Remote-access software firm LogMeIn cuts jobs

LAYOFFS



a blurry image of a person: LogMeIn


© Essdras M Suarez
LogMeIn

Remote-access software firm LogMeIn cuts jobs

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One of the industry leaders in software for remote work is going through another round of layoffs. Boston-based LogMeIn said it’s trimming “less than 100” of its global workforce of 4,000, with Boston workers accounting for “less than 20” of the job cuts. The company provided no details about which of its product lines are affected, but a spokeswoman said that the laid-off workers have been encouraged to apply for new jobs at LogMeIn, suggesting that the move is more of a reorganization than a downsizing. In February, the firm laid off about 300 employees, or 8 percent of its workforce. Chief executive Bill Wagner told the Globe in July that many of the company’s employees will keep working from home even after the pandemic lifts. A spokeswoman said that as a result, LogMeIn needs fewer workers to operate its offices, such as the technical staff who maintain the office computer networks. — HIAWATHA BRAY

DIVERSITY

Microsoft plan to add Black executives draws US Labor inquiry

Microsoft Corp. said the US Labor Department is questioning whether its commitment to promote more Black managers and executives violates civil rights laws. The software maker said it’s confident the diversity pledges are legal. The company, whose contracts with the US government mean it must comply with certain federal requirements on employment practices, said it was contacted last week by the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. Microsoft said in June that it would double the number of Black managers, senior contributors, and senior leaders in the United States by 2025. The federal outreach to Microsoft is an example of the Trump administration’s opposition to many programs meant to fight discrimination against the Black community and improve the poor track record of many US companies in hiring, retaining, and promoting Black employees. Other companies, including some with federal contracts, have announced similar diversity programs. Google aims to have 30 percent more leaders from “underrepresented groups” by 2025, and Boeing Co. has said it is targeting increasing the representation rate of Black employees by 20 percent while boosting other underrepresented groups over the next three years. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

ECONOMY

US job openings fell in August for first time in four months

US job openings declined in August for the first time in four months, pointing to a moderation in pace of hiring as the pandemic drags on. The number of available positions slipped to 6.49 million during the month from an upwardly revised 6.7 million in July, according to the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS, released Tuesday. The decrease in job vacancies points to some tempering in the rate of hiring. Many businesses that received Paycheck Protection Program funding are nearing the end of the 24-week period, and the passage of additional federal aid remains unclear, which could increase business uncertainty and hold back hiring. Competition among those looking for work remains elevated with a little more than 13.6 million Americans jobless in August, leaving more than two unemployed workers vying for every job opening. The decrease in job openings was driven by fewer vacancies in the construction, retail, and health care industries. Vacancies increased in manufacturing, food service, and government. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

TECHNOLOGY

Apple sets launch date for next week

Apple plans to reveal four redesigned iPhones with 5G wireless capability on Oct. 13, with upgraded cameras, faster processors and a wider range of screen sizes. The online event will mark Apple’s second product launch this year, following the company’s September announcement of a new iPad Air, refreshed entry-level iPad, and updated Apple Watches. The new lineup will also mark Apple’s biggest screen size variation in years, adding a 5.4-inch model and a 6.7-inch version, Bloomberg News has reported. The four models will be split into two entry-level versions and two Pro variations, with the higher-end phones using stainless steel and the less-expensive devices using aluminum. Apple plans to add a Lidar scanner, a depth-sensing camera that improves augmented reality apps, to the more-expensive models. The company is also expected to remove the charging wall adapter from the new iPhone boxes, a move Apple has said would help the environment, but could also potentially save the company tens of millions of dollars a year. Some new models aren’t expected to be widely available for a number of weeks due to supply constraints. Apple also is planning to announce Macs with the company’s own custom processors as early as November. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

