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The Dow plunged for the third straight day today, for a total drop of more than 1,700 points and 4% for the week, pouring cold water on a strong November jobs report and blasting a louder alarm for the possibility of global recession.
The big picture: The stock market turbulence joins other foreboding signs — among them a slowing Chinese economy and an unyielding bout of geopolitical brinksmanship between the U.S. and Beijing — to paint a potentially gloomy economic picture for 2019.
Driving the news: The long-running U.S. economic expansion kept unemployment at 3.7% for the third-straight month in November, a half-century low, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
Axios' Courtenay Brown writes: One more worrying sign is the potential for a shortage of workers to be another drag on economic growth.
A whopping 95.8 million Americans have not looked for work for 12 months or longer, according to BLS.
By the numbers:
Worker-hungry companies are having to up their game. In addition to hiking wages, some are figuring out how to grab long-term unemployed people.
There are serious doubts that sufficient numbers of workers will make themselves available to keep job growth from stalling out.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
Over the coming years, the workplace in the U.S. and other advanced economies will see increased automation, and corporate leaders will face a stark choice: whether to keep humans in the mix or let them go. And if it's the former, to what degree?
What’s happening: A wave of studies and corporate PR campaigns argue that there is nothing to fear from artificial intelligence and robots — that when they arrive in force, they will operate to enhance human labor, not to replace it.
The calculus is one of today's most important global questions as economists face early evidence of trouble. We're in a new era of work in which wages barely grow and newly created jobs are either at the very top of the skills matrix, like in AI, or at the bottom, like in Amazon warehouses.
Jesuthasan gives an example in the form of a question: Should oil service companies field completely autonomous drilling rigs, and eliminate the positions currently held by humans, or keep things largely as they are?
The bottom line: Jesuthasan says that the question is, “How do we responsibly automate at a time the choice can have a significant detrimental impact on our country?”
You barely got through the week? Never mind — here's the best of Future:
1. Trump's attacks on China go mainstream: On this issue, the center is with him
2. The problem with work: This author says the system needs a big shakeup
3. AI talent is not quite monopolized yet: Experts are strewn across the globe
4. The true cost of driverless cars: It's a lot
Illustration: Axios Visuals
How the yellow jackets differ from the other populists (Adam Nossiter - NYT)
Zuckerberg at war (Felix Salmon - Axios)
Commuting in Oahu gives you stress (Brittany Lyte - Civilbeat.org)
Run a new Brexit referendum (The Economist)
The answer in France: people are fed up with taxes (Anne-Sylvaine Chassany - FT)
Estimated price to name the species of this frog from the Colombian rainforest — $15,000-$25,000. Photo: Freeman's Auction
For your billionaire friend who already has seemingly everything, consider conferring her or his name on a frog — not a single frog, but the whole species.
Such is the offer of the Rainforest Trust, a conservation group that is auctioning off the naming rights to four frogs, seven plants and a snake, all from Colombia, Ecuador and Panama, reports the NYT's Julia Jacobs. The price of the privilege starts in most cases at $15,000.