The Journal Gazette
 
 
Wednesday, June 09, 2021 1:00 am

Briefs

US sees trade deficit drop in April

News services

WASHINGTON – The U.S. trade deficit narrowed in April to $68.9 billion as an improving global economy boosted sales of exports.

The April deficit, the gap between what America buys from abroad and what it sells to other countries, was down 8.2% from a record March deficit of $75 billion, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.

The improving economic situation overseas drove up demand for American goods, while domestic demand for imports slowed.

Through the first four months of the year, the U.S. trade deficit totals $281.7 billion, up 50.4% from the deficit during the same period in 2020, a time when the U.S. economy was essentially shut down because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Record number of job openings

U.S. employers posted a record 9.3 million job openings in April with the economy reopening at break-neck speed.

The number of job openings soared 12% from the 8.3 million in March. But employers hired just 6.1 million, up 1% from March, according to a Labor Department report Tuesday, suggesting positions are opening faster than companies can fill them.

Hotels and restaurants, reopening after being forced to close or curb hours during the novel coronavirus pandemic, reported the biggest increase in job openings.

Hilton Chicago ready to reopen

The Hilton Chicago opened as the world's largest hotel nearly a century ago. Now the sprawling South Michigan Avenue hotel is embarking on another pivotal moment in its 94-year history – reopening after going dark nearly 15 months because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The hotel in downtown Chicago will welcome back guests Thursday.

Returning employees are being retrained after so much time away, and staffers are cleaning and readying the massive hotel across from Grant Park for guests. Glitches remain, including the Christmas music playing in the lobby on a recent warm June day.

Within a week of the Hilton Chicago's reopening, the five largest hotels downtown by number of rooms will be back in business. Three of them closed in March 2020, and two others have remained open in a limited capacity.


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