Author: Industry News

Will Self-Driving Trucks Steal Jobs?

Will Self-Driving Trucks Steal Jobs?

It’s not quite a yes or no answer.
There’s a lot of excitement surrounding the concept of autonomous driving, but there’s also a lot of fear.
On top of skepticism about security and safety, there’s public concern that autonomous commercial trucks are going to put truck drivers out of work.
I recently spoke with Chuck Price, the vice president of product for TuSimple, a startup that is developing technologies for self-driving trucks.
I asked Price what he’d tell someone concerned about safety and widespread job-loss as they relate to the autonomous technology his company is working on.
“We’re driving in the near-term with supervising drivers in the vehicle so this is not a matter of something coming out next month that will ‘steal jobs’,” said Price on the topic of potential job loss for human truckers.
“We actually have drivers in vehicles supervising for a significant period of time until we are assured we can do this with higher levels of safety than you can do with a human driver.” “In terms of job loss, I don’t think it’s quite the same situation as factory automation coming in and eliminating jobs.
I think jobs are going to transition.
As autonomous vehicles become more mainstream, the job of the driver is going to change.
I think we’re going to see drivers move to more local operation, more supervisory operation, and there are going to be some high-level jobs that are very appropriate for drivers to take.

Text of the Fed’s statement after its meeting Wednesday

Text of the Fed’s statement after its meeting Wednesday

On a 12-month basis, both overall inflation and inflation for items other than food and energy have declined this year and are running below 2 percent.
Hurricane-related disruptions and rebuilding have affected economic activity, employment, and inflation in recent months but have not materially altered the outlook for the national economy.
Consequently, the Committee continues to expect that, with gradual adjustments in the stance of monetary policy, economic activity will expand at a moderate pace and labor market conditions will remain strong.
Inflation on a 12-month basis is expected to remain somewhat below 2 percent in the near term but to stabilize around the Committee’s 2 percent objective over the medium term.
Near-term risks to the economic outlook appear roughly balanced, but the Committee is monitoring inflation developments closely.
In view of realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation, the Committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 percent.
In determining the timing and size of future adjustments to the target range for the federal funds rate, the Committee will assess realized and expected economic conditions relative to its objectives of maximum employment and 2 percent inflation.
The Committee expects that economic conditions will evolve in a manner that will warrant gradual increases in the federal funds rate; the federal funds rate is likely to remain, for some time, below levels that are expected to prevail in the longer run.
However, the actual path of the federal funds rate will depend on the economic outlook as informed by incoming data.
Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were Janet L. Yellen, Chair; William C. Dudley, Vice Chairman; Lael Brainard; Patrick Harker; Robert S. Kaplan; Jerome H. Powell; and Randal K. Quarles.

America’s long-running economic expansion

America’s long-running economic expansion

Wages are growing in real terms with some of the biggest gains going to low-paid workers.
The unemployment rate fell from a peak of 10% to 4.7% under Barack Obama and then to 4.1% on Mr Trump’s watch.
They warn that the stockmarket is dangerously overvalued and that America’s expansion, which is in its 102nd month, must soon falter.
And the maturity of the business cycle cuts both ways (see article).
America is not the only economy doing well.
Inflation has trended lower this year.
The proposed tax cuts are paid for by bigger budget deficits, a fiscal stimulus that is ill-timed given the business cycle.
Indeed, nothing Mr Trump does is likely to have a bigger effect on the economy than his choices to fill Fed vacancies.
Investment has also followed a surge in profits, reflecting stronger GDP growth, as it tends to.
America is not about to return to pre-2005 rates of productivity growth, whatever Mr Trump tweets.

