Posts by Rick Newman
- Rick Newman at Yahoo Finance17 hrs ago
Imagine you’re a boss with a worker who tells you he was exposed to the deadly Ebola virus. What would you do?
An increasing number of businesses, universities and other types of organizations are beginning to ask that question, as the Ebola death toll rises and authorities warn the virus could infect 10,000 people per week by the end of the year globally. And the answers aren't simple ones. “A pandemic touches all parts of a business, potentially,” says Randy Nornes, executive vice president at consulting firm Aon Risk Solutions. “One person you can have out of the mix, but you don’t want all your people interacting and then have them all out.”
- Rick Newman at Yahoo Finance1 day ago
If the price of a car or an iPhone drops, that’s usually good news for consumers. So it might be puzzling that investors and economists suddenly seem freaked out about the possibility of deflation, or a sustained drop in the level of all prices, on average.
- Rick Newman at Yahoo Finance4 days ago
The middle class is struggling to get ahead, largely because incomes are stagnant. Many workers can’t get a meaningful raise, others earn less than they used to and too many people are still unemployed, earning nothing.
But some employees are getting handsome raises, and they’re not just CEOs and Silicon Valley developers. New data published by Moody’s Analytics shows that workers in a large subset of the labor force earned 4.5% more in the third quarter than they did a year earlier. That’s more than twice the average increase in wages tracked by the government. It’s also more than twice the rate of inflation, which means these workers, at least, are getting ahead.
Moody’s analyzed data provided by payroll processor ADP, covering 24 million employees—roughly one-fifth of all U.S. workers. “There are some signs of wage growth beginning to pick up,” Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, said in the video above. “People are starting to see pay increases that are above the rate of inflation, and the pay increases are accelerating.
Here’s a breakdown of wage gains by select characteristics:
- Rick Newman at Yahoo Finance5 days ago
Anybody who studies lists of best colleges is used to seeing Ivy League schools and a few other elite perennials filling the top 10. But in a new list of rankings meant to identify the best colleges for lower-income students, the Ivies are closer to the bottom than the top.
Montana Tech is the No. 1 school in a new “social mobility index” generated by CollegeNet, a higher-education technology company, and Payscale, a compensation-data firm. The SMI rankings are meant to highlight schools that do the best job of helping disadvantaged students graduate with the ability to start a career free of crushing levels of debt. Five criteria determine the SMI rankings: tuition, percentage of the student body from low-income households, graduation rate, salaries of grads once they start working, and the size of each school’s endowment. Here are the top and bottom 10:
- Rick Newman at Yahoo Finance6 days ago
It’s as predictable as birds soiling your windshield: When gas prices fall, Americans buy bigger cars.
Falling gas prices are generally good news for consumers, since less money going into the tank means more money for other stuff. If gas prices fall by 50 cents per gallon and stay there for a year, the typical consumer’s disposable income rises by 1%, according to forecasting firm IHS. For somebody earning $50,000, that’s an extra $500. Spending rises by nearly as much, which helps the overall economy.
Drivers have been getting this type of break lately. Gas prices at the pump have fallen from about $3.75 per gallon in June to about $3.20 today. They’re below $3 in at least six states, according to the American Automobile Association, and pump prices are likely to fall further as the global oil market works off a glut that could last for months.
There’s a dark side to cheap gas, however, because falling fuel prices—which usually don’t last—lead many car buyers to purchase bigger, thirstier vehicles—which is a long-term commitment.
- Rick Newman at Yahoo Finance7 days ago
President Obama should get some credit for pulling the U.S. economy out of a nosedive in 2009 and ending a brutal recession before it became a depression. But voters are feeling punitive and they’re inclined to believe Obama has flubbed the economy, which could cost Democrats the Senate in the midterm elections just a few weeks away.
So why can’t Obama get a break on the economy?
Comparing his record with the four other post-war presidents who served two full terms reveals the answer. Here are the changes for five key indicators during the presidencies of Eisenhower, Reagan, Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama, from the first month of their presidency until October of the sixth year, right before the midterms:
Obama’s record is middling on job creation, lowering the unemployment rate and overall GDP growth. Considering that the economy was in the midst of the worst downturn since the 1930s when he took office, those numbers look pretty good.
- Rick Newman at Yahoo Finance8 days ago
American health officials promise Ebola will never become an epidemic in the United States. But it could end up a national scourge in another way: by forcing up the price of chocolate.
The two largest producers of cocoa beans—the magic ingredient that makes chocolate chocolate—are Ivory Coast (also known as Côte d’Ivoire) and Ghana, which combined provide about 60% of the world's supply. Neither country is suffering an Ebola outbreak, but they’re in the same part of West Africa that includes Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, which are basically ground zero for the killer virus that has claimed more than 4,000 lives so far. Nigeria, which accounts for another 6% of the world’s cocoa beans, has had roughly two dozen confirmed cases of Ebola inside its borders.
- Rick Newman at Yahoo Finance11 days ago
This just in from the White House: President Obama has helped everybody, and wants to keep helping. This week’s beneficiary: Millennials.
The White House just published a paper highlighting “15 economic facts about millennials." The report doesn’t reveal much we don’t already know about millennials, but it does pull together the whole range of challenges they face in one concise summary: There aren’t enough good jobs for young workers. Student debt is out of control. A weak economy is forcing millennials to delay many important life decisions, such as buying a home, getting married and having kids.
The report walks a line that’s becoming familiar in the president’s stump speeches: Obama has championed several policies he maintains have directly helped these young Americans (generally aged from 15 to 35, or so). Among them: the Affordable Care Act, lower interest rates on student loans and fair-pay legislation. But there’s still a lot more that needs to be done.
- Rick Newman at Yahoo Finance13 days ago
When foreign hackers penetrated systems at J.P.Morgan Chase (JPM) over the summer, the White House grew alarmed and the Pentagon treated it as a national security incident. When the news became public, however, consumers were interested in … just about anything else.
Serious electronic break-ins have become a top concern for CEOs and a major liability for companies that hold consumer data or any other digital information that might be valuable. Yet consumers seem to have shrugged off a wave of unprecedented attacks against U.S. companies and even become complacent as the attacks have intensified and cybercrime has become commonplace.
- Rick Newman at Yahoo Finance13 days ago
How far should women go to make sure they’re paid on a par with men?
Sarah Silverman is willing to go pretty far. In an edgy new public-service video, the comedian (comedienne?) prepares to undergo a sex-change operation so she could get paid more. “I’m becoming a dude,” Silverman explains. “This may be an extreme solution for some women. That’s why we’re trying to raise the trillions of dollars the rest of you ladies will be cheated out of during your careers.” (The video, which includes Silverman’s trademark raunchy language and themes, can be viewed at the equalpaybackproject.com.)