Economy: More jobs, sluggish wage growth
“U.S. employers are churning out jobs unabated as the economic expansion enters its ninth year,” said Jeffrey Sparshott in The Wall Street Journal. The economy added 222,000 jobs in June, the Labor Department reported last week, with the unemployment rate ticking up slightly to 4.4 percent, thanks to “more people actively looking for work.” The U.S. has now added jobs for 81 consecutive months, “ but the inability to generate more robust wage growth represents a missing piece in a largely complete labor recovery.” Average hourly earnings rose 2.5 percent in June, a pace little changed since March. “In the months before the recession, wage gains consistently topped 3 percent.”
The job market under President Trump looks a lot like it did under President Obama, said Ben Casselman in FiveThirtyEight.com. The good news is that even though economists suggest that the U.S. is nearing “full employment,” people are continuing to join the workforce. That’s spreading the recovery to some of the hardest-toreach corners of the job market, with the unemployment rate dropping “sharply” for teenagers, African-Americans, and Hispanics in June. The bad news is that most workers are still waiting to see meaningful pay raises. “They are no doubt hoping that the clock doesn’t run out on the recovery before they get them.”
Tech: Samsung posts record profits
Scandal-plagued Samsung has some rare good news to report: It is on track for its most profitable year ever, said Youkyung Lee in the Associated Press. The South Korean electronics giant reported record second-quarter profits of $12.1 billion last week, up 72 percent from a year earlier, despite its massive recall of the Galaxy Note 7. Booming semiconductor sales are the reason. Samsung’s “memory chips are crucial for global tech companies.” The “stunning result” comes amid ongoing turmoil at the company, including the arrest of its heir apparent in the corruption scandal that toppled South Korea’s president.
Immigration: White House blocks ‘startup visas’
The Trump administration is taking aim at a visa program for foreign entrepreneurs, said Justin Sink in Bloomberg.com. The International Entrepreneur Rule, which would allow noncitizens to come to the U.S. to launch their companies, was set to take effect this month. But the White House announced this week that it will delay the program until next March, while the terms are reviewed by the Department of Homeland Security. The administration has indicated that it will propose eliminating the program, despite strong support for it from the tech industry.
Retail: QVC, Home Shopping Network to merge
“The two best-known home-shopping TV networks in America” are teaming up, said Sintia Radu in The Washington Post. QVC and Home Shopping Network agreed to a $2.1 billion all-stock merger last week, creating the world’s largest television commerce company, with a combined $14 billion in revenue. Both companies are working to adapt to an era of cord cutting and declining cable TV subscriptions. The newly formed company will be the third-largest e-commerce company in North America, trailing only Amazon and Walmart.
Media: Newspapers seek digital bargaining rights
News outlets are hoping to join forces against Facebook and Google to get better deals for their content, said Jim Rutenberg in The New York Times. The News Media Alliance, the newspaper industry’s main trade group, plans to ask Congress for a rare exemption to antitrust laws to allow media companies to collectively bargain with the big online platforms. Publishers see tech companies as “siphoning away revenue that once paid for the quality journalism that Google and Facebook now offer for free.” Together, the two tech giants control nearly 60 percent of the online advertising market, according to eMarketer. ■