U.S. retail sales surge; weekly jobless claims fall

U.S. retail sales surge; weekly jobless claims fall

FILE PHOTO: Shoppers look over items on sale at a Macy’s store in New York Thomson Reuters By Lucia Mutikani WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. retail sales increased more than expected in November as the holiday shopping season got off to a brisk start, pointing to sustained strength in the economy that could pave the way for further Federal Reserve interest rate hikes next year.
Data for October was revised to show sales gaining 0.5 percent instead of the previously reported 0.2 percent increase.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales increasing only 0.3 percent in November.
Last month’s increase in core retail sales suggested a strong pace of consumer spending in the fourth quarter.
Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, is being supported by steady wage gains as the labor market tightens.
Last week marked the 145th straight week that claims remained below the 300,000 threshold, which is associated with a strong labor market.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen told reporters on Wednesday that the central bank expected the “labor market to remain strong, with sustained job creation, ample opportunities for workers, and rising wages.”
Receipts at clothing stores rose 0.7 percent in November.
Sales at online retailers soared 2.5 percent last month.
Receipts at restaurants and bars gained 0.7 percent and sales at sporting goods and hobby stores shot up 0.9 percent.

Asian shares edge up, on track for weekly gain

Asian shares edge up, on track for weekly gain

Traders work on the floor of the NYSE in New York Thomson Reuters By Lisa Twaronite TOKYO (Reuters) – Asian shares edged higher on Friday, on track for weekly gains, though sentiment was kept in check by Wall Street’s weakness on concerns about the progress of U.S. tax reform.
On Thursday, U.S. retail sales increased more than expected in November and the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits dropped to near a 44-1/2-year low last week.
That pointed to sustained strength in the economy that could pave the way for further Federal Reserve interest rate hikes next year.
The Fed hiked interest rates on Wednesday but left its rate outlook for the coming years unchanged even as policymakers projected a short-term jump in U.S. economic growth from the Trump administration’s proposed tax cuts. “That keeps our expectations around three rate hikes for 2018.”
But the bill has yet to get needed support of some key Senators, and investors worry about downward pressure on stocks if the bill were to fail.
The euro was steady at $1.1779 .
U.S. crude added 0.1 percent, or 8 cents, to $57.12 a barrel, after gaining 0.8 percent overnight.
Brent crude futures had yet to trade on Friday after settling up 1.4 percent, or 87 cents, at $63.31 a barrel on Thursday.
(Reporting by Lisa Twaronite; Editing by Sam Holmes)

Michigan comp medical payments lower than most other states: Study

Michigan comp medical payments lower than most other states: Study

Workers compensation medical payments in Michigan are among the lowest in the country, according to a study by the Workers Compensation Research Institute.
The study released Thursday examined medical payments per workers compensation claim with more than seven days of lost time in Michigan compared with other states.
In Michigan, medical payments per claim were limited to 2.2% per year, due in part to lower prices paid for professional services as well as lower payments per service for hospital outpatient services, according to the study by Cambridge, Massachusetts-based WCRI.
Prices paid for services by nonhospital providers were 14% lower in Michigan than the median study state due to lower fee schedule rates.
In Michigan, the maximum workers comp fee schedule rate was 34% above the Medicare rate, which is lower than most other states, according to the study.
“Michigan had among the lowest medical payments per claim among the study states.
Lower-than-typical medical payments per claim in Michigan were a result of lower prices paid for professional services as well as lower payments per service for hospital outpatient services,” said Boston-based Ramona Tanabe, executive vice president and counsel at WCRI.

U.S. Government Bonds Rise After Soft Inflation, Fed Rate Increase

U.S. Government Bonds Rise After Soft Inflation, Fed Rate Increase

U.S. government bond prices rose Wednesday after data showed inflation pressures remain muted and the Federal Reserve raised short-term interest rates as expected.
The consumer-price index, which measures what Americans pay for everything from coffee to prescription drugs, rose 0.4% in November, in line with what economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected.
But core prices, which exclude the more volatile categories of food and energy, rose just 0.1% in November, missing economists’ estimates for a 0.2% increase. “Any time you have core inflation come in softer than expected, it invites a little bit of uncertainty as to how aggressively the Fed can move,” said Joe Tanious, investment strategist at Bessemer Trust.
Investors and traders had widely expected the central bank to announce an interest-rate increase.
Something that did surprise some analysts: the fact that two Fed committee members voted against a December rate increase.
The move represented the first double dissent at a 2017 Fed meeting, and could foreshadow more disagreement in 2018 over the pace of rate increases given a streak of soft inflation data, some analysts said. “I’m not sure what else they needed to see for a December hike,” said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade.
With measures including household spending, business investment and the unemployment rate pointing to the U.S. economy continuing to strengthen, Mr. Kinahan expects wage growth — something that has been muted this year — to pick up in 2018.
Write to Akane Otani at (END) Dow Jones Newswires December 13, 2017 15:58 ET (20:58 GMT)

