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Executive Leadership Briefing Turbine Labs

    • News

Don't be the last to know. Stay informed on the day's top headlines, before you finish your morning cup of coffee. Turbine Labs’ Daily 3-minute "Executive Leadership Briefing" singles out the most impactful economic, business, and global headlines. Powered by our AI platform, you are guaranteed essential information to start your day.

Prefer to read your headlines? Subscribe to the daily executive briefing, delivered straight to your inbox: https://www.turbinelabs.com/executive-leadership-briefing

Curious about a different topic? Learn more about our products and services at: https://turbinelabs.com/

    Labor market defies expectations as jobs surge - August 5, 2022

    Labor market defies expectations as jobs surge - August 5, 2022

    The U.S. Labor Department reported a jobs surge with employers adding 528,000 jobs in July, shrugging off rising interest rates and soaring inflation. Although U.S. jobless claims rose last week in a potential sign of a weakening labor market, overall unemployment fell from 3.6% to 3.5%. While some economists predicted the unemployment rate will increase for some time going forward, the labor market defied expectations in a sign of resiliency. However, the economic backdrop of the jobs report is less rosy with drops in gross domestic product reported for the past two quarters.
    The number of hungry Americans and the cost to feed them has spiked, according to Feeding America, one of the nation’s largest food bank networks. The president of the organization said food banks have come under inflationary pressure and saw a drop in donations as demand for their services increased. Circumstances for food banks are unlikely to improve in the short term as experts warned that many Americans are having to decide whether to pay for gas, bills or food rather than being able to afford all three.
    The CFPB announced an investigation into Goldman Sachs’ credit-card business, particularly in relation to bill and refund processing and how the company reports information to credit bureaus. The news follows CEO David Solomon guiding the bank’s pivot towards consumer finance in an effort to diversify revenue sources. The bank said it is cooperating with investigators, although the investigation poses a potential problem for the bank’s six-year-old consumer financial arm which is responsible for the Apple Card. The CFPB has the power to levy millions of dollars in fines and order compensation for affected consumers.
    The Bank of England predicted the UK will likely fall into a recession this year as the economy is expected to shrink until the end of 2023. The prediction came as the central bank announced its largest interest rate hike since 1995 in a testament to the urgency of the financial situation. Analysts called the bank’s dour forecast a “horror show,” while the central bank’s governor noted that although interest rate hikes tend to hurt poor citizens more, its actions are necessary to prevent worse outcomes later on.
    The U.S. Department of Transportation said it is considering a voucher system to help travelers who cancel flights because of COVID-19. The update to current airline refund and credit rules would allow travelers more flexibility in rescheduling and seeking recourse after canceling a flight, ultimately protecting “the rights of travelers,” according to Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. The news comes as workers in the airline industry shared stories of chaos at airports during a summer travel season characterized by mass delays.
    CONTENT FACTS.
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    • 3 min
    Gas prices drop to nearly $4 per gallon - August 4, 2022

    Gas prices drop to nearly $4 per gallon - August 4, 2022

    High costs for transporting goods overseas and general supply chain woes are expected to continue longer than anticipated as shipping giant Maersk raised its 2022 profit guidance for a second time. The company beat its quarterly expectations but reduced its expectations for global container volume growth for the year. The company, considered by some to be a barometer for global trade, said it expects trade to gradually normalize in the fourth quarter but COVID-19 lockdowns and the invasion of Ukraine have worsened stockpile buildups and congested shipping routes amid weak demand for a number of products.
    Applications for mortgages in the U.S. saw a surge last week with mortgage demand increasing 1.2%. The rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage reached its biggest weekly decline since 2020, although activity in the sector is still relatively low. While the dip in rates caused a small increase in mortgage activity, experts warned that home prices have not been falling, although some observers said low mortgage rates and an increase in inventory could invite a rebound in purchases.
    Walmart laid off more than 100 corporate employees as part of a restructuring effort instituted after the company reduced its profit forecast last week. The U.S.’s largest employer said its restructuring measures will also create new roles as the company tries to adjust to the changing habits of shoppers. The layoffs followed similar announcements from companies such as Shopify and Robinhood, with the latter succumbing to pressure from both falling revenues and fines issued by government authorities. Observers said the surge in layoffs could signal an overall slowdown in the job market.
    The average price of U.S. gas fell to almost $4 per gallon after a steady decline in prices over 50 days. Industry analysts attributed the dip to reduced oil prices, recession fears and a reduction in driving after gas prices hit an average of $5 per gallon. The drop in price has been welcomed by many Americans and President Joe Biden’s administration noted the decline was the fastest seen in a decade.
    Cryptocurrency companies Nomad and Solana were struck by back-to-back cyberattacks with losses in the millions reported for the victims. More than 7,000 Solana wallets were hit by the attack while Nomad, a provider of cryptocurrency infrastructure, saw its ecosystem slowly drained in batches. The attacks drew further attention to the vulnerability of cryptocurrency assets and raised calls for further regulation within the industry. Experts warned that education among participants in the crypto ecosystem is needed to prevent and mitigate damage from attacks.
    CONTENT FACTS.
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    • 3 min
    Equifax sent millions of inaccurate credit scores to lenders - August 3, 2022

