Today’s News & Commentary — July 11, 2016
While last Friday’s higher-than-expected U.S. jobs report has sent stocks soaring around the world, further economic news to be released this week will help reveal the accuracy of those numbers, according to USA Today. On Tuesday, the Department of Labor will release its Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) for May—a month whose job growth was already revised from 38,000 to 11,000. April’s JOLTS report showed “that the number of hires fell sharply for a second straight month despite job openings that matched the highest on record since 2000.” USA Today predicts that, due to May’s small job growth numbers, both its hiring rate and job openings rate will have fallen. Friday will reveal additional metrics, such as core retail sales, core consumer prices, core inflation, and industrial prices. Analysts predict all of these will have risen slightly, strengthening the accuracy of June’s boons.
Are we ready for the next recession? In the latest New York Times Room for Debate, multiple authors weigh in. Professor William Darity Jr. of Duke University calls for a federal job guarantee, “a policy that would insure the option for anyone to work in a public sector program, similar to what the Works Progress Administration established in the 1930s.” Such a program would serve as an automatic stabilizer, putting people to work on large, long-term projects like rebuilding infrastructure. Professor Pavlina Tcherneva of Bard College calls for a similar program in order to prevent unemployment from growing. It would be “federally funded but designed and implemented by localities, non-profits or social enterprises.”
Last night, the Verge published a fascinating piece on how Uber hired a secretive research group, made up of former CIA and National Security Council staff, to investigate the labor lawyer and plaintiff leading the antitrust suit against Uber CEO Travis Kalanick. The company was caught: the “investigation has turned into a legal disaster for Uber, and the presiding judge has already ruled the evidence constitutes ‘a reasonable basis to suspect the perpetration of fraud.’” The judge—Jed Rakoff of the Southern District of New York—was not pleased, ruling last week that the plaintiffs could access emails and documents exchanged between Uber and the research group.
A report about Britain’s experiment with its National Living Wage (NLW)—a pay level 50 pence higher than the minimum wage—has found that although many businesses have raised prices or reduced profits, jobs have not been cut, according to BBC News. The NLW, instituted last summer to affect all employees above 25 years old, was predicted by the Office for Budget Responsibility to lead to 60,000 job losses by 2020. The Resolution Foundation, the think tank that released the report, carried out its survey before the Brexit vote, however, and separately warned that the country’s decision to leave the European Union could seriously affect its wage policy.