Hundreds more JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. bankers have returned to their London offices since the U.K. government eased its “stay at home” guidance on March 29.

About 15% of JPMorgan’s staff in the city -- about 1,800 people -- came into the office last week, up from about 10% since Christmas, according to a person familiar with the matter. Goldman is expecting attendance to increase in the coming weeks to about 20% of its roughly 6,000 workers in the U.K. capital, another person said, asking not to be named discussing private information.

Spokespeople for the banks declined to comment.

The U.K. is inching out of its third Covid lockdown and banks of all types are looking to establish future working practices. Some financial firms are starting to entice employees back to deserted offices and the empty City of London, while others have moved to embrace remote work.

“Organizations need to understand what their employees need and what will enable them to do their best work,” said Allison English, deputy chief executive officer of workplace research firm Leesman. “The decision is certainly not a binary ‘home or office’ one.”

The property market is watching the return to work. A 37-story skyscraper in the heart of the City is being put up for sale for 1.8 billion pounds ($2.5 billion), according to the Telegraph. The price tag -- a record for a London office building -- will be a test of investor appetite for offices following the pandemic.

Returning bankers are also being welcomed by city administrators.

City center “ecosystems rely upon footfall,” Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said in an interview on Bloomberg Television Tuesday. “I’m hoping over the course of the next few weeks and months people will start returning back to the city.”

The Guardian earlier reported that more Goldman bankers were returning to the office in London.

President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus package will boost the US economy and drive faster global growth this year, the International Monetary Fund said Tuesday, though it warned that many countries continue to suffer from the pandemic and are at risk of being left behind.

The US economy will surpass its pre-pandemic size as growth reaches 6.4% this year, the IMF said, up 1.3 percentage points from the group's forecast in January. The rebound will help the global economy expand 6% in 2021, an upgrade of 0.5 percentage points from the IMF's previous outlook. The estimates are broadly in line with Wall Street's expectations.
"At $1.9 trillion, the Biden administration's new fiscal package is expected to deliver a strong boost to growth in the United States in 2021 and provide sizable positive spillovers to trading partners," the IMF said in a report. Other governments and central banks around the world have also pumped trillions into the global economy.
    The IMF said the "unprecedented policy response" to the pandemic means the "recession is likely to leave smaller scars than the 2008 global financial crisis." The group estimates global output dropped 3.3% in 2020, while the US economy shrunk 3.5%.
      There are already signs the US recovery is gaining speed. American employers added 916,000 jobs in March, the biggest gain since August. The US manufacturing sector is also roaring ahead, with the ISM Manufacturing Index recently posting its best reading since 1983.
      The IMF expects that the coronavirus vaccine rollout and massive government stimulus will combine this year to produce the fastest annual growth rate in the United States since 1984 under President Ronald Reagan. But many other countries will have to wait until 2022 or 2023 to recover all the output lost during the pandemic. Global output growth will slow to 4.4% next year, according to the IMF.
      "Multispeed recoveries are underway in all regions and across income groups, linked to stark differences in the pace of vaccine rollout, the extent of economic policy support, and structural factors such as reliance on tourism," said Gita Gopinath, director of research at the IMF. "The divergent recovery paths are likely to create significantly wider gaps in living standards between developing countries and others."
      The upgraded US forecast means the world's biggest economy is on track to grow more quickly than many other developed nations this year. The IMF expects growth of 4.4% in the 19 countries that use the euro as Europe battles another wave of coronavirus that has forced Germany, France and Italy to tighten restrictions. Output is expected to expand by 3.3% in Japan.
      But some nations in Asia will still outpace the United States. The IMF expects China, which was the only major economy to avoid recession last year, to grow 8.4% in 2021 — much stronger than the country's official forecast of more than 6%. Output in India will expand 12.5% in the fiscal year to March 2022.
      The IMF credited continued government stimulus and vaccine rollouts for stronger growth projections. It said that consumer prices could be volatile, but it does not expect high levels of inflation to take root because of weak wage growth and unemployment.
      Still, the IMF cautioned that a "high degree of uncertainty surrounds" its projections, reflecting the wide range of potential coronavirus developments. "Greater progress with vaccinations can uplift the forecast, while new virus variants that evade vaccines can lead to a sharp downgrade," the group said in its report.
        While advanced economies were hit harder than developing nations by fallout from the 2008 global financial crisis, the IMF expects the opposite to be true in the pandemic. The group also said that young people, women, and lower-skilled workers have been more likely to lose their jobs due to coronavirus.
        "Once the health crisis is over, policy efforts can focus more on building resilient, inclusive, and greener economies, both to bolster the recovery and to raise potential output," said Gopinath.