Something doesn’t add up in Janet Yellen promise of higher wages

Something doesn’t add up in Janet Yellen promise of higher wages

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen holds a press conference in Washington Thomson Reuters The Federal Reserve’s expectation for additional wage growth is based on hopes and prayers, not hard evidence.
Wage growth for non-supervisory workers have actually declined over the last year, confounding the Fed’s reasoning for additional rate hikes, an ex-Bank of England official tells Business Insider.
So why is the the Fed hiking interest rates while wages are still struggling to rise, and are in fact declining for many workers?
Yellen’s answer was deeply dissatisfying, seemingly based more on faith than evidence: “Generally in a strong labor market where many firms are having difficulty finding qualified workers, we would expect just through normal demand and supply channels to see some upward pressure on wage growth over time,” she said. “And as the labor market has tightened we’ve seen some very gradual drift upward in wage gains,” Yellen continued.
It suggests officials really “don’t care about the data” despite their assurances that the path of monetary policy is strictly dependent on the economic figures.
Some investors and Fed officials are worried that a flat yield curve, meaning a bond market where long-term interest rates are falling close to their short-term counterparts, could be pointing to darker economic times ahead.
In interviews with Business Insider, both St. Louis Fed President James Bullard and Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Parker cited the flat curve and a potential inversion as key concerns. “We should just [maintain] a slow removal of accommodation to minimize the risk that that would happen,” Harker said. “This hike feeds critics who say the Fed is not as data dependent as it claims,” Michael Madowitz, economist at the Center for American Progress, told Business Insider.

Do Your Children Receive Health Coverage Through CHIP?

Do Your Children Receive Health Coverage Through CHIP?

Funding for the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP, has all but run out, and Congress has not agreed on a plan to renew it.
CHIP covers nearly nine million children whose parents earn too much for Medicaid, but not enough to afford other coverage.
The program costs the federal government roughly $14 billion a year.
Some states are warning residents that the program may end.
For instance, Colorado and Virginia recently sent letters to CHIP families, warning them that they may have to shut down the program soon if funding does not come through.
Other states are preparing to do the same.
New York Times reporters writing about health care are looking to talk to families whose children get health coverage through CHIP.
Your name and comments may be published, but your contact information will not.
A reporter or editor may follow up with you to hear more about your story.
If the program is suspended, do you have another health insurance option for your children, such as insurance through your job or the Affordable Care Act marketplace?

Get to Know Your Social Security
Social Security Disability

Get to Know Your Social Security

Social Security touches the lives of nearly every American.
We’ve been with you from day one, when your parents applied for your Social Security number, and we are with you from your first job through your retirement party and beyond.
For more than 80 years, Social Security has stayed true to its mission of providing financial protection for the American people and has served as one of the most successful anti-poverty programs in our nation’s history.
We encourage everyone to take steps toward their financial security.
Regardless of your age or place in life, now is the right time to start planning for a financially secure future for you and your family.
Everyone can benefit from our first step: Get to know your Social Security.
Along the way, you’ll see how your Social Security number opens many important doors throughout life, from making it easier to apply for student aid and open your first bank account to starting your first job and buying your first house.
You’ll also discover how your contributions to the Social Security system through FICA payroll taxes can make you eligible for important future benefits when you reach retirement age or if you become severely injured or ill. You’ll find how Social Security helps your family in the form of survivor benefits and how our Supplemental Security Income program assists disabled children and our most vulnerable adults.
We also encourage you to visit our website and set up your own my Social Security account today so you can begin taking steps toward financial security.
We encourage you to visit us at