Jan 31, 2018

Unemployment may fall to 3.5% in a year

Brisk spending has buttressed jobs and wage growth. Photo: Stephen Maturen / Getty

The U.S. is headed for a jobless rate of 3.5% this time next year, according to Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, a level reached in only two other periods since the government began keeping such records in 1948.

Why it matters: The job market is becoming so tight that employers are being forced to cough up wage increases, the long lack of which has been a factor in U.S. political disaffection.

In a call with reporters today, Zandi described a "rip-roaring job market" that includes accelerating increases in wages. His jobless projection is just outside the lower range of the Federal Reserve's full-year 2019 forecast of 3.6%-4.0%. Zandi was commenting on ADP’s monthly National Employment Report, which precedes Friday's Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report for December.

  • In a report today, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said that wages and benefits rose 2.6% in 2017, matching the highest rate since 2008, writes the WSJ's Sarah Chaney. That is up from 2.2% in 2016. Again, it's a sign that workers are benefitting alongside companies and Wall Street from broad economic growth.
  • "That's what we'd expect to see as the labor market keeps tightening," Jed Kolko, chief economist at Indeed, tells Axios. "Firms need to raise wages, adjust hiring requirements, or invest more in training in order to get the workers they need.

Harry Holzer, a professor at Georgetown University and former chief economist at the Labor Department, tells Axios that one thing that could interfere with the optimistic forecasts is the Fed, which could accelerate interest rate hikes to forestall inflation.

Go deeper: In a recent paper, researchers Jose Azar, Ioana Marinescu and Marshall Steinbaum found that wages have been held down in rural U.S. areas by a mergers that concentrate industries in a few hands.

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Gilead expands access to experimental coronavirus drug in emergency cases

Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Gilead Sciences CEO Daniel O’Day said in an open letter Saturday the company is expanding access to its experimental anti-coronavirus drug remdesivir to include severely ill COVID-19 patients.

The big pig picture: President Trump has called the antiviral drug "promising," but the results of six clinical trials on this investigational medicine are still being conducted, so its effectiveness in COVID-19 the treatment has yet to be proved. The World Health Organization is involved in the tests.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1 a.m. ET: 664,695 — Total deaths: 30,847 — Total recoveries: 140,156.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 1 a.m. ET: 124,464 — Total deaths: 2,191 — Total recoveries: 1,095.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump announces new travel advisories for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, but rules out quarantine enforcement. Per the CDC, residents of those states must now "refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days," with the exception of critical infrastructure industry workers.
  4. State updates: Alaska is latest state to issue a stay-at-home order — New York is trying to nearly triple its hospital capacity in less than a month and has moved its presidential primary to June 23. Some Midwestern swing voters who backed Trump's handling of the virus less than two weeks ago are balking at his call for the U.S. to be "opened up" by Easter.
  5. World updates: In Spain, over 1,400 people were confirmed dead between Thursday to Saturday.
  6. 🚀 Space updates: OneWeb filed for bankruptcy amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
  7. Hollywood: Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have returned to U.S. after being treated for coronavirus.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Coronavirus updates: Global death toll tops 30,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 30,000 people around the world — with Italy reporting over 10,000 deaths, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: The number of deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. surpassed 2,000 on Saturday. The United States leads the world in confirmed coronavirus infections — more than 124,000 by late Saturday. The number of those recovered from the virus in the U.S. passed the 1,000-mark on Saturday evening.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health