US job losses in May could raise 3-month total to 30 million

 California authorities have charged more than 100 people with looting, assault, and other crimes committed during and around protests while police in a San Francisco Bay Area city said Wednesday that a break-in suspect died after being shot by police who mistook his hammer for a gun.
More than 3,000 people have been arrested in Los Angeles County since protests began last week, most accused of curfew violations. The county produced the lion’s share of those charged with 61. Sacramento County has filed charges against 43 people and Orange County brought felony cases against two men, accusing one of trying to steal a police car and another of assaulting an officer by throwing rocks and bottles during demonstrations.
Los Angeles District District Attorney Jackie Lacey has been criticized for reluctance to bring charges against police officers for misconduct. At some Los Angeles protests, demonstrators have chanted for her to be removed.
She said she supports peaceful protests “that already has brought needed attention to racial inequality throughout our society, including in the criminal justice system” but has a duty to “prosecute people who loot and vandalize our community.”
The charges were in crimes committed during sometimes violent protests and looting last weekend and Monday. Since then there has been much less crime and the demonstrations have taken on a more upbeat atmosphere. Local leaders and police have sometimes taken knees with demonstrators.
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NBA stars Steph Curry and Klay Thompson marched with protesters in Oakland on Wednesday while peaceful protests attracting many thousands were held in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Many other communities had smaller demonstrations.
As flashes of violence and break-ins dwindle, some California counties and cities shortened curfew hours or announced plans to end them.
Los Angeles County pushed back the start of its curfew from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., a help to newly reopened restaurants and retail stores that were shut down for weeks by anti-coronavirus orders.
“It’s just killing my dinner service. But I believe the curfew helps thin out the crowds,” said Darren Melamed, owner of Pizza World restaurant that was spared the major damage that hit dozens of neighboring businesses in the Fairfax District.
San Francisco will lift its curfew Thursday morning, Mayor London Breed announced. She ordered the daily 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew after widespread break-ins and theft Saturday night, but some supervisors said they were disturbed by restrictions on free speech.
“Following Saturday night, it was important for the safety of our residents to ensure that we could prevent the violence and vandalism that had taken place, but we know that the overwhelming majority of people out protesting are doing so peacefully and we trust that will continue,” Breed said.
San Jose also will lift its curfew Thursday morning, while Alameda County planned to end the one there Friday at 5 a.m. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said the city will reluctantly keep its 8 p.m. curfew in place indefinitely, though police are being judicious about detaining protesters.
The San Francisco Bay Area city of Vallejo has been a significant exception as other cities become more peaceful. Fifty members of the National Guard arrived Tuesday night amid a second straight day of violence, break-ins, and theft.
On Wednesday, Police Chief Shawny Williams released details of the police shooting that killed Sean Monterrosa, 22, of San Francisco.
The chief said officers responding to calls of looting at a Walgreens around 1 a.m. Tuesday confronted about a dozen people in the parking lot. One of the suspect’s cars rammed into a police vehicle.
Officers spotted Monterrosa near the building with what appeared to be a weapon in his waistband and opened fire. The suspected gun turned out to be a hammer, Williams said.
Monterrosa’s death prompted renewed calls against police brutality. Critics peppered a brief press conference by Williams, saying this was exactly the kind of police action they are protesting.
John Burris, an attorney for Monterrosa’s family, said the victim “was shot multiple times while he was on his knees and appeared to be trying to surrender.”
Elsewhere Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom made a low-key visit to Los Angeles. He helped pack lunches for a senior meal program and toured a black-owned business. He applauded additional charges that were filed against Minneapolis police in the killing of George Floyd but also said institutional racism and other problems need to be confronted.
“This is so much bigger than the tragic death and loss of one individual,” he said. “This is the cumulative neglect of decades, centuries in this country that needs to be addressed.”
In the state capital, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and Police Chief Daniel Hahn took a knee in honor of Floyd and marched with a few hundred demonstrators through the scorching heat to a church.
Steinberg said an 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew will extend through the weekend.
“I say that very reluctantly, but we want to make sure that everybody, including protesters, is safe,” he said. “To get through the next few days and then to start fresh on Monday, we believe is the best thing.”
Steinberg said most local business owners are not upset about the curfew, though he acknowledged the “double whammy” many are facing following stay-at-home coronavirus orders.
