Monthly Archives: May 2018

U.S. job growth surges, unemployment rate falls to 3.8 percent

Source: Thinkstock

By Lucia Mutikani

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. job growth accelerated in May and the unemployment rate dropped to an 18-year low of 3.8 percent, pointing to rapidly tightening labor market conditions, which could stir concerns about inflation.

The closely watched employment report released by the Labor Department on Friday also showed wages rising solidly, cementing expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates this month and boosting the probability of two more hikes later in the year. It renewed fears about the economy overheating.

“The strength of the labor market supports our forecast for the Fed to raise rates three more times this year,” said Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics in West Chester, Pennsylvania. “The Fed is going to get antsy that the labor market will blow too far past full employment.”

Nonfarm payrolls surged by 223,000 jobs last month as warm weather bolstered hiring at construction sites. There were also big gains in retail and leisure and hospitality payrolls. The economy created 15,000 more jobs than previously reported in March and April.

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Why the NFL Stopped Seeing Gambling as a Threat—and Started to See a Windfall

Even ahead of the Supreme Court’s ruling, the league had shifted its focus to how sports betting could help grow football in the NFL’s most coveted demographics

The arrival of legal gambling comes at a moment when the NFL’s grip on the American public is weakening. PHOTO: PAUL KURODA/ZUMA PRESS

By Andrew Beaton

For decades, the NFL’s high-level conversations about legalizing sports betting centered only on how problematic it would be. Now that the reality of legal wagering is here, the league is suddenly shifting its focus to how gambling can help stanch the erosion of its audience—and grow its sport to even greater heights.

The NFL was long resolute in its belief that legal sports gambling would be a threat to its integrity, even as the NBA and others warmed to the idea. Just last year, when NFL owners approved the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas, commissioner Roger Goodell made the league’s stance clear: “We still strongly oppose, in that room and otherwise, legalized sports gambling,” he said.

But when the owners met this March, the conversation had completely shifted. A future with legalized sports betting was on the horizon, whether they liked it or not. That future shifted into the present Monday when the Supreme Court struck down the law that prohibits the practice in most parts of the country.

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A Better Alternative to Payday Loans

Using a ‘salary link,’ employers can help low-income workers get access to credit.

PHOTO: ISTOCK/GETTY IMAGES

By Todd H. Baker and Snigdha Kumar

More than 50 million Americans in low-income working families struggle to manage everyday cash flow. That means they have the resources to pay monthly bills but can’t handle small financial shocks or timing mismatches because they lack the savings buffer the more affluent take for granted. Most lack access to reasonably priced credit and can’t stretch out medical, home and auto expenses over time. The result is a damaging cycle of reliance on high-cost payday loans, auto-title loans and bank overdrafts that often leads to financial ruin. While interest groups squabble over whether more or less regulation is the answer, people suffer.

There is a solution with benefits for employers and employees. In a new working paper published from Harvard’s Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government, we show that mobile and online financial products sponsored by employers can cover a wider range of borrowers and charge them less money than those available to individuals in the market. Use of these FinTech products may also significantly reduce employee turnover and save employers millions. The key to their success is the “salary link”—meaning the money provided to employees is automatically repaid through salary deduction. Large employers can make these benefits available today without changes in law or government intervention.

 

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