U.S. employers added 235,000 jobs in August, a marked slowdown.
The Labor Department report indicates that the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus has hampered hiring.
Stocks on Wall Street dipped in early trading after the government reported that employers added just 235,000 jobs in August, far below economists expectations for a gain of 725,000 positions.
The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq composite declined 0.2 percent in early trading.
Other data from the Labor Department was more upbeat: The unemployment rate fell, as economists had predicted, to 5.2 percent from 5.4 percent, and wage growth was faster than expected. Markets could struggle to interpret such a mixed report. The slowdown in hiring could give the Federal Reserve more room to decide when to roll back monetary stimulus, but economists are closely watching wages for signs of sustained higher inflation that the central bank wants to avoid.
“The Fed has to be careful in how they guide the markets around the timing of taper,” said Michelle Meyer, the chief U.S. economist at Bank of America, referring to a slowdown in the pace of the central bank’s bond-buying program. “It will be a function of the data flow and, specifically, how the economy reacts to the movement of Delta.”
After the report, bond yields dropped before almost immediately rebounding. The 10-year yield on U.S. Treasury notes was 1.32 percent, up from 1.29 percent before the data was released.
The slowdown in hiring came in August as the spread of the Delta variant caused people to pull back on spending in restaurants and on other services, while businesses have reported challenges in finding new staff. Hiring in the leisure and hospitality sectors was flat, the Labor Department said, after increasing on average of 350,000 per month for the previous six months.
The absence of hiring in the these low-wage sectors helped push overall wage growth higher, Paul Ashworth, an economist at Capital Economics, wrote in a note.
“That puts the Fed in an uncomfortable position — with the slowdown in the real economy and employment growth accompanied by signs of even more upward pressure on wages and prices,” Mr. Ashworth wrote.
Apple plans to allow parents to turn on a feature that can flag when their children send or receive nude photos in text messages.Credit…Apple
Apple announced on Friday that it would delay its rollout of child safety measures, which would have allowed it to scan users’ iPhones to detect child pornography, following criticism from privacy advocates.
“Based on feedback from customers, advocacy groups, researchers and others, we have decided to take additional time over the coming months to collect input and make improvements before releasing these critically important child safety features,” the company said in statement posted to its website.
Apple said in early August that iPhones would begin using complex technology to spot images of child sexual abuse that users upload to its iCloud storage service. Apple also said it would let parents turn on a feature that can flag them when their children send or receive nude photos in text messages.
The measures faced strong resistance from computer scientists, privacy groups and civil-liberty lawyers, because the features represent the first technology that would allow a company to look at a person’s private data and report it to law enforcement authorities.
The tech giant announced the feature after reports in The New York Times showed the proliferation of child sexual abuse images online.
Here’s the full statement from Apple:
Previously we announced plans for features intended to help protect children from predators who use communication tools to recruit and exploit them and to help limit the spread of Child Sexual Abuse Material. Based on feedback from customers, advocacy groups, researchers, and others, we have decided to take additional time over the coming months to collect input and make improvements before releasing these critically important child safety features.
Tyson Foods said that roughly 75 percent of its U.S. work force has received at least one dose of the vaccine.Credit…Michael Conroy/Associated Press
Tyson Foods said it will provide 20 hours of paid sick time a year to fully vaccinated employees to enhance benefits for workers willing to receive coronavirus vaccinations.
The new benefit, announced on Friday, came after discussions with the United Food & Commercial Workers, which represents several thousand Tyson workers, over the company’s requirement that all of its U.S. workers be vaccinated “as a condition of employment” by Nov. 1. The paid sick leave policy takes effect on Jan. 1, and also applies to all nonunion employees.
Tyson also said that fully vaccinated employees can take up to two weeks of paid administrative leave if they test positive for Covid-19 over the next six months. The company said it would compensate workers for time spent in “educational sessions about the benefits and risks of the Covid vaccines.”
