The week in business: skyrocketing job growth

Analysts had forecast an increase of 250,000 jobs in July. And it was a shock when the Labor Department report showed that more than double that number, 528,000, were added last month. The breakneck pace of growth has returned total employment to pre-pandemic levels, a disconcerting benchmark considering other recent signs of an economic slowdown, including a drop in gross domestic product and a calmer housing market. In fact, this latest jobs report offers more questions than answers about the state of the US economy: What’s causing employers’ confidence in hiring if many fear a recession? Why is the labor market so resilient if the economy appears to be more depressed? These are seeming contradictions that Fed officials will weigh as they figure out which way to go.

Citing the cryptocurrency market crash coupled with inflation and a worsening economic outlook, trading app Robinhood announced the layoff of 23 percent of its staff on Tuesday, the second round of job cuts in just a few months. It’s still dealing with the fallout from last year’s “meme stock” frenzy, when investors conspired to boost shares of struggling companies like GameStop and AMC, ultimately resulting in lawsuits, a report from the Securities and Exchange Commission. and Securities and Congressional hearings for Robinhood, which became a key player in the trade. But also disastrous for the company has been its exposure to the crypto market, which analysts say led many companies, such as cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, to overhire at the height of the market and then cut staff when it crashed. Vlad Tenev, CEO of Robinhood, said the company misjudged the economy and business. “As CEO, I approved and took responsibility for our ambitious people journey; this is up to me,” he wrote in a blog post.

In his first extensive response to Twitter’s lawsuit against him, Elon Musk accused the social media company of fraud, reiterating arguments that it hid the true amount of spam and bot accounts on its platform. In a legal filing made public Thursday, Musk’s lawyers claimed the proportion of those accounts was closer to 10 percent, while Twitter maintained it was less than 5 percent. His lawyers also accused Twitter of hiding the number of its users who see ads. Twitter goes on to say that its numbers are accurate. The two sides are still scheduled to resolve their disputes in Delaware Chancery Court in October, when a judge will decide whether Musk’s claims that Twitter hid information about spam accounts on the site are legitimate or whether he still needs to complete the deal. of $44 billion. .

The bold ambitions of subscribers to The Walt Disney Company may receive a check on their quarterly earnings report on Wednesday. The company has exceeded analyst expectations for its Disney+ streaming platform so far this year, announcing in February that it had added 11.8 million subscribers and then in May that it had added 7.9 million more for a total of 138 million. But it has an aggressive goal of reaching 230 million to 260 million Disney+ subscribers worldwide by 2024, and analysts have said that guidance is likely to be lowered on Wednesday. Instead, they predict, Disney will want to focus on making the streaming site profitable. These aren’t the only challenges Disney faces: Its stock price has plunged this year, the company has fired its top TV content executive, and while its theme parks in the US have bounced back, they’ve struggled in China. due to pandemic restrictions.

This week’s Consumer Price Index may present a somewhat mixed message. Analysts expect year-over-year and month-over-month inflation to slow, but “core” inflation, the measure that excludes volatile gasoline and food costs, will accelerate on a yearly basis. Gasoline prices, which have fallen sharply from recent highs, would be the likely cause of a slowdown in headline inflation. Still, policymakers are concerned by how much and how quickly overall price gains will cool off. Federal Reserve officials are planning another big rate hike in September, but are watching for signs of moderation across the economy as they determine the pace of increases. At the White House, President Biden is pushing the Inflation Reduction Act as the administration’s tool to lower prices, though it is not known how effective the legislation will be in doing so.

In April, The New York Times transportation reporter asked, “Air travel is back. Can the industry keep up? Recently, the answer seems to be: No. To address the increase in delays and cancellations this year, especially acute during the busy holiday weekends this summer, the Department of Transportation has proposed a rule that would provide more resources for passengers who experience significant interruptions. in your travel plans, including major changes to a flight’s schedule, route, or seats. Airlines that received government pandemic aid will also be required to issue full refunds to passengers who change their minds about travel for Covid-related reasons. If it goes into effect, though, it won’t arrive in time for his August trip to Italy: the agency has opened a 90-day public comment period and will make a decision after that.

Stephen King testified in the Justice Department’s antitrust case to stop Penguin Random House from buying Simon & Schuster. Walmart is laying off 200 corporate workers. OPEC Plus approved a small increase in oil production.

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