Economy & Business

Business news

Saudi Arabia lifts ban on movie theaters

21 hours ago

The announcement, made today, ends a ban that dates back to the 1980s. Saudis will be able to go out to the movies as soon as next year. It’s all part of a push by the Saudi royal family to diversify the economy away from oil.

President Donald Trump is killing regulations with a caveat — many are already dead. In a meeting with House Republicans last month, the president said: “In the history of our country, no president, during their entire term, has cut more regulations than we’ve cut." But according to Alan Levin of Bloomberg, the president is exaggerating.

Bringing regulation to cryptocurrency

21 hours ago

Bitcoin’s wild ride is getting even wilder. Yesterday saw the launch of bitcoin futures, trading on the Chicago Board Options Exchange. Interest was so high it nearly crashed the CBOE website and the exchange briefly halted trading a couple of times after the price jumped erratically. So, we’ve all heard bitcoin is volatile, risky, maybe a bubble. So why then the demand for bitcoin futures? 

One of the things we do at the Indicator is steal stuff we like from other podcasts. Today, we're stealing from Tyler Cowen. He's an economist and public intellectual who has his own podcast (of course).

It's an interview show, and in the middle of every episode Tyler does this thing we love: He goes through a list of subjects and asks the guest to say whether each subject is overrated or underrated, and to explain why.

Medical school students today are trained to diagnose complicated diseases, but they are rarely trained to engineer the solutions themselves. To change that, soon Texas A&M University will start training doctors and nurses to also be engineers.

Throughout history, being on the receiving end of anything involving cavitation, a miniscule underwater implosion, has been bad news. Millions of years before humans discovered cavitation — and promptly began avoiding it, given its tendency to chew up machinery — the phenomenon has provided the shockwave and awe behind a punch so ridiculously violent that it's made the mantis shrimp a honey badger-esque Internet mascot.

Celebrity chef Mario Batali is stepping aside from directing his restaurants and taking leave from his TV cooking show following reports of sexual misconduct over a 20-year period.

The move was apparently spurred by a report published Monday morning on the dining and food website Eater, in which four women allege that Batali touched them inappropriately:

A recent ribbon cutting in downtown Denver gave a snapshot of electric vehicle charging in the U.S.

The event, dubbed “Ride into the Future,” brought in several car companies with EVs for people to test drive around the block. There were electric bikes too. But, the real highlight was the unveiling of the first electric car fast charger in Denver’s LoDo neighborhood.

While there are already more than 150 charges citywide, Cindy Patton, who runs parking and mobility services for the City of Denver, said the new installation is a win against climate change. 

Another 228,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy last month. The unemployment rate stayed steady at 4.1 percent — a 17-year low. Nearly a decade after the Great Recession, the U.S. economy is almost where it was before the 2008 economic crisis. Almost.

Hourly wages are still low — growing at just 2.5 percent over the last year. And more than 4.8 million people work part-time jobs, despite wanting and being able to work full-time.

Three deals of acquisitions and investments that were rumored over the past week, and that are all now confirmed, have something in common — none of them involve companies owned by major record labels. All involve technology companies or insurrectionists to entrenched industry leaders. One noted below, Tencent, holds such power in its home country that all three major labels agreed to let it broker their deals in that country.

12/11/2017: Janet Yellen's last Fed meeting

Dec 11, 2017

(Markets Edition) The Fed will likely raise interest rates before the end of 2017, the third increase this year. Julia Coronado, founder of MacroPolicy Perspectives, stopped by to discuss what else we should expect from the upcoming Fed meeting, given that it'll be Janet Yellen's last as the chair. Afterwards, we'll talk about Volkswagen's surprising statement that Germany should phase out diesel subsidies, then look at how one rural Alaska village is establishing a reindeer herd to improve the community's diet and boost its economy.

'Tis the season for ugly sweaters, festive lights, and presents — at least, when you're home. Things can get a little confusing when all that holiday stuff makes the jump to your workplace. Is it appropriate to get your co-workers holiday gifts, even if you're not sure they celebrate the holidays? Or what about the infamous office party — should you really let loose, or maybe go light on the spiked eggnog?

Lyft is unveiling a new education program for drivers, offering access to discounted GED and college courses online. The move is an interesting experiment in the gig economy, where a growing class of workers receive zero benefits from a boss and yet competition for their time is fierce.

Many Lyft drivers see their work for the company as a stopgap measure, a flexible way to make money while they try to build a career.

Most credit card users these days want something back – like points, miles or money.

“People of all shapes and sizes, all income levels, they all prefer cash back for their credit card rewards,” said Matt Schulz, with Creditcards.com. He said store cards can’t compete with perks from cards like Visa and American Express, which are in an arms race of rewards.

A big date on the economic calendar this week: the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee meeting Dec. 12 and 13. We’ll find out Wednesday whether it’s raising short-term interest rates again. An important piece of the economic puzzle landed on today with the November jobs report. It showed unemployment at a low 4.1 percent and middling wage growth — just 2.5 percent year-over-year.

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