Dec 8, 2017

The great American jobs machine chugs along

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Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy added 228,000 new jobs in November, while the unemployment rate stayed firm at 4.1%, the Labor Department said Friday.

  • Manufacturing job growth led the way in November, adding 33,000 new jobs, and bringing the total new manufacturing jobs in 2017 to 189,000.
  • Even the battered retail sector added more than 18,000 new jobs, bringing employment in that sector to levels not seen since March.

Why it matters: As lawmakers rush to pass tax reform aimed at goosing the economy, the jobs market is running as hot or hotter than any time in the past decade.

One puzzling thing: Wage growth still remains muted, even with rock bottom unemployment. As economist Justin Wolfers frames it:

The key puzzle remains: With unemployment this low, why aren't we seeing faster nominal wage growth? Suggests that the economy still has room to run without igniting inflation.— Justin Wolfers (@JustinWolfers) December 8, 2017

Implications for the Fed: Incoming Fed Chair Jerome Powell will have to navigate this vexing question as the central bank attempts to steer interest rates higher without puncturing the economic recovery.

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President Trump announced on Friday that the U.S. would be fundamentally changing longstanding policies toward Hong Kong as a result of Chinese encroachment on the city's autonomy.

Why it matters: Trump said he would be effectively ending the special trade status that has allowed Hong Kong to flourish as a gateway to the Chinese market. That leaves an uncertain future for businesses that operate in Hong Kong, not to mention the city's 7 million residents, and could be met with reprisals from Beijing.

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Police officer in George Floyd killing charged with third-degree murder

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Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer involved in the killing of George Floyd, was charged Friday with third-degree murder and manslaughter, according to Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman.

The state of play: Freeman said that the delay in Chauvin's arrest, which came four days after Floyd's death on Monday, was due to the need to collect sufficient evidence — and that it was "by far the fastest" his office had charged a police officer. He added that he also anticipated charges against the other three officers involved in Floyd's arrest and death, but refused to elaborate.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 5,871,347 — Total deaths: 362,554 — Total recoveries — 2,463,332Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 1,731,035 — Total deaths: 102,201 — Total recoveries: 399,991 — Total tested: 15,646,041Map.
  3. 2020: North Carolina asks RNC if convention will honor Trump's wish for no masks or social distancing.
  4. Supreme Court: Senators Grassley, Leahy urge Supreme Court to continue live streams post-pandemic.
  5. Public health: Hydroxychloroquine prescription fills exploded in March —How the U.S. might distribute a vaccine.
  6. Business: Fed chair Powell says coronavirus is "great increaser" of income inequality.
  7. 🚀 Space: How to virtually watch SpaceX's first crewed launch Saturday.