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Jamie Dimon, fed up with Zoom calls, says office commuting is returning

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Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase, speaking at the 2019 WEF in Davos, Switzerland on Jan. 23rd, 2019.

Adam Galica | CNBC

Jamie Dimon is no fan of the new remote work structure that has taken hold during the coronavirus pandemic.

The JPMorgan Chase chairman and CEO has already told his U.S. employees they should begin getting used to returning this month with the goal of having 50% of workers rotating through offices by July. While he’s fine with the greater flexibility allowed by employees working from home part time, he said Tuesday that’s no substitute for being at the office.

“We want people back to work, and my view is that sometime in September, October it will look just like it did before,” Dimon said at The Wall Street Journal CEO Council. “And everyone is going to be happy with it, and yes, the commute, you know people don’t like commuting, but so what.”

While remote work and videoconferencing tools like Zoom have been crucial in allowing Wall Street traders and bankers to continue working during the pandemic, CEOs including Dimon and Goldman Sachs‘ David Solomon have expressed dissatisfaction with the new model. That’s in contrast with technology companies like Facebook and Twitter, which have announced a permanent shift to remote work for those who want it.

“I’m about to cancel all my Zoom meetings,” Dimon said. “I’m done with it.”

As an illustration, Dimon said he was “brimming with ideas” after a trip to California last year that he wouldn’t get from Zoom meetings.

He also said clients have told him that in cases where JPMorgan lost business to rivals, it was because “bankers from the other guys visited, and ours didn’t. Well, that’s a lesson.”

Depending on their roles, employees will still be able to work remotely, Dimon said. JPMorgan currently cannot require workers to be vaccinated, and it won’t force those who object on religious or health grounds, he said.

The shift to part-time remote work is “not going to change everything so dramatically,” he said. “It accelerated a trend, but it does not work for younger people. It doesn’t work for those who want to hustle, it doesn’t work in terms of spontaneous idea generation.”

 Still, not everyone at JPMorgan is thrilled with the prospect of more face time at the office.

“The wife of a husband sent me a nasty note about `How can you make him go back?” Dimon said.

Also see: NYSE says more traders can return to the floor next week

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Amazon hiring 75,000 more workers in latest job spree

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An Amazon warehouse

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Amazon is hiring 75,000 workers across its warehouse and delivery network in the U.S. and Canada, the company said Thursday. The company will also offer a $100 bonus to new warehouse and transportation hires who show proof of their Covid-19 vaccination.

Amazon said the jobs will offer an average starting pay of $17 per hour, reflecting its recent wage increases, which bumped up pay by between 50 cents and $3 an hour for more than half a million of its U.S. operations employees.

The hiring push comes as businesses are looking for labor in an increasingly tight market. Some businesses say they’ve struggled to find workers as a result of expanded jobless benefits. Critics have argued that employers should consider raising wages to attract workers.

Companies including Chipotle and McDonald’s have announced wage hikes in recent days to attract employees. To that end, Amazon is offering a signing bonus of up to $1,000 in some locations as an additional tool to lure workers.

Amazon has aggressively hired new employees throughout the coronavirus pandemic, bringing on 500,000 workers in 2020 to help it meet a surge in e-commerce demand. At the same time, it has plowed profits back into physical expansion, opening new warehouses, air hubs and other facilities at a breakneck pace.

The new hires will ensure Amazon has enough employees across its expanded footprint, the company said. It’s looking to fill positions in nearly every corner of the country, with the most open roles available in Arizona, California, Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wisconsin, among other states.

Amazon hasn’t required its front-line workers to get vaccinated, but it has nudged employees to get vaccinated by offering them a bonus of up to $80. New workers will get $100 for showing proof of vaccination. Other companies including Target, McDonald’s and Kroger have also offered incentives to employees who get the Covid-19 shot.

Amazon in March began rolling out on-site vaccination clinics at warehouses in Missouri, Nevada and Kansas. Since then, Amazon said, clinics have rolled out to more than 250 warehouses across the U.S. and Canada, covering more than half a million front-line warehouse and delivery workers.

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Tesla’s Model Y slumps in China sales rankings, data shows

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Zang Yi charges her Tesla car at a charging point in Beijing, China, April 13, 2018.

Thomas Peter | Reuters

BEIJING — Sales of Tesla‘s newest model for the Chinese market lost steam in April, according to data from China’s Passenger Car Association.

The budget Wuling Hongguang Mini EV held onto its rank in April as the best-selling new energy vehicle in China, the association said Wednesday.

Tesla’s Model 3 ranked second, followed by BYD‘s “Han” luxury sedan.

But Tesla’s Model Y, which launched to customers in China in January, fell to sixth place, down from third earlier this year, the data showed.

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Australia will be ‘patient’ in relations with China, says deputy PM

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Australia will be “patient” as it seeks to repair relations with Beijing, said Australian Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack.

His country will also be looking for ways to broaden its trade interests, he told CNBC on Thursday.

Last week, China announced it would “indefinitely” suspend economic dialogue with Australia, the latest in the rift between both countries.. Their relations have soured since last year after Canberra supported an international inquiry into China’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Trade in some products has been caught in the fallout. Beijing has for months targeted a growing list of imported products from Down Under — putting tariffs on wine and barley, and suspending beef imports.

When asked on CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” what he was willing to do to bring China to the negotiating table following the suspension, McCormack said: “We’ll be patient, we always are.”

On Thursday, China’s Ministry of Commerce spokesperson Gao Feng told reporters in Beijing that Australia needs to halt its “wrong actions” that “interfere” with its trade with China. He also said Australia needs to take steps to promote the healthy development of trade.

Gao did not specify what these measures should be. That’s based on a CNBC translation of his Mandarin-language comments.

China’s overall trade with Australia grew in April, despite the tensions. Chinese imports from Australia rose 49% to $14.87 billion, while exports rose 20% to $5.25 billion, China’s customs agency said earlier this month.

“We understand that we’ve got the world’s best products,” McCormack said. “I know our mining resources are valued right across the world … whether it’s coal, whether it’s iron ore … iron ore prices are very strong at the moment.”

Beijing imports 60% of its iron ore from Australia, and is heavily dependent on the commodity, which it uses to make steel. China is the world’s top producer of steel. The country is also the world’s largest coal consumer and its greatest source of coal imports was Australia.

“Indeed our resources are greatly valued, greatly in demand around the world, and whether it’s China, or any other country, we will work with them always in a friendly and diplomatic and responsible way,” McCormack concluded.

He also separately said that Australia is looking to “broaden” its trade interests.

“China is a big market for us … we also understand there’s a big world out there … our resources are in great demand and we’ll continue to make sure we diversify our markets,” McCormack told CNBC.

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