U.S. job openings surge to record 9.3 million in April

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

The number of job openings soared 12% from the 8.3 million counted in March.

But employers hired just 6.1 million, up 1% from March, according to a Labor Department report Tuesday, suggesting that positions are opening faster than companies can fill them.

"More than a year after horrific job losses and wage cuts, job seekers have a strong hand in the labor market again. Demand for workers is surging as the broader economy starts to emerge from the pandemic," said Nick Bunker, director of the Hiring Lab.

World Bank sees 5.6% global growth in 2021, best since 1973

WASHINGTON | The World Bank is upgrading the outlook for global growth this year, predicting that COVID-19 vaccinations and massive government stimulus in rich countries will power the fastest worldwide expansion in nearly five decades.

In its latest Global Economic Prospects report, out Tuesday, the 189-country anti-poverty agency forecasts that the world economy will grow 5.6% this year, up from the 4.1% it forecast in January. The global economy last year shrank 3.5% as the coronavirus pandemic disrupted trade and forced businesses to close and people to stay home. 

The projected expansion would make 2021 the fastest year of growth since 1973's 6.6%.

Lobster lovers feeling the pinch as summer nears

PORTLAND, Maine | Summer weather has arrived, and New England tourists are hungry for a lobster roll or a whole cooked lobster — but they're going to have to pay up.

Lobster is more expensive than usual this season due to a limited supply, high demand and the reopening of the economy as the nation moves past the coronavirus pandemic. Consumers are headed back to seafood restaurants and markets for the first time in months, and the lobsters there to greet them are at a premium.

Some Maine stores charged $17 or $18 per pound for live lobster in May, and that was about twice the price a year ago. Prices are lingering in the $13 or $14 range this month. Lobster is usually expensive in late spring, but this season has seen prices that are higher than typical.

The wholesale price for live, 1.25-pound lobsters in the New England market was $9.01 per pound on May 1, business publisher Urner Barry reported. That was about $2.70 per pound more than the previous May 1, and the highest price for that date in at least five years, the company reported.

U.S. trade deficit dips to $68.9 billion with exports up

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

In April, exports of U.S. goods and services rose 1.1% to $205 billion while imports declined 1.4% to $273.9 billion. Part of the boost in exports came from a $1.4 billion increase in sales of civilian aircraft, a positive sign that a rebound in air travel from depressed pandemic levels is prompting stronger sales of jetliners.

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