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US Employers Add 528,000 Jobs, Defy Recession Fears

528K jobs added in July 2022Defying anxiety about a possible recession and raging inflation, America’s employers added a stunning 528,000 jobs last month, restoring all the jobs lost in the coronavirus recession. Unemployment fell to 3.5%, lowest since the pandemic struck in early 2020.

July’s job creation was up from 398,000 in June and the most since February.

The red-hot jobs numbers from the Labor Department on Friday arrive amid a growing consensus that the U.S. economy is losing momentum. The U.S. economy shrank in the first two quarters of 2022 — an informal definition of recession. But most economists believe the strong jobs market has kept the economy from slipping into a downturn.

Fed hikes interest rates another 75 basis points as recession warnings flash

Federal ReserveThe Federal Reserve announced another steep interest rate hike Wednesday, ramping up its efforts to bring inflation down from four-decade highs.

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the panel of Fed officials responsible for monetary policy, said Wednesday it would boost the central bank’s baseline interest rate by 0.75 percentage points to a range of 2.25 to 2.5 percent.

The Fed has now hiked interest rates by 75 basis points twice over the past two months, a remarkably fast increase that is likely to slow the economy. All 12 voting members of the FOMC supported the rate hike.

Fed officials hinted at another 75 basis point rate hike for weeks since the June FOMC meeting. The bank raised rates last month by 0.75 percentage points for the first time since 1994 after inflation surged higher in May than economists expected.

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Drug company AbbVie used Trump tax law to shield profits, Senate report finds

AbbVie used Trump tax laws to hide profits

Pharmaceutical giant AbbVie generates almost all of its sales in the United States but has allegedly exploited former President Trump’s tax law to shield much of its sales from taxes, according to an interim report released Thursday by  Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee.

The report details how loopholes in the 2017 tax law have allowed AbbVie, a large multinational corporation headquartered in the U.S., to substantially shrink its tax burden and stash profits overseas to avoid paying taxes on prescription drug sales.

The report comes as Democrats are looking to roll back those changes and remove incentives for corporations to use overseas tax shelters.

“It is imperative that Congress enact needed international tax reforms that would close loopholes that allow drug companies like AbbVie to stash their profits in tax havens,” committee staff wrote in the report.

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Netflix lays off 300 employees in second round of mass job cuts

Netflix lays off 300

Netflix has laid off 300 employees in a second round of layoffs after letting go 150 workers last month as the company tries to cut costs amid a downturn in revenue growth.

A Netflix spokesperson confirmed the layoffs to The Hill on Thursday, saying the company is continuing to “significantly” invest in its business but needed to make the move to ensure costs are growing in line with the slower revenue growth.

“We are so grateful for everything they have done for Netflix and are working hard to support them through this difficult transition,” the spokesperson said of the laid off employees in a statement.

In April, Netflix reported its first loss in subscribers since October 2011, causing its stock to drop by 23 percent. The company lost 200,000 subscribers during the first quarter of 2022.

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How Fed's bigger, faster rate hikes will affect your credit card, mortgage, savings rates

Fed raises ratesThe Federal Reserve is expected Wednesday afternoon to announce its largest interest rate hike since 1994 — a bigger increase than it had previously signaled and a sign that the central bank is struggling to restrain stubbornly high inflation.

The central bank is considered likely to raise its benchmark short-term rate by three-quarters of a percentage point, far larger than the typical quarter-point increase, to a range of 1.5% to 1.75%. It will also likely forecast additional large rate hikes through the end of the year.

A series of sizeable increases would heighten borrowing costs for consumers and businesses, likely leading to an economic slowdown and raising the risk of a recession. The Fed's previous rate hikes have already had the effect of raising mortgage rates roughly 2 percentage points since the year began and have slowed home sales.

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A big 32-hour workweek test is underway. Supporters think it could help productivity

Four day work week under consideration

For the next six months, thousands of people across the U.K. will be working 32 hours a week in the largest four-day workweek pilot the world has ever seen.

The experiment includes more than 3,300 people across 70 companies in industries ranging from health care to local fish and chip shops. It's being put on by 4 Day Week Global, the 4 Day Week Campaign, the U.K.-based think tank Autonomy, and researchers at Cambridge University, Oxford University and Boston College.

The idea is pretty simple. Workers make the same amount of money they would for a 40-hour workweek, but they only work 80% of the time. In exchange for fewer hours, workers commit to maintaining the productivity they would in a five-day workweek.

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Millionaires join Davos protests, demanding ‘tax us now’

Millionaires demand to be taxed at Davos

A group of millionaires have joined protests against the World Economic Forum gathering of the business and political elite in Davos, Switzerland, demanding that governments “tax us now” to tackle the burgeoning gulf between rich and poor.

The unlikely protesters, who describe themselves as “patriotic millionaires”, called on world leaders attending the annual conference on Sunday to immediately introduce fresh taxes on the wealthy in order to tackle the “cost of living scandal playing out in multiple nations around the world”.

The charity Oxfam recently said rising inequality could push as many as 263 million more people into extreme poverty in 2022, reversing decades of progress.

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