Today’s News & Commentary — July 28, 2016

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released an outline of proposed regulations aimed at strengthening debt collection rules. The first effort to significantly govern debt collection in 40 years, the outlined proposal provides the first public glimpse of how the CFPB is planning to move forward in the debt collection rulemaking process. According to The New York Times, under the proposed regulations, debt collection companies will have to more fully document the debt they are trying to collect, make it clear how a consumer can dispute the debt, and adhere to state statutes of limitations that bar them from pursuing older debts. Additionally, collectors would be barred from trying to contact individuals who owe money more than 6 times per week, and after a debtor dies, collectors would have to wait 30 days before contacting family members about paying up.  Although the proposals only cover third-party debt collection issues, the CFPB also indicated that it plans to address outstanding issues such as first-party debt collectors and creditors at a later date.

The number of Americans filing new applications for jobless benefits rose more than expected last week.  Initial claims for unemployment benefits, a proxy for layoffs across the U.S., rose by 14,000 to a seasonally adjusted 266,000 in the week ended July 23, according to the Labor Department. However, according to The Wall Street Journal, economists believe the underlying trend continues to point to sustained labor market strength.

China’s Cabinet issued its first rules for ride-sharing apps, encouraging local officials to promote the burgeoning industry, and affirming the legal status of Uber and local competitors. After years of tension with regulators, including office raids by Chinese police and legal challenges to their business model, Uber and its Chinese competitors welcomed the official endorsement. The Cabinet set guidelines for registration, fares, employment of drivers and payments, but is giving cities and local authorities leeway to work with the industry across the country.