The engineer operating the Amtrak train that crashed in Philadelphia has a concussion and remembers nothing. Here are the other big news stories for the day for May 14, 2015.
Jobless Claims Drop Again
The Labor Department Thursday said the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell unexpectedly last week, dropping to a seasonally adjusted 264,000 for the week ending May 9. This is seen as an indication the jobs market is on solid footing. The current number is very close to the 15-year low reached two weeks ago. Claims have been below the 300,000 mark for 10 straight weeks, and that is seen as a threshold for an improving economy.
Facebook Sets New Rules
Facebook announced Wednesday that any contractors or vendors working with the social media giant will be required to pay its workers at least $15 per hour, and offer at least 125 paid days off for vacation, sick days and holidays. This came out in a blog post by Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg. “We are committed to providing a safe, fair work environment to everyone who helps Facebook connect the world,’’ Sandberg wrote. “This is an important step forward in this work for us.” The current federal minimum wage is half the $15, at $7.25 an hour.
Morgan Stanley Pays Up
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority announced Wednesday Morgan Stanley will pay $2 million to settle charges that a unit failed to fully report its short-interest positions over a period of more than six years. FINRA said Morgan Stanley violated short-interest reporting and short-sale rules by failing to accurately report its positions in certain securities that involved billions of shares. FINRA also said Morgan Stanley’s supervisory system was deficient in not detecting and preventing these violations.
Amtrak Train Conductor Concussed
The attorney for the conductor operating the Amtrak train that derailed in Philadelphia Wednesday says the conductor has no memory of the accident due to a concussion he suffered in the crash. Federal investigators have determined the train was traveling at twice the speed limit, up to more than 100 miles per hour, in an area that included a sharp curve where the speed limit is just 50 miles per hour. Investigators have determined the engineer applied the emergency brake just before the crash, but that only slowed the train to 80 miles per hour going into the bend. Brandon Bostian, the 32-year-old engineer on the train, had 15 staples placed in his head but does not remember anything from the moment of the crash. It is believed he will recover his memory once the concussion symptoms subside.
Four Banks Plead Guilty
The Justice Department will soon announced that several major banks will collectively pay several billions of dollars and plead guilty to criminal antitrust violations for rigging the price of foreign currencies, according to the New York Times. The banks are Barclays, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup and the Royal Bank of Scotland. The Times reported the guilty pleas are another step in an ongoing effort to prosecute financial misdeeds by the federal government.
Producer Prices Fall Again
The Labor Department Thursday announced that U.S. Producer prices fell 0.4 percent last month, the third decline in four months this year. The cost of energy fell and the strong dollar kept underlying inflation pressure down. All of these are signs the Federal Reserve will wait longer to raise interest rates. In the 12 months through April, producer prices have fallen 1.3 percent, the biggest year-to-year decline since 2010. Economists had expected a PPI increase of 0.2 percent last month.