Afternoon Coffee: New unemployment claims rise the most in two months; Walmart interested in TikTok for ‘social commerce’; Pandemic adds to child labor

Robert Kneschke/ Adobe Stock

The U.S. Labor Department reported on Thursday that the number of Americans seeking new unemployment benefits rose last week to 898,000, the most in two months, according to the Associated Press.

The number is historically high — evidence that layoffs remain a hindrance to the economic recovery from the COVID-19 recession. The report also shows that there has been a slowdown in hiring, the article said. The economy is roughly 10.7 million jobs short of recovering the 22 million jobs lost when the pandemic hit in early spring.

“Further recovery looks to have stalled out,” AnnElizabeth Konkel, an economist at Indeed, told the Associated Press. “Holiday hiring is sluggish, and many businesses need to make significant changes to ride out the colder months.”

Walmart’s reason for buying into TikTok lies in ‘social commerce’

As Walmart waits on the federal government to approve its deal with Oracle to own a partial stake in TikTok, the company revealed its motive for purchasing the social media app lies in “social commerce,” according to CNBC.

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said the retailer sees social media as a huge business opportunity to reach customers. Essentially, when one watches a TikTok video, they’d be able to find and buy merchandise they see in the video. With one click, users would be able to purchase the item, the article said. This kind of e-commerce has been used in other countries.

“If you click on that garment that you want to buy and it takes two weeks to get there, that’s not a very good experience,” McMillon said. “So how could we help with a supply chain, a back-end that makes the whole experience terrific, not just the moment that you buy the item.”

Coronavirus crisis drives up child labor, AP reports

With the coronavirus pandemic canceling school and jeopardizing jobs across the globe, children in developing countries are being put to work, jeopardizing two decades of gains to reduce child labor, the Associated Press said in a special report.

The AP summed up the fallout, warning of long-term effects.

"Experts say the longer their education is put on hold, the less likely children will return to school," the report said. "The ramifications, especially for those already lagging, can be lifelong — narrowed job opportunities, lower potential earnings and greater likelihood of poverty and early pregnancy."

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