The union had initially expressed reservations when Tyson announced the vaccine mandate last month, but applauded the paid sick leave benefit on Friday, saying it was the first national agreement that provides such a benefit to meatpacking workers. Union officials have said that providing paid sick time is important so workers can still be paid if they miss work or experience some of the vaccines’ common side effects.
“Vaccine mandates, like all Covid workplace safety policies, must be negotiated with workers to build the trust and strong consensus needed for these safeguards to be effective,” the U.F.C.W. president, Marc Perrone, said in a statement.
On Friday, Tyson said that about 90,000, or roughly 75 percent, of its U.S. work force has received at least one dose of the vaccine. More than 30,000 workers have been vaccinated since the company announced its mandate in early August.
Tyson said it now has the support of the U.F.C.W. and the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union for its vaccine policies. Together, those unions represents more than 80 percent of the company’s 31,000 unionized employees.
“Getting vaccinated remains the single most effective thing we can do to fight this pandemic and continue to help feed this country and our world,” Johanna Soderstrom, Tyson’s chief human resources officer, said in a statement.
The best indicator of the economy’s health is the Labor Department’s monthly jobs report. Here’s how to decode it:
What is the jobs report based on?
The jobs report is based on two surveys.
One counts people, and the other counts jobs. They generally point to parallel trends, but there are some notable differences.
The household survey counts how many people are in the labor force — either working or actively looking for work.
Lately that’s been around 161 million, still fewer than before the pandemic.
The number that gets the most attention — the overall increase or decrease in jobs — comes from the survey of employers. Before the pandemic, a gain of 100,000 to 200,000 would be considered solid. But with the economy still nearly six million jobs short of where it was before the pandemic, it takes a bigger increase for a report to qualify as good news.
So far this year, the monthly gains have averaged slightly under 600,000.
What is the unemployment rate?
The unemployment rate is the percentage of those people who aren’t working. Early last year, that rate was at its lowest point in decades — 3.5 percent. When the pandemic hit, it shot up to 14.8 percent. It has fallen steadily since then, to 5.2 percent in August.
If the unemployment rate goes up, that isn’t always purely bad news.
Sometimes the number goes down because people have stopped looking for work, so they aren’t counted as part of the labor force.
And sometimes the unemployment rate goes up because more people have decided to look for work but haven’t found a job yet. That can signal economic optimism.
How accurate is the jobs report?
In a fast-moving economy, the numbers behind the monthly jobs report are a bit dated. The household survey is generally conducted on the calendar week that includes the 12th of the month, and the survey of employers is taken in the pay period that includes the 12th.
The employer survey, with a bigger sample, is considered more reliable. But it does not take into account the self-employed, unpaid family workers, domestic help or agricultural workers.
Generally, the numbers are seasonally adjusted. That means the effects of ordinary weather changes, major holidays and school schedules are removed so that underlying trends are more evident.
Employers have faced challenges hiring and retaining workers during the pandemic.Credit…Matt Rourke/Associated Press
Walmart is raising hourly wages for about 565,000 workers in the latest example of a large employer trying to attract and retain employees in a challenging labor environment. The pay raise, which will total at least $1 an hour and will take effect Sept. 25, will apply to workers in departments such as food and general merchandise. The company’s average wage will rise to $16.40, Walmart said, though its minimum wage still lags that of other large retailers such as Target and Amazon. As of Sept. 25, Walmart’s minimum starting wage will rise to $12 an hour from $11.
Uber postponed its return-to-office date to Jan. 10, after earlier delaying it to Oct. 25 from Sept. 25.
Locast, a nonprofit streaming service that piped local broadcast signals over the internet, is shutting down after a federal judge ruled against the organization in a rare case tackling the legality of network content delivered online. The organization said it was “suspending operations, effective immediately,” and it added that Locast was meant to “operate in accordance with the strict letter of the law,” but had to comply with the ruling, with which it disagreed.