The Sacramento Police Department, meanwhile, is investigating an officer seen on cellphone video using a carotid restraint on an 18-year-old man arrested following a sidewalk chase early Monday.
The technique, which can cut off blood flow to the brain and render a person unconscious, has been banned by many departments but is allowed in Sacramento under certain conditions. The suspect was arrested on suspicion of looting and resisting arrest.
On Wednesday, San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore announced his department would stop using the carotid restraint. Gore said he took the action “in light of community concerns, and after consultation with many elected officials throughout the county.”
The epic damage to America’s job market from the viral outbreak will come into sharper focus Friday when the government releases the May employment report: Eight million more jobs are estimated to have been lost. Unemployment could near 20%. And potentially fewer than half of all adults may be working.
Beneath the dismal figures will be signs that job cuts, severe as they are, are slowing as more businesses gradually or partially reopen. Still, the economy is mired in a recession, and any rebound in hiring will likely be painfully slow. Economists foresee unemployment remaining in double-digits through the November elections and into 2021.
If their forecast of 8 million jobs lost in May proves correct, it would come on top of April’s loss of 20.5 million jobs — the worst monthly loss on record — and bring total job cuts in the three months since the viral outbreak intensified to nearly 30 million. That’s more than three times the jobs lost in the 2008-2009 Great Recession. And if the jobless rate does reach 20% for May, it would be double the worst level during that previous recession.
Overhanging the jobs picture is widespread uncertainty about how long the unemployed will remain out of work. Most of the layoffs in recent months were a direct result of the sudden shutdowns of businesses in response to the coronavirus pandemic. As many of these businesses reopen, at least partially, workers who had been laid off have held out hope of being rehired soon.
But some small employers might not reopen at all if the recession drags on much longer. And even once companies do reopen, their business may not fully return until Americans are confident they can shop, eat out and return to other previous habits without becoming sick. For now, most people who have lost jobs still say they expect their unemployment to prove temporary.
Even if just one-third of the job losses turn out to be permanent, though, that would leave 10 million people who will need to find work at new employers or even in new occupations. That is still more than all the jobs lost in the Great Recession.
A hole that size would take years to fill. Hiring will likely rebound over the summer and fall as states and cities further lift restrictions on economic activity. But it won’t match the huge job cuts this spring. Oxford Economics, a consulting firm, estimates that the economy will regain 17 million jobs by year’s end, a huge increase by historic standards. But that would make up for barely more than half the losses.
Seth Carpenter, an economist at UBS, said that after an initial bounce-back, future hiring will likely be slow and could be interrupted by another wave of the pandemic.
Adam Ozimek, the chief economist at Upwork, notes that the fastest year for job growth since the Great Recession was 3 million jobs in 2014. Even at that pace, it would take at least several years to return to the pre-pandemic job market.
Since mid-March, more than 40 million Americans have applied for unemployment benefits. That doesn’t mean that many people are still unemployed. The figure likely includes some duplicate filings: In some states, self-employed and “gig” workers applied under their regular state unemployment systems before they were able to file under a new federal program that has made them eligible for benefits for the first time.
In addition, some people who lost jobs early and applied for unemployment aid have been rehired. That, along with slowing layoffs, helps explain why the net job loss for May is expected to be far less than April’s. Goldman Sachs estimates that up to 3 million people who were initially laid off have already been rehired.
Weekly surveys of small businesses by the Census Bureau show an uptick in the number of such companies that are hiring and providing more hours of work, though the gains are slight. In mid-May, the most recent data available, nearly 10% of small companies surveyed said they had added jobs in the past week, and 12% said they had added hours. Both figures were roughly double their level three weeks earlier.
Still, 16% said they had cut jobs, and a third said they were still cutting hours — figures that are consistent with ongoing but smaller job cuts in May.
Three-quarters of states have allowed dining-in services to resume at restaurants, though most are still restricting total capacity. Many states have reopened gyms, hair salons, and movie theaters. But a meaningful rebound will require a greater public willingness to return to their old activities without fear of contracting the virus.
Adam Kamins, the senior regional economist at Moodys Analytics, said this probably won’t happen until a vaccine is available or testing expands significantly.
Civil unrest in dozens of cities since the weekend in response to the killing in Minneapolis of George Floyd may also weigh on the economy in the short term, though analysts, for now, expect the consequences to be limited. Kamins said the economic damage was likely mitigated by the fact that so much activity is still closed down in large cities like New York and Washington, with many people already working from home.
