Waters Corp. to add more than 100 jobs at Massachusetts facilities

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LABORATORY ACCESSORIES

Waters Corp. creates more than 100 jobs in Massachusetts facilities

Laboratory supplier Waters Corp. plans to add approximately 615 new jobs to its global workforce this year, including more than 100 at its four Massachusetts plants, to keep pace with demand for its products. Waters employment was down slightly to 7,400 as of December 31, from nearly 7,500 the previous year. Now the company is climbing on a percentage basis in anticipation of low double-digit sales growth this year. Managing Director Udit Batra said the company currently has nearly 650 vacancies worldwide, the highest number in five years. Around half of these are new positions. About 200 of these open positions are spread across the Milford-based company’s Massachusetts locations, and about half of those are new positions. On site, the company is hiring positions in the areas of manufacturing, software development, research and development, and sales and marketing, among other things. Waters posted a 31 percent increase in sales for the first quarter last week, driven by demand from the pharmaceutical sector. – JON CHESTO

ECONOMY

Wholesale prices continued to rise in April

Wholesale prices rose 0.6 percent above expectations in April, driven by rising food costs. It’s further evidence that inflationary pressures begin to mount as the country emerges from a pandemic-triggered recession. The rise in the producer price index, which measures inflationary pressures before they reach consumers, was twice as high as the 0.3 percent growth forecast by economists. The surge, reported Thursday by the Labor Department, followed a sizeable 1 percent surge in March. Wholesale prices are up 6.2 percent over the past 12 months, the largest increase since the data was first computed in 2010. The wholesale inflation report came a day after the government reported that consumer prices had dropped in April, the biggest month, up 0.8 percent jump in more than a decade, with a third of profits attributable to a record 10 percent rise in used car prices. – RELATED PRESS

FAST FOOD

McDonald’s hikes pay off in company-owned stores to attract workers

McDonald’s is raising wages in 650 company-owned stores in the US to recruit thousands of new workers in a tight labor market. The fast food giant is also encouraging its franchisees, who make up 95 percent of its restaurant base, to increase pay. McDonald’s is the latest restaurant chain to announce pay hikes. Chipotle said Monday it would raise workers’ wages to an average of $ 15 an hour by the end of June. Darden Restaurants, the owner of Olive Garden and other chains, announced in March that it would guarantee workers $ 12 an hour including tips through 2023. Amazon, Costco, and other big companies have also announced salary increases in the past few weeks. Wages and benefits for U.S. workers have risen rapidly as vaccinations surge and employers seek to meet growing demand in restaurants and other businesses. – RELATED PRESS

CRYPTOCURRENCY

Elon Musk changes his mind about Bitcoin

Elon Musk has been a big cryptocurrency booster lately, even directing Tesla to buy $ 1.5 billion worth of bitcoin for its corporate coffers earlier this year. On Thursday, he abruptly reversed course and tweeted that Tesla would no longer accept Bitcoin as a means of payment for cars for environmental reasons. “We are concerned about the rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for bitcoin mining and transactions, especially coal, which has the worst emissions of any fuel,” he said. Mining Bitcoin is energy-intensive. The more it is worth, the more electricity a computer network needs to create the tokens. – NEW YORK TIMES

AUTOMOBILE

Alexa is to be integrated into Ford vehicles

Amazon is deepening its relationship with Ford under a contract that will incorporate Alexa into the entertainment system of F-150 trucks and other models. Amazon’s digital assistant will be delivered to around 700,000 Ford vehicles this year, including new and current models of the pickup, as well as the Bronco and the electric Mustang Mach-E in the US and Canada. New and existing vehicles operated in-car with Ford’s SYNC-4 software also offer drivers the ability to call up Alexa hands-free. – BLOOMBERG NEWS

SALE

Walmart buys a startup that offers digital changing rooms

Walmart has agreed to acquire Zeekit, an Israeli startup whose technology enables customers to try on clothes without ever stepping into a store’s locker room. Zeekit’s three founders – Yael Vizel, Alon Kristal and Nir Appleboim – will join Walmart under the deal, the retailer said Thursday. The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Zeekit’s image processing technology, used by brands such as Levi Strauss and Tommy Hilfiger, enables customers to see a digital rendering of themselves inside a garment. – BLOOMBERG NEWS

INTERNATIONAL

Alibaba posted its first loss since going public, following government action

Alibaba suffered its first quarterly operating loss since going public in 2014 after Beijing fined the country’s largest e-commerce company a record $ 2.8 billion for abusing its market position. The loss associated with the antimonopoly fine was 7.66 billion yuan ($ 1,170 million) for the quarter ended March, although sales growth was 64 percent, reaching 187.4 billion yuan ($ 28.6 million) . Authorities opened an investigation against Alibaba last year and abruptly halted its $ 37 billion IPO in its financial firm Ant Group as Beijing became increasingly concerned about the growing influence of tech giants in China. – RELATED PRESS

Mortgages

Prices are falling again

Mortgage rates fell for a second straight week, near their lowest level in history. The average for a 30-year loan was 2.94 percent, down from 2.96 percent last week, and the lowest since February 18, Freddie Mac data showed on Thursday. The 15-year fixed income average fell to 2.26 percent. A week ago it was 2.3 percent. – BLOOMBERG NEWS

E-COMMERCE

Amazon hires 75,000 people for logistics operations

Amazon announced on Thursday that it would be hiring 75,000 people for its sprawling North American logistics operation. This is a sign that the company expects increased demand to weather the pandemic. The world’s largest online retailer hired around 500,000 employees last year to meet rising online demand as millions of consumers settled at home during the outbreak. With the US economy recovering, companies are struggling to find enough workers. The new employees in the US and Canada will receive $ 100 if they are already vaccinated against COVID-19, Amazon said on Thursday in a blog post announcing the plans. Their average starting salary is more than $ 17 an hour, and the company offers signing bonuses of up to $ 1,000. – BLOOMBERG NEWS