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Gary Cohn on Jobs Report, Tax Reform, Corporate Taxes

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Friday’s jobs report was mostly steady. That’s at least one thing to breathe a sigh of relief about, as you’re paying through the nose in overdraft fees and racking up debt to spend enough for those sweet, sweet credit card rewards.

If all that sparks an encroaching sense of dread, go take a 17-day vacation, if you can swing it. —Megan Hess

Who’s hiring in America — and who’s not. U.S. employers added 209,000 jobs in July, and the nation’s unemployment rate ticked down to 4.3 percent, according to data released Friday by the Labor Department. Meanwhile, average hourly pay for workers rose 2.5 percent from a year earlier, to $26.36 from $25.71. Here are the industries with the highest and lowest rates of employment growth for the most recent month.

Martin Shkreli was convicted of fraud. The "pharma bro," notorious for raising the price of a potentially life-saving drug by 5,000 percent, was found guilty of defrauding investors in two hedge funds and in Retrophin, a pharmaceutical company he co-founded. He is now almost certain to go to prison. Shkreli faces as long as 20 years behind bars, although he’s likely to serve much less. 

Jeff Sessions is stepping up efforts to investigate and prosecute leaks of classified information, with help from a new counterintelligence unit at the FBI, working to address a top concern of President Trump. “We are taking a stand,” Sessions said Friday at a news conference alongside Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats. “This culture of leaking must stop.”

Credit card rewards are playing harder to get. To get sweeter perks on premium cards like the new Citi Prestige or the Chase Sapphire Reserve, cardholders need to spend a lot more. A couple thousand dollars a month is no problem for the affluent customers who are the traditional audience for these cards, but it’s a much heavier lift for younger customers who have recently been flocking to them.

Adults without kids are obsessed with Disney cruises. Industry insiders estimate about a fifth of adult passengers come on board the ships without children, and they are a growing presence, especially on sailings in mid-September when children are recently back in school. Who’s to judge whether they come for the upscale spas and bars or the Disney-centric musicals?

Bank overdraft fees are here to stay. This despised bank fee began decades ago as a simple service for customers without calculators: If you didn’t have enough money to cover a check, your bank saved you from bouncing it. Overdraft fees on checking accounts have risen since the recession and are now the leading fee category in all non-interest income. Despite reforms and new technology, one economist predicts fees could produce an annual $40 billion in revenue by 2020 across banks, thrifts, and credit unions.

Ford’s Mustang has a problem: the new Mustang. For 52 years, the car has just been getting better, which puts Ford in a bit of a hard place. With a new and improved Mustang just months away, buyers for the incumbent model have vanished. U.S. sales have plummeted 30 percent, to just 50,800, through July of this year. In June, it was outsold by the Dodge Challenger, something that has happened only one other time in the past five years.

A Ford Motor Co. Mustang vehicle is displayed at a media event ahead of the 16th Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition (Auto Shanghai 2015) in Shanghai, China, on Saturday, April 18, 2015. The Auto Shanghai 2015 will be held April 22-29.
Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi

 

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