Business News at a Glance
Posted January 5, 2018 9:59 p.m. EST
U.S. Job Market’s Strength Is Allowing More to Share in Pay Gains
The United States economy is beginning to benefit some American workers who have been most in need of relief. That picture was reinforced by a report Friday from the Labor Department, which showed an increase of 148,000 jobs last month. The figure fell short of economists’ expectations, but some of the most impressive job gains were in blue-collar and service industries that pay a decent salary. Overall, average hourly earnings were 2.5 percent higher in December compared with the year before. But other data shows that wages have increased most for the least-educated workers and for people in industries that are generally low-paying.
U.S. and South Korea Begins Trade Talks as Tension Rises
The Trump administration and South Korean officials met in Washington on Friday to begin formally renegotiating a free-trade pact that has served as a source of conflict between the two allies. The meeting came at a moment of heightened tension on the Korean Peninsula and unease in the broader region. Over a series of meetings in the coming months, U.S. negotiators hope to further open Korean markets to U.S. cars and to smooth irritants in the trading relationship. The White House’s overarching goal is to reduce the U.S. trade deficit, which was $17 billion in 2016.
Big Tech to Join Legal Fight Against Net Neutrality Repeal
An industry group representing the country’s biggest technology companies said Friday that it planned to join a looming legal fight against the Federal Communications Commission over its repeal of net neutrality rules. In its announcement, the Internet Association made clear for the first time that Facebook, Google, Netflix and other large tech firms would put their reputations and financial clout behind the challenge. Lawsuits seeking to block the commission’s new policy are expected in the weeks ahead. The rules will let internet service providers block online content, or charge websites for faster delivery to consumers, by rolling back protections adopted in 2015.
Uber Shareholders Including Kalanick Loosen Grip With Sales of Stock
Several of Uber’s early investors and company leaders are beginning to loosen their grip on the ride-hailing company — and are set to reap big riches in the process. Travis Kalanick, Uber’s former chief executive, has sold nearly one-third of his shares in the privately held company for about $1.4 billion, according to three people with knowledge of the transaction. Benchmark, a venture capital firm, plans to sell about $900 million of stock. The buyer of all these shares is an investment consortium led by SoftBank, the Japanese conglomerate, which recently agreed to acquire $10 billion of Uber stock from shareholders.
487 Original Programs Aired in 2017. Bet You Didn’t Watch Them All
At least 487 original scripted programs aired in 2017, the latest record-breaking figure for the TV industry, according to data released Friday by the cable network FX. The staggering growth largely comes from the seemingly endless budget lines that help produce new shows for streaming services. Netflix, for example, has said it will spend $8 billion on content this year. But last year some cable networks like WGN and A&E said they were abandoning scripted content because the finances made no sense. Short of a major hit, it’s difficult to justify the costs. But cancellations have done little to stop the glut of programming.
Without Naming Trump, Twitter Says It Won’t Block World Leaders
For more than a year, Twitter has faced censure for allowing President Donald Trump to use its service to say whatever he wants. On Friday, without mentioning Trump by name, Twitter said in a statement that he would remain on the social media service. “Elected world leaders play a critical role” in global, public conversation “because of their outsized impact on our society,” Twitter said in the statement, which was posted to its site. “Blocking a world leader from Twitter or removing their controversial Tweets would hide important information people should be able to see and debate.”