    Equifax sent millions of inaccurate credit scores to lenders - August 3, 2022

    The number of job openings dropped to its lowest level since September, suggesting the labor shortage may be heading towards its end. The decline was mainly attributed to hiring in the retail and wholesale trade sectors, although the number of workers quitting their jobs remained mostly static. While the dip represented a significant pullback in job openings, observers noted there were still roughly 1.8 jobs per worker, and some pointed out the phenomenon may be due to the economy slowing down rather than a decrease in demand for workers.
    Millions of inaccurate credit scores were sent to lenders by credit reporting agency Equifax according to sources familiar with the matter. The agency blamed a computer error for the erroneous credit scores being sent for consumers applying for mortgages, auto loans and credit cards from mid-March through early April this year. While the error represents another potential scandal for the company, which dominated headlines years ago due to a massive data breach, Equifax’s CEO said the impact is likely to be negligible.
    Rideshare giant Uber reported positive cash flow for the first time in the company’s history due to an overall increase in demand and more reliance on the company’s food delivery service. The company saw a 24% increase in year-over-year rides and the company’s CEO said confidence is high that the company will stand apart from competitors in the event of economic troubles. Uber’s CEO also noted that the shift in consumer spending from retail to services has benefited the company’s prospects. The news comes even as inflation and gas prices remain a challenge for many of those in the transportation industry.
    Retailers are opening stores despite economic pressure brought on by fears of a recession according to the owners of some of the largest shopping malls in the U.S. gains both in occupancy and cash flow are expected to continue with over 4,000 store openings reported so far this year compared to just under 2,000 closings. Consumers are increasingly shifting spending from online stores to brick-and-mortar locations according to economists, with investors buying into the shopping center space despite warnings of an incoming wave of retail bankruptcies. Retail expansion into the physical space is not expected to slow down as tenants presently enjoy below-market rates for retail space.
    The U.S. said companies that receive funding from its new $52 billion Chips and Science Act will be required to pull back from the production of advanced chips in China in an effort to combat Chinese expansion. While limiting the shipment of memory chip-making equipment could harm companies from South Korea such as Samsung Electronics, policymakers maintain such moves are necessary to protect U.S. semiconductor manufacturing. The move comes at a time of heightened tensions between the nations as U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi touched down in Taiwan on Tuesday, eliciting stark warnings and demonstrations of force from China.
    CONTENT FACTS.
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    • 3 min
    Rise in US home prices cooling as interest rates ratchet up - August 2, 2022

    Rise in US home prices cooling as interest rates ratchet up - August 2, 2022

    The rising costs of homes cooled in June due largely to rising interest rates, according to real estate analytics company Black Knight. The variance between supply and demand left price gains in a favorable position, although overall home prices are not expected to fall nationally. The firm noted that demand has dropped due to economic circumstances on many buyers’ minds. Renters are likely to experience persistently high rents as landlords kept prices up overall, with many tenants left unsure whether braving the prices or trying to purchase a home is the better financial choice.
    More than 50 beverage products were recalled over fears of bacterial contamination, according to manufacturer Lyon Magnus. Products including Oatly, Stumptown Coffee and Premier Protein were listed among the beverages that may have been contaminated, but no reports of illnesses or complaints have surfaced yet. The announcement closely followed the recall of Banana Boat sunscreen products by Edgewell Personal Care due to traces of a carcinogenic substance. Recalls can damage company reputations and lead to lawsuits, with Neutrogena and Revive Superfoods targeted by legal action recently. Despite the threat posed by legal repercussions, large companies tend to easily weather recall challenges compared to small businesses.
    Starbucks Workers United requested the coffee company extend wage hikes and expanded benefits originally announced for nonunionized stores to unionized workers without engaging in the usual bargaining process. The company responded to the union’s request by stating that the law prohibits it from expanding benefits or wages without engaging in bargaining. Labor lawyers said the disagreement may have to be arbitrated by the National Labor Relations Board with the dispute framed by a significant increase in union activity within the last year, according to the agency.
    A number of workers involved with the cryptocurrency platform Forsage were charged by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for attempting to defraud investors of more than $300 million. The companies’ founders were listed among those charged. The agency alleged they used money from new investors to pay back previous investors in a Ponzi scheme the SEC said was fiercely marketed and deployed on a massive scale. The charges come as the blockchain industry suffers from a reputation of being plagued by scams and leaves legitimate companies with a heavy lift in order to recruit new users.
    Thousands of workers engaged in the world’s biggest trial of a four-day workweek in the UK during the past eight weeks with participants reporting improvements in their quality of life and work. Some studies have shown support for a reduced workweek is strong among American workers and demonstrated an increase in productivity and happiness as a result. However, participants in previous studies reported higher stress levels when the four-day workweek was instituted despite the rise in happiness.
    CONTENT FACTS.
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    • 3 min
    Chinese manufacturing shrinks amid economic slowdown - August 1, 2022

