features to its app, including segment jumping, extra DVR controls in addition to unlimited DVR space, a dark mode menu option, a “Mark as Watched” selection for organizing shows and a refreshed live guide.

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YouTube also offers 17 original series that can only be watched on its streaming service.

The price change will be reflected in YouTube TV subscriber bills after July 30.

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World News

Instagram adds TikTok-style feature 'Reels' – but only SOME people can see it

INSTAGRAM'S TikTok competing feature "Reels" is expanding to new countries.

This follows its launch in Brazil last year and will see Reels available in France and Germany.

Reels is an Instagram feature that lets users record short 15-second videos set to audio.

They can then be shared on the platform with the idea that they may go viral.

This is similar to TikTok as it gives users easy ways to make creative videos.

The plan is for Reels to be shared on Instagram Stories as well as more permanently on feeds.

Facebook, which owns Instagram, has previously tried to jump on the TikTok trend with a video app called Lasso.

However, this doesn't appear to have been very popular.

Adding a feature like Reels to Instagram is a good way to attract the over one billion people who already use the app for photo posting.

Instagram hasn't said when it plans to globally release the Reels feature.

We also don't know when it may be coming to the UK or the US.

This isn't the first time that Instagram has appeared to copy a feature from a different app.

Snapchat fans accused the photo sharing app of taking the Stories concept from Snap.

TIKTOK: A BRIEF GUIDE TO THE WORLD'S MOST DOWNLOADED APP

TikTok lets users create and share short videos with music and camera effects.

It is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, founded by the entrepreneur Zhang Yiming.

The $75 billion conglomerate acquired the Musical.ly app in 2017 and merged it with TikTok, bringing millions of new users.

It is the world’s most downloaded iPhone app – with nearly 800 million downloads across the globe, according to data from mobile research firm Sensor Tower.

Facebook has taken notice of TikTok's rising popularity, and launched a competitor app called Lasso in November last year.

In other news, Fortnite is hosting a major Party Royale event tonight.

A man is suing Twitch for ‘showing so many scantily-clad female gamers he injured his penis’.

And, Instagram has come under fire after researchers found the app pushes semi-naked photos to the top of news feeds.

How often do you use Instagram? Let us know in the comments…

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