A jury of 12 residents of Northern California and five alternates was sworn in on Thursday for the fraud trial of Elizabeth Holmes, the disgraced founder of the blood testing start-up Theranos, which is set to begin next week. Finding jurors who had never heard of Theranos, which collapsed in 2018 after reports that its blood-testing technology did not work as advertised, was a challenge. Scheduling was another issue. The trial is set to last 13 weeks or longer and some jurors were dismissed because they had upcoming surgeries or long-awaited vacations.
“Everything I invest in is a creator-focused company,” said Li Jin, founder of Atelier Ventures.Credit…Ross Mantle for The New York Times
If there is such a thing as an It Girl in venture capital these days, Li Jin would fill the bill. She sits at the intersection of start-up investing and the fast-growing ecosystem of online creators, both of which are red hot.
She formed her own venture firm, Atelier Ventures, last year and has raised a relatively small $13 million for a fund, but Ms. Jin was among the first investors in Silicon Valley to take influencers seriously and has written about and backed creators for years, Taylor Lorenz reports for The New York Times.
A Harvard graduate who was inspired by the ideas of Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx, Ms. Jin, 31, is also aggressively pro-worker. She has made it clear in podcasts and her Substack newsletter that creators should get the same rights as other workers. Among the ideas she has championed is a “universal creative income,” which would guarantee creators a base amount of money to live on.
Now as large venture capital firms flock to influencer start-ups, and as Facebook, YouTube and others introduce $1 billion creator funds, Ms. Jin’s track record has made her a go-to business guru for many digital stars who are trying to navigate the fast-changing landscape.
Hank Green, 41, a top creator on YouTube and TikTok, said he often tossed ideas back and forth with her by phone. Markian Benhamou, 23, a YouTuber with more than 1.4 million subscribers, credited her with understanding what creators go through. Marina Mogilko, 31, a YouTube creator in Los Altos, Calif., said Ms. Jin “started the whole creator economy movement in Silicon Valley.”
“She was talking about the creator economy years and years and years before anyone else was,” said Jack Conte, a co-founder and the chief executive of Patreon, a crowdfunding site for content creators. “She really sees the future before other people do.”
James Simons, the founder of Renaissance Technologies, which will settle a long-running dispute with the I.R.S.Credit…Daniel Rosenbaum for The New York Times
Renaissance Technologies said on Thursday it had agreed to settle a long-running dispute with the Internal Revenue Service with a settlement that will require current and former insiders — including its founder — to pay billions in taxes, interest and penalties.
The settlement, which involves 10 years’ worth of trades made by the hedge fund, could be worth as much as $7 billion, according to a person with knowledge of the agreement. That makes it one of the largest federal tax disputes in history, report Matthew Goldstein and Kate Kelly of The New York Times.
James Simons, the mathematician who pioneered an algorithmic approach with the founding of Renaissance, and six other people who were on the board from 2005 to 2015 along with their spouses will pay the additional taxes owed, plus interest and penalties. Mr. Simons will also make a payment of $670 million on top of those obligations.
Included in that group is Robert Mercer, a former Renaissance co-chief whose support of conservative causes — including his help founding the now-defunct political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica — unnerved some of the firm’s investors. Cambridge Analytica was at the heart of a scandal for harvesting Facebook data without users’ consent in a bid to assist Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
Other investors will also owe taxes and interest, but no penalties, according to a letter that Peter Brown, the firm’s chief executive, sent to investors.
The settlement centered on the firm’s Medallion fund, which manages about $15 billion, mostly for employees and former employees of the firm and their family members. The dispute involved the tax treatment of certain transactions by Renaissance, which specializes in rapid-fire trades. The hedge fund argued that many of its trades were eligible to be taxed at a lower long-term capital gains rate because it had converted them into longer-term holdings through the use of complex financial instruments. The I.R.S. disagreed, saying the short-term rate was appropriate.
The dispute involved a congressional inquiry and a rewriting of I.R.S. guidance that sought to clamp down on that type of trading.