    Chinese manufacturing shrinks amid economic slowdown - August 1, 2022

    Household spending has grown increasingly strained, suggesting U.S. consumer spending power has weakened after weathering challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumer confidence in the economy has lowered despite increased spending on services and traveling, with the news coming as consumers spent more in June even as inflation has accelerated in recent months. While earnings reported by retailers such as Walmart painted a gloomy picture for predictions of consumer spending power, reports from American Express suggested spending has shifted to other areas rather than dropped altogether.
    Google announced a new initiative eliciting feedback from employees on where to focus on efficiency improvements. The “Simplicity Sprint” effort was presented as a solution to remedy what the company’s CEO says is a lack of productivity following lower-than-expected earnings and ahead of an expected tougher economy. The initiative comes as a number of CEOs have taken a concerned tone about the economy as Meta CEO Mark Zuckerburg emphasized the impact the economic downturn is having on the company’s ad business, an industry where Google is a chief player.
    Chinese factory activity shrank in July due to a sluggish global economy and disruptions from COVID-19. Observers noted that weak demand and strict pandemic restrictions drove the drop and suggested the nation is far from achieving post-pandemic normalcy. China’s Xinhua News Agency warned the nation’s economic recovery is not sound as the contraction in manufacturing has been coupled with a national mortgage revolt and drop in home purchases. China’s manufacturing dip, which has brought on a drop in oil prices, is notable given the country’s status as “the world’s factory” and has led some economists to predict the country faces challenges in achieving growth in the third quarter.
    Devastating floods have knocked out power and left at least 28 people dead in Kentucky with the state preparing for more rain this week. Gov. Andy Beshear warned residents to prepare for further challenges as search and rescue efforts continued across a number of counties. Some officials called the flash floods exceptional after the state recently suffered from natural disasters such as tornadoes. Many residents have expressed concern over what their next steps will be with some having no insurance coverage to help fund the rebuilding of their lives.
    The trial to block the merger of publishing giants Simon and Schuster and Penguin Random House has begun. Supporters of the suit have alleged the merger would harm both consumers and workers. The Department of Justice has argued the merger could prevent many writers from making a living in the industry by lowering advances and may reduce the variety of books published in the U.S. While the suit is in line with the Biden administration’s efforts to reduce corporate consolidation, lawyers defending Penguin Random House argued the government has not found any evidence the merger will actually harm consumers.
    CONTENT FACTS.
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    • 3 min
    Amazon makes largest healthcare acquisition yet - July 22, 2022

    Amazon makes largest healthcare acquisition yet - July 22, 2022

    Amazon announced it will buy primary care company One Medical for $3.49 billion in cash, taking the biggest step yet toward building a comprehensive healthcare business. The deal will give Amazon relationships with clinics in major cities and hundreds of thousands of patients and their employers, building on the company’s online pharmacy and new telehealth services. Experts say the venture will likely be one of the most difficult expansions in the company’s history, citing fierce competition from rivals, complex industry regulations and the challenge in recruiting quality physicians.
    The Democratic mayors of New York and Washington are asking the Biden administration to help with what they say is a surge of migrants from border states. The states of Texas and Arizona paid to send more than 6,000 migrants to the nation’s capital over the last several months in an effort to put the president on notice about border enforcement. The dispute came in advance of the Supreme Court's decision on Thursday to refuse the Biden administration’s request to restore its plan on immigration enforcement that deports people in the country illegally who pose the greatest public safety risk.
    The mayor of Portland on Thursday issued an emergency declaration to address a spike in gun violence amid the continuing rise in post-pandemic violent crime. The Biden administration has crafted a $37 billion proposal to fight and prevent the rise in crime, which is affecting nearly every major city in the U.S. Local law enforcement has been particularly on edge this summer, bracing for the seasonal onslaught of crime that comes with warm weather in addition to a growing sense of lawlessness in big cities.
    The return to brick and mortar shopping now threatens to upend the e-commerce warehouse system, leaving empty storage spaces that are draining the profits of online-only retailers and hitting the stocks of commercial real estate. Amazon, responsible for about 15% of industrial space net absorption in the U.S. last year, has closed or canceled the opening of 28 delivery hubs or fulfillment centers and delayed the opening of another 15 to save on labor costs. While online shopping has so far not affected the overall occupancy rates of warehouses, many company executives may grow more cautious about taking on new space.
    The monarch butterfly was added to the endangered species list on Thursday, with estimates that the population in North America has declined up to 72% in the last 10 years. Conservationists say they are worried about the rapid rate of loss, driven by loss of habitat, increased use of herbicides and pesticides for agriculture, and climate change.
    CONTENT FACTS.
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    • 3 min

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