- Created on 11 November 2013
Amazon is offering the beleaguered U.S. Postal Service a lifeline, The Washington Post reported.
On Monday, the online retailer announced plans to use the postal service to deliver packages to U.S. customers seven days a week.
Thanks to the new deal, Amazon customers will pay regular mailing rates for weekend deliveries, The Los Angeles Times reported. In the past, a Sunday delivery sent via Express Mail cost extra.
Amazon will launch the new Sunday service in the Los Angeles and New York metropolitan areas immediately, just in time for the holiday shopping rush. The rest of the country will follow suit in 2014.
To handle the additional mail load, the Postal Service will use its flexible scheduling of employees, USPS spokeswoman Sue Brennan said. The USPS isn't planning to hire additional workers.
The partnership is expected to help the Postal Service, which lost $16 billion in the last year. Prior to the partnership, the USPS had been asking Congress for the authority to end Saturday delivery of letters in an effort to cut costs. According to The New York Times, the move will also help the Postal Service in its competition against United Parcel Service and FedEx.
- Created on 11 November 2013
NEW YORK (CNNMoney)
It's becoming easier and easier to find gas for less than $3 a gallon.
The average price of a gallon of regular gas now stands at $3.19, according to AAA, after falling by about a penny a day for the last week. The steady decline has taken the average price below $3 already in six states -- Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, Kansas and Louisiana. Another six states are enjoying an average price within a nickel of that benchmark and could dip below three dollars soon.
But $3 gas isn't just limited to these 6 states.
Nearly 20% of gas stations nationwide are already charging less than $3 a gallon for regular gas, according to the Oil Price Information Service. And those stations are selling far more than their share of gas.
"In almost half the states, you don't need to make a great effort to find gas at $3 or less," said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for OPIS, which compiles the price data for AAA, as well as for GasBuddy.com.
"To a great extent, the averages are really misleading," said Kloza. "A large station with cheap prices might sell 750,000 gallons a month, while a small independent station with high prices might be struggling to sell 100,000 gallons.
The increased supply of low-price crude from Canada and North Dakota is a major factor sending gas prices lower, Kloza said.
"We're seeing the cheapest crude on planet here," he said.
A quiet hurricane season and the lack of other disruptions at refineries has kept gasoline inventories high.
The national average is already below 2012's low of $3.21, and has been averaging about 25 cents a gallon less than last year's prices for much of this year. Kloza estimates that gas prices will continue to fall through the end of 2013, and that more than half of states will have an average price below $3 a gallon before Christmas, which is generally when prices bottom out for the year.
While high-price states like California and New York might keep the national average just above $3, Kloza said there is about a fifty-fifty chance that the national average could drop below $3 for the first time since late 2010.
- Created on 08 November 2013
WASHINGTON (AP) — The 16-day government shutdown didn't seem to hurt the economy after all.
U.S. employers added a surprisingly strong 204,000 jobs in October, the Labor Department said Friday. And they added far more jobs in August and September than previously thought.
Activity at service companies and factories also accelerated last month in the midst of the shutdown.
All of which suggests the U.S. economy may be sturdier than many analysts had assumed.
The unemployment rate rose to 7.3 percent from 7.2 percent in September, the Labor Department said. But that was probably because furloughed federal workers were temporarily counted as unemployed.
"The economy weathered the government shutdown surprisingly well," said Ted Wieseman, an economist at Morgan Stanley. "Businesses looked through the shutdown, remained confident in the growth outlook and kept hiring."
One weak link in the economy recently has been consumers, who spent cautiously over the summer, holding back growth. But the solid job gains in recent months, combined with modest increases in hourly pay, could encourage more spending.
Other trends have raised hopes that the economy will remain healthy in coming months: Growing demand for homes should support construction. And auto sales are likely to stay strong because many Americans are buying cars after putting off big purchases since the recession struck nearly six years ago.
Job growth is a major factor for the Federal Reserve in deciding when to reduce its economic stimulus. The Fed has been buying bonds to keep long-term interest rates low and encourage borrowing and spending.
Stocks rose sharply in afternoon trading as investors assessed the stronger-than-expected job growth. But the yield on the 10-year Treasury note surged to 2.75 percent from 2.60 percent late Thursday. That showed that some investors worry that the healthier job growth might prompt the Fed to pull back on its bond-buying soon.
- Created on 08 November 2013
A New York District Judge ruled that unpaid interns are not protected from sexual harassment as promulgated by the New York Human Rights Law because they are not deemed to be “real” employees. This ruling was based upon claims of a 26-year-old Syracuse University graduate and unpaid intern, Lihuan Wang, who allegedly experienced sexual advances from her supervisor and boss in 2009.
She claims that when she was 22-years-old and working as an unpaid intern at Phoenix Satellite Television U.S., the American branch of a Hong Kong-based media company, her boss allegedly lured her into his hotel room and tried to force himself on her with kisses, groping and other unfavorable actions and statements.
In his decision, New York Judge Kevin Castel wrote, “It is uncontested that Wang received no remuneration for her services. New York City’s Human Rights Laws protection of employees does not extend to unpaid interns.” The boss was ultimately fired from Phoenix.
What Does This Mean?
As there are numerous state and federal regulated statutes protecting employees from both discrimination and harassment, only one state offers these protections to unpaid interns. At this time, the only state to offer sexual harassment protection to unpaid interns is the state of Oregon.
If you do not have status as an employee, meaning, if you are not paid for services provided to a company, the rules supported by the New York City Human Rights Laws do not apply to you and any claims of discrimination or sexual harassment will not withstand a claim in the courts.