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Veterans included in latest round

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Veterans included in latest round

The feds just doled out another 2 million stimulus checks — and a large chunk of them went to veterans.

The Internal Revenue Service’s fifth batch of coronavirus relief payments under the American Rescue Plan included more than 320,000 checks for people relying Department of Veterans Affairs benefits, officials said.

Those taxpayers are receiving compensation benefits or VA pensions available to veterans as well as their spouses or other relatives in some cases, according to the feds.

Like many Social Security recipients who had to wait for their stimulus checks, these VA beneficiaries do not usually file tax returns and didn’t submit their payment info to the IRS when previous payments were distributed last year, the tax agency said Wednesday.

The IRS had to review payment data it received from the VA to deliver money to the affected veterans, officials have said.

The VA beneficiaries’ checks were among more than $3.4 billion worth of “economic impact payments” that the IRS said it started processing last Friday and officially paid on Wednesday.

Nearly 850,000 payments in the latest batch went to people whose payment info the IRS did not have on record but recently filed a tax return, according to the feds. Another 72,000 went to the aforementioned Social Security beneficiaries who didn’t file income taxes in either of the last two years, officials said.

There were also more than 700,000 “plus-up” payments to taxpayers who received an initial check in March based on their 2019 tax returns but qualified for more money based on their recently processed 2020 returns, the IRS said.

The feds have now given out about 159 million stimulus payments worth more than $376 billion since President Biden signed the $1.9 trillion spending package authorizing the checks last month, officials said.

This week’s batch of payments included nearly 1.2 million direct deposits and close to 800,000 paper checks, according to the IRS.

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AMC cashes in on Reddit-trading frenzy with $428 million share sale

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AMC cashes in on Reddit-trading frenzy with $428 million share sale

Cinema operator AMC Entertainment Holdings has raised about $428 million from a share sale, capitalizing on the retail-trading driven surge in its stock earlier this year.

The world’s largest cinema chain operator’s shares have gained more than five-folds in 2021 thanks to interest from amateur traders on Reddit that were piling into heavily shorted stocks such as GameStop and AMC to punish hedge funds that bet against them.

AMC said in a statement Thursday it had sold 43 million shares at an average price of $9.94 apiece in the at-the-market offering, sending its stock nearly 16 percent higher.

The company has raised funds in the past few months to ride out a downturn in its business wrought by pandemic-driven theater closures, delays in the launch of big movies and the growth of video streaming platforms.

It said in January it had raised $917 million since mid-December through equity and debt issues. It raised an additional $304.8 million in the same month through a share sale.

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Amazon Fresh grocery store to replace Fairway in Paramus

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Amazon Fresh grocery store to replace Fairway in Paramus

The Paramus Fairway’s getting a fresh start.

An Amazon Fresh supermarket is set to replace the shuttered Fairway Market in Paramus, N.J.

The Jeff Bezos-owned e-commerce giant bought the former Fairway location out of bankruptcy auction along with another former Fairway store in Woodland Park for a total of $1.5 million last March, The Post previously reported. 

Amazon’s plans for the two locations were listed as confidential at the time, but came as the Seattle-based company, which also owns Whole Foods, was beginning to expand in the groceries space. 

But Amazon confirmed in November the former Woodland Park Fairway would be converted into an Amazon Fresh. And now, the Paramus location will go the same route, an Amazon spokesperson confirmed to NorthJersey.com. 

It’s not clear when opening day will be, and the company did not return The Post’s request for comment. 

Amazon opened its first Fresh store in Los Angeles’ Woodland Hills neighborhood in September. It’s since opened 11 other locations elsewhere in California and in Illinois, according to the tech giant’s website. 

Amazon Fresh is the company’s attempt to offer a mix of in-store and online grocery shopping while attracting a distinct demographic from Whole Foods by offering lower prices. Fresh stores also tend to feature more national staple brands like Coca-Cola and Kellogg’s than Whole Foods, which emphasizes organic food. 

As The Post previously reported, Amazon may be looking to scoop up some more Fairway locations to expand Amazon Fresh’s footprint in the Northeast. Only seven of Fairway’s 14 stores were sold at last year’s bankruptcy auction, including the two that went to Amazon. Village Supermarket, which operates Shoprite stores, acquired at least four of those locations as well as rights to the Fairway brand. 

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McDonald’s to boost wages by 10 percent amid worker shortage

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A McDonald's in Spring, Pa., advertises $15-an-hour jobs on April 19. Like other restaurants and retailers, McDonald's is facing a nationwide labor shortage as the pandemic wanes.

McDonald’s said Thursday it will boost its rank-and-file employees’ hourly pay by 10 percent as it seeks to add 10,000 workers at its company-owned eateries amid a nationwide labor shortage.

The world’s biggest restaurant company said entry-level employees will now get paid between $11 and $17 an hour while managers will make anywhere from $15 to $20 an hour. The wage boost also will apply to 35,600 existing McDonald’s employees, some of whom have already received the increase, the company said.

“Together with our franchisees, we face a challenging hiring environment, and staying ahead means we must constantly renew our commitment to offer one of the leading employment packages in the industry,” McDonald’s USA president Joe Erlinger said in a message to US workers.

McDonald’s said it expects all of its company-owned stores to be paying workers an average of $15 an hour by 2024 while some will get there as early as this year.

The wage increases come amid one of the tightest labor markets in history with a record 8.1 million job openings as of March. Critics have partly blamed generous unemployment benefits which have included a $300 weekly COVID-19 sweetener from the federal government. Workers have also cited concerns about a lack of childcare services and health and safety fears.

A worker cleans the floor at a McDonald's in Chicago on March 19. Some workers say they're reluctant to return over health and safety concerns.
A worker cleans the floor at a McDonald’s in Chicago on March 19. Some workers say they’re reluctant to return over health and safety concerns.
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Some McDonald’s franchisees have been handing out hiring and referral bonuses to attract employees. As previously reported by The Post, a McDonald’s manager in Florida even offered $50 for potential candidates to simply interview for a job — and said he had no takers after two weeks.

Chipotle Mexican Grill said this week that its average wage will reach $15 an hour by the end of June as it pushes to hire 20,000 workers.

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