Data from the restaurant reservation app OpenTable showed a slight drop in dine-in activity Monday and Tuesday that might have been caused by the protests.
“It certainly doesn’t help to have this layer of uncertainty added on,” Kamins said.
Heidi Shierholz, the senior economist at the progressive Economic Policy Institute and a former chief economist at the Labor Department, suggested that more government aid will be necessary to keep consumers and businesses afloat so that many laid-off workers will have jobs to return to.
“Those jobs are not going to come back if the federal government doesn’t do the things it needs to do to stimulate the economy so that the demand and confidence is going to be there so that those businesses will need to call workers back,” Shierholz said.
An employee at an Ottawa pizzeria has lost her job after a video was called out on social media for depicting what many users believed to be a re-enactment of George Floyd’s death.
Shania Lavallee, who, according to her now-deleted social media posts, went to the University of Ottawa, worked at the Orleans location of Boston Pizza, and was fired after Patrick Well, along with other social media users, alerted the franchise.
Two hours after Well contacted Boston Pizza Sunday about the video post, they messaged him to say the employee had been “immediately terminated.”
“As visible minorities themselves, the owners of this location in no way condone this type of messaging and behavior,” a representative of BP Orleans responded to Well via the Messenger app. “This type of rhetoric absolutely does not represent the entire restaurant’s values and culture.”
Well, who is 20, said he contacted the franchise after seeing screenshots of the video which was originally posted on Snapchat. It depicted a woman, identified as Shania’s sister, lying facedown on a carpeted floor with a man’s hands and knee on her back.
“When I first saw it I felt angry,” said Well, who is Black. “I wasn’t very surprised because we’ve come to know there are people on the internet who choose to do these things.”
Well said he didn’t feel rage, but more of “just a hurt feeling” on seeing what he believed was an “imitation of how the police officer knelt on George Floyd.”
Floyd, who was 46, died in Minneapolis on May 25. Video of his death shows police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes, according to news reports, even as Floyd loses consciousness and stops moving. Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder as well as manslaughter.
After Shania posted her video, it was shared widely and other social media users began to identify her — as their neighbor and a co-worker at Boston Pizza, said Well. Someone else recognized her as their server at the restaurant.
Well, who is in his third year of biomedical science at the University of Ottawa, messaged BP Orleans: “I would take action quickly so her ignorance does not tarnish your reputation. We will be watching and waiting for your reply and action on this matter.”
Shania’s sister Justine is a student at Carleton University who worked for the Canada Border Services Agency as a program officer, according to her social media accounts, which have also been deleted.
John Ossowski, president of the Canada Border Services Agency, issued a statement on Tuesday, saying the agency “became aware of a social media post and immediately investigated the situation.”
“As an organization that represents all Canadians and is very diverse, we hold our employees to a high level of professionalism and integrity,” the statement said.
The agency said the person, a casual employee and not a front-line worker, “no longer works at the CBSA.” It did not name the employee.
Well said Shania later posted an apology, stating that her sister and boyfriend were “play fighting as they always do.” Screenshots of it can still be found online.
“It was wrong of me to be inconsiderate of the sensitive times at hand and by no means did I use this as a representation of what happened with George Floyd,” wrote Shania. “I in no way support that sort of action against anyone and I sincerely apologize for my oversight and insensitivity to the matter, especially with the state of the world right now.”
Shania didn’t respond to a request from the Star for comment.
Well said he saw her apology but he didn’t think it went far enough.
“She did take responsibility for posting it, but she didn’t take responsibility for her full actions,” said Well, who felt she would have been better served if she “just admitted to what she did.”
“That’s not something to joke about, especially in today’s society and with everything that’s going on,” he said.
Well never asked BP Orleans to fire Shania, but he says that when they responded within a couple of hours to say she had been let go, he immediately felt a sense of relief.
“Whatever tension, whatever anger I was feeling, that was my resolution,” said Well.
On Sunday, the University of Ottawa’s president and vice-chancellor Jacques Frémont released a statement that read in part that the university “stands in solidarity with our Black students, faculty and staff and join them in denouncing anti-Black racism.”
“I am horrified and outraged by hateful and racist statements including some which may have been posted by some of our students,” said Frémont. “They fly in the face of the values we cherish. I stand with the community in strongly condemning such content.”
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