        Consumers across the globe spent $900 billion more at online retailers in 2020 compared with the prior two-year trend, according to a report released Tuesday by the Mastercard Economics Institute. 

        Shoppers are heading back to restaurants and returning to stores to buy clothes and shoes in person. Yet they will continue to stock their fridges and hunt for good deals online — a sticky habit developed during the pandemic, according to the report.

        Nearly every retailer’s online sales jumped as shoppers were stuck at home. As consumers picked up online purchases in the parking lot and got packages or takeout dropped at their doorsteps, e-commerce made up about $1 out of every $5 spent on retail globally. That’s an increase from about $1 out of every $7 spent in 2019, the report said.

        In an interview on CNBC’s Worldwide Exchange with Frank Holland, Mastercard chief economist Bricklin Dwyer said about 20% to 30% of the $900 billion in gains will continue into 2021 and the next few years.

        However, the long-term e-commerce gains will be uneven and will depend on what a retailer sells, how they adapted their business model and how consumers prefer to shop. For some merchandise, such as clothing, shoppers may prefer to go back to brick-and-mortar stores where they can try on an outfit before buying it. In certain retail categories, such as electronics, online purchases already drove a larger share of overall sales, so there was less room to grow.

        Grocery and discount stores will see the most dramatic and lasting shift to e-commerce, according to the report. Grocers will likely retain about 70% to 80% of the digital sales gains that they saw during the peak of the pandemic and discount stores will retain about 40% to 50% of them, the report said.

        For both sectors, online sales made up only a single-digit share of overall sales before the pandemic — creating an opportunity for more noticeable gains.

        Clothing stores, restaurants, and sporting/toy stores saw the biggest initial spike during the pandemic, however, but only kept 10% to 20% of that peak in sales, according to the report.

        Electronics and department stores had the highest penetration of online sales before the pandemic, with e-commerce making up about 55% to 60% and 40% to 50% of their total sales, respectively, according to Mastercard. For the two sectors, their expected permanent shift will be around 20% to 30% of their peak jumps.

        Dwyer said grocers face unique hurdles — even as more consumers shop online for produce, meats, and other ingredients. Only about 10% of overall grocery spending is through e-commerce, he said.

        “You have to trust someone else to pick your peaches,” he said. “You have to have trusted for someone else to deliver your goods and still have them good when they arrive. So that really is some of those barriers that we’re crossing.”

