Bloomberg - Evening Briefing - Blessing and a curse

Bloomberg Evening Briefing

US unemployment is at a five-decade low. As in, lower than it’s been since the days when “Watergate” referred only to a building. In June, almost 400,000 jobs were added, far more than predicted and a clear illustration of the extreme tightness of the labor market. But a look beneath the surface of the June employment report and other recent data shows just how hot it really is. “Our private sector has now recovered all of the jobs lost during the pandemic, and added jobs on top of that,” President Joe Biden said Friday. But while the White House is happy to tout its pandemic rescue package and other recovery policies as key reasons for the historic numbers, high inflation fueled in part by Russia’s war on Ukraine has made all those gainfully employed Americans both a blessing and a curse. Economists had foreseen a more moderate increase, which in turn led some on Wall Street to predict less reason for the Fed to move as quickly with plans to raise interest rates—and thus presenting less risk of a hard landing. But with Friday’s data, and a potentially grim report on consumer prices next week, a sanguine central bank is no longer considered likely when it comes to rate hikes. “You can pretty much count on 75 basis points in July,” said Jim Caron, chief fixed income strategist with Morgan Stanley Investment Management. “The job market is strong and it’s not giving up any growth.” 

Bloomberg is tracking the coronavirus pandemic and the progress of global vaccination efforts.

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While claiming credit for America’s shiny employment picture, Biden acknowledged the pain of high inflation. But he also noted that US gasoline prices have dropped 25 days in a row. Indeed, prices at the pump just saw their biggest single-day drop in more than a decade. Average prices fell by 3.1 cents to $4.721 a gallon overnight, marking the largest daily drop since December 2008. And the more than three-week decline in prices is the longest streak of declines since April 2020.

Here’s where gas prices are cheapest following the biggest price drop in more than a decade. Illustration: Bloomberg

In Canada, Rogers Communications had a widespread network failure in its wireless and internet services, causing payment systems and automated teller machines at banks to go down

Two of Europe’s biggest airlines announced another round of cancellations, adding to the disruption turning the travel sector’s summer into a nightmare.

Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Japan’s longest-serving premier, died after being shot at a campaign event Friday. Here’s the latest on the investigation and the alleged shooter.

Shinzo Abe  Photographer: Kent Nishimura/Getty Images North America

In China, a social media account of China Central Television was filled with comments rejoicing in the attack that killed Abe. One Weibo post said it would be fitting if Abe atoned with his life for Japan’s invasion of China before World War II. That post got 210,000 likes. After Abe died, a post saying “Let the celebrations begin!” got more than 150,000 likes in 30 minutes.

Biden cited the “horror” unleashed by the Republican-appointee dominated US Supreme Court and its decision to eliminate the federal right to abortion as he signed an executive order intended to preserve access to the procedure. “This isn’t some imagined horror. It’s already happening,” he said at the White House, noting that bans have already taken effect in 13 states. He also pointed to a newspaper report alleging that a 10-year-old rape victim was forced to travel from Ohio to Indiana for an abortion. “Imagine being that little girl,” Biden said. 

Just last week, New York City’s government quietly ended its Covid-19 alert system. The city’s new mayor, Eric Adams, has slashed precautions against the virus, declined to enforce existing pandemic rules and withdrawn mask requirements. This week, confirmed infection rates in New York City skyrocketed to as high as 25%, which is likely much lower than the true level of infections given at-home tests and the undiagnosed.

Eric Adams Photographer: Stephanie Keith/Bloomberg

What you’ll need to know tomorrow

Salt Lake City—Only Without the Lake

From the southern rim of the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere, barely any of the pinkish, saline water that used to engulf the million-acre basin is visible. “For years the lake lapped right here,” said Ella Sorensen, manager of a local wetland preserve, motioning to the dry lake bed. “But I have watched it disappear over time.” Indeed, Utah’s Great Salt Lake is disappearing as a climate crisis-fueled “megadrought” continues to envelop the Southwest.

Satellite images of the Great Salt Lake show how water levels have fallen from 1987 (left) to 2020 (right). Credit: Google Earth

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