From data clarity comes policy clarity. While the December jobs report shows that labor market performance remains steady, there are significant concerns that are not going to abate on their own. It was a good year for those seeking work. Employers added a net 2.2 million new jobs to their payrolls. This is slower than the 2.7 million added in 2015 and the 3 million added in 2014. It is nonetheless an encouraging performance given that the employment recovery began in earnest six years ago and has been confronting sluggish and volatile economic growth.
In a potentially brighter sign for a slow-growing, stressed U.S. manufacturing sector, the Institute for Supply Management reported that its widely followed Purchasing Managers' Index rose to a two-year high in December. This critical leading index of manufacturing growth has been strengthening consistently since September even as actual manufacturing output data remain distressingly weak, preventing the U.S. factory sector from achieving a full recovery from the Great Recession.
Global Economy, Money & Finance, Currency, Government Finance, Inflation
For only the second time in a decade and the first time in a year, the Federal Open Market Committee, the policymaking body of the Federal Reserve, has elected to increase the target range for its influential federal funds rate by 25 basis points to 0.50% to 0.75%.
In Villarreal,the Court of Appeals reversed a 2015 decision of a three-judge panel of the court. A majority of the full court reached an opposite result from the panel and determined that the governing provision of the ADEA barring disparate impact age discrimination by employers does not permit job applicants to bring claims of age discrimination under the ADEA against prospective employers. Disparate impact claims would arise in situations where an employer’s policies and procedures lack a discriminatory intent and are purportedly neutral on their face, but nevertheless have a discriminatory effect.
Nearly half of manufacturing executives lack confidence their assets are protected from external threats, according to a new study from Deloitte and the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI) on Cyber Risk in Advanced Manufacturing. Study results indicate 40% of manufacturing companies were affected by cyber incidents in the past 12 months, and 38% of those impacted indicated cyber breaches resulted in damages in excess of $1 million.
One day in mid-October, more than 1,200 U.S. websites were taken down by a massive botnet attack launched through hacked Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as home Wi-Fi routers and CCTV cameras. There doesn’t seem to have been a political or criminal motive for the assault. Rather, it was more like some sophisticated hackers taking a joyride at the expense of millions of Americans.
Global Economy, Competitiveness, Foreign Trade, Government Policy
For a few years now, I’ve been contributing to Judy Dempsey’s “Judy Asks” feature over at Carnegie Europe, where she poses questions on international topics to various experts. Here are links to some of the questions I’ve answered this year—click through to read my responses and those of other experts, including from Johns Hopkins, the Council on Foreign Relations, The Economist, and the Financial Times.
Corporate Affairs, Corporate Social Responsibility, Sustainability, Sustainable Business Practices, Risk & Compliance, Environmental Management, Environmental Resource Management, Energy Management
Last year the world waited to see if the hype surrounding COP21 in Paris would produce a global commitment between heads of state to help stem the tide of rising temperatures. Since that historic week in Paris, 86 of the 197 countries who are party to the newly produced Paris Agreement have achieved ratification.
Risk & Compliance, Corporate Security, Travel Security, Risk Management, Business Continuity Planning, Business Interruption Planning, Crisis Management
While the events most often planned for are site- or natural disaster–related, businesses should also include workplace violence, terrorism, and cyberattacks in their business preparedness efforts. This is especially true given the nature of black swan events as those that (1) take place outside of regular expectations, (2) carry an extreme impact, and (3) seem obvious, explainable, and predictable in hindsight.