        Most advanced economies will emerge from the coronavirus crisis with little lasting damage, thanks to the relatively rapid rollout of vaccines and their willingness to increase sharply public spending and borrowing, according to the IMF. The likely success in managing the economic fallout from the pandemic will not be replicated in emerging economies, however, highlighting the divergence in economic fortunes, the fund said. Even with differing fortunes, the global economic outlook had improved notably since the fund’s previous forecasts at the start of this year, it said on Tuesday, revising upward its expectations for almost all countries. The global economy is set to enjoy two years of rapid growth in 2021 and 2022 of 6 per cent and 4.4 per cent, the IMF forecast. It also revised down the estimated scale of the contraction in global output caused by the advent of the pandemic last year. The fund’s projections suggest the economic legacy of the pandemic will be nothing like the 2008-09 financial crisis, which left countries nursing a hangover of weak growth for a decade afterward. By 2024, advanced economies will produce about 1 per cent less output than their pre-pandemic growth path, according to the IMF forecasts. In contrast, after the 2008-09 recession they suffered a gap of more than 10 per cent. Overall, the pandemic’s economic impact is “much smaller than the [2008-09] global financial crisis”, said Gita Gopinath, the fund’s chief economist, adding that advanced economies “are getting very little [economic] scarring and [in] the US [there is] effectively no scarring”. The IMF revised upwards its forecast for US growth in 2021 by 1.3 percentage points from its previous projections in January. Canada’s projection rose 1.4 percentage points, Italy was up 1.2 percentage points, and the UK up 0.8 percentage points. Recommended ExplainerCoronavirus economic impact Pandemic crisis: Global economic impact tracker The fund was particularly bullish about prospects of a rapid US recovery without inflationary pressures. Gopinath said: “The US is really the only large economy whose [economic output] for 2022 is projected to exceed what it would have been in the absence of this pandemic.” However, the IMF noted that the economic and social pain of the crisis had hit certain countries, and groups of people within countries, much harder than others. Parts of Europe that are suffering another wave of coronavirus are likely to take longer to recover, but the IMF was optimistic that the EU would catch up with other advanced economies such as the US in just a few years. By 2024, the IMF expects that even many of these lagging European economies will have almost returned to their pre-pandemic growth path. That is large because advanced nations and their companies have proved much more resilient to lockdowns than the fund had previously expected. By contrast, the IMF expects the crisis to be a lingering drag on emerging economies where, with the exception of China, economic output in 2024 is forecast to be almost 8 per cent below the level the IMF had expected before the pandemic. Nations most at risk of a sluggish recovery are emerging economies with little access to Covid-19 vaccines, those with weak public finances, and those that are heavily dependent on tourism, the IMF said. The hit to emerging economies in the short term will be compounded by the interruption of schooling during the pandemic, which has taken what the fund described as a “severe toll” on education in poorer countries because they have only limited capacity to deliver schooling online. Gopinath said there was little cause for immediate concern about the unprecedented levels of fiscal stimulus on both sides of the Atlantic driving a rise in inflation because global forces are likely to keep a lid on price rises and there is no sign yet that central banks or governments would lose control. But it highlighted the risk that the US might need to lead the world in tightening monetary policy rapidly if inflationary pressures did rise rapidly. This could hit emerging markets particularly hard by driving capital flight back to developed economies. However there is no sign so far that Us president Joe Biden’s $1.9tn stimulus has destabilized international markets, Gopinath said, flagging that as an encouraging sign.

        U.S. job openings rose to a two-year high in February, led by gains in some of the industries hardest hit during the pandemic and indicating employers are poised to ramp up hiring in the coming months.

        The number of available positions increased to 7.37 million during the month from an upwardly revised 7.1 million in January, the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS, showed Tuesday. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for 6.9 million openings. Vacancies in health care rose to a record while openings in accommodation and food services increased to a four-month high.

        U.S. job openings jumped to a two-year high in February

        Employers are increasingly seeking workers to fill open positions as vaccinations increase and economic activity picks up. While elevated job vacancies suggest strong hiring in the coming months, businesses have said they can’t find workers to fill open positions as obstacles like child care and health concerns remain a challenge.

        “There is a lot to love in this report,” Nick Bunker, director of economic research at Indeed Hiring Lab, said in a note. “Significant hiring is finally taking place in some industries hit hardest by the pandemic.”

        The number of people who voluntarily left their job was little changed as the quits rate held at 2.3%. Separations, which include both layoffs and quits, increased to 5.5 million from 5.3 million. That figure is still lower than the levels seen in December.

        Openings in the health care industry climbed to 1.45 million, while postings for accommodation and food services jobs rose to 761,000. The retail sector saw 817,000 postings in the month, the most since October 2019.

        The JOLTS data lag the monthly employment report but offer more details. The March employment report last week showed employers added 916,000 jobs, the most in seven months.

        By region, openings climbed roughly 100,000 in both the Northeast and South. The Midwest and West posted more moderate gains.