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Today's Smart Brevity count: 1,005 words, a 4-minute read.
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While U.S. companies continue to vigorously seek new workers, growth in openings for some hard-core digital jobs — projected to be among the most prominent work in the future economy — have sharply slowed, according to a new report.
Quick take: The reported weakening in hiring may reflect the general U.S. economic slowdown. But, amid a 50-year low in joblessness, it also highlights the extraordinary volatility in the technology industry, the most reliably vibrant part of the U.S. economy.
"A lot of companies have been on a hiring tear, but now they are seasonally constrained where they get their talent from," said Robert Brown, VP at Cognizant's Center for the Future of Work.
The big picture:
Though no one knows precisely what work the new economy will require and create, Cognizant describes its index, launched last year and published quarterly, as an effort to puzzle out the shape of the new world.
What's next: What no one disputes is that most people are going to have to undergo fundamental reskilling in order to keep up with the massive changes under way.
Secretary Mnuchin, speaking today. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty
Only a day after the Trump administration confirmed a far-reaching antitrust probe of Big Tech, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin today said that Amazon had "destroyed the retail industry" and "limited competition," Erica writes.
Why it matters: It's highly unusual for a cabinet secretary to publicly offer a prejudgement of a company's potentially criminal role in the economy, since antitrust law is meant to prevent the constraint of competition in a way that hurts consumers.
In a statement, Amazon said its sales amount to only 4% of all U.S. retail and points out that 90% of all shopping is still done in physical stores.
Go deeper: The Department of Justice's antitrust probe
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
States and cities are limiting when police can use surveillance technology on residents, how long they can keep the information they gather, and what they can do with it, Kaveh writes.
But as a growing slice of that technology is operated not by government but by private companies, organizations and even individuals, a new backdoor is open for police to access data they wouldn't be able to gather on their own.
The big picture: A new wave of surveillance gadgets, once too expensive and complex to be used by anyone but the police, is making its way into mom-and-pop shops, front porches and residential streets.
Driving the news: At least 10 neighborhood homeowner's associations in the Denver area have bought license-plate readers to monitor every car coming in and out, reports Elise Schmelzer in the Denver Post. Cameras also record the faces of passersby.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
The future of the apple (Brooke Jarvis — California Sunday Magazine) (h/t Don Van Natta)
The fraud scandal in baseball cards (Kendall Baker — Axios)
Why the bicycle took so long to gestate (Jason Crawford — Roots of Progress) (h/t Azeem Azhar)
Was the automotive era a terrible mistake? (Nathan Heller — New Yorker)
The stock buyback swindle (Jerry Useem — The Atlantic)
Dalian, China, 2018. Photo: VCG/Getty
China was manually operating iron blast furnaces in the 5th century BC, and it was using water-driven furnaces in the 1st century AD, both of which allowed the Chinese to avail of iron-strength products. In the 11th century, Arabs began using such "blast furnaces," too.
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