ENERGY

Trump administration criticized over breaks for oil companies

A US government watchdog agency faulted the Trump administration Tuesday for its handling of a COVID-19 relief effort that awarded energy companies breaks on payments for oil and gas extracted from public lands in more than 500 cases. The Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan arm of Congress, said haphazard rules for the program left the administration unable to say how much relief was given or if it would ultimately benefit taxpayers, as was intended. The Bureau of Land Management gave breaks on royalty payments from companies in at least five Western states because of workforce problems or other issues after the pandemic shut down much of the economy and helped drive a collapse in oil prices. The Trump administration also gave breaks to companies that extract oil in the Gulf of Mexico, but it has released scant details of that effort. Offering royalty relief to companies had been done before the pandemic and is intended to boost the profitability of oil and gas wells so they can still be profitable. The idea is to protect against companies being forced to shut down uneconomical wells permanently, meaning they would never again generate government revenue. But it’s unknown if that’s what happened after the Trump administration approved at least 581 relief requests during its scrambled early response to the pandemic. Most of the approvals were in Wyoming, with cases also approved in Utah, Colorado, and by a bureau office that covers Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

LABOR

Companies to shrink offices as remote work becomes ‘new normal’

More than half of companies plan to shrink their offices as working from home becomes a regular fixture after the coronavirus pandemic ends, according to a survey by Cisco Systems. About 53 percent of larger organizations plan to reduce the size of their office space, and more than three-quarters will increase work flexibility. Almost all of the respondents were uncomfortable returning to work because they fear contracting the virus, the poll found. Cisco recently surveyed 1,569 executives, knowledge workers and others who are responsible for employee environments once the novel coronavirus is in check. The findings suggest that many of this year’s radical changes to work life will remain long after the pandemic subsides. The poll, conducted for Cisco by Dimensional Research, concluded that working from home is the “new normal.” More than 90 percent of respondents said they won’t return to the office full time, with 12 percent planning to work from home all the time. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

AUTOMOTIVE

Defense begins in emissions scam trial

Audi’s former chief executive and head of engine development rejected German prosecutors’ allegations related to their roles in the diesel-emissions scandal that rocked the luxury-car maker’s parent Volkswagen AG half a decade ago. Lawyers for Rupert Stadler and Wolfgang Hatz began laying out their defense Tuesday after prosecutors started making their case last week in a trial near Audi’s headquarters. Stadler is accused of failing to stop the sale of rigged cars in Europe even after US authorities uncovered the engine-rigging scandal in September 2015, while Hatz is alleged to have known about the cheating as early as 2008. The large-scale manipulation of diesel-engine software to bypass emission tests has cost the world’s best-selling automaker 32 billion euros and counting. The trial is poised to drag on through the end of 2022 and relates to 434,420 manipulated cars, most of which were sold in the United States, according to the indictment filed by prosecutors. Direct ramifications for Audi and the VW group are likely to be limited because claims against the company were settled in 2018. But the trial against the individuals could still stir unease because prosecutors’ findings could provide fresh ammunition for investors who sued VW over how long it took the company to inform markets about the scope of the scandal. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

PANDEMIC AID

NY county famed for glitzy homes to borrow to cover costs

New York’s Suffolk County, home to the Hamptons, may be the next to borrow from the Federal Reserve if it can’t get a better deal on Wall Street. One of the nation’s wealthiest counties, Suffolk is planning to sell $100 million in notes in October that the Fed could backstop, according to Fitch Ratings. Suffolk County would follow Illinois and New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority in drawing on the Fed’s emergency credit line. The Fed’s backstop is intended as a last resort for governments that are facing steep penalties in the public market, where higher-rated borrowers are able to borrow at near record lows. While the county benefits from being a second-home destination for the wealthy in Manhattan, officials have long struggled to shore up the government’s finances even before the pandemic upended its budget by cutting into its sales-tax revenue. The county, which has 68 golf courses and more than 50 vineyards, has been particularly affected by the pandemic because it relies on sales taxes for much of its revenue. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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