On The Money — Job market shakes off inflation, boosting workers

·5 min read

American jobseekers still have plenty of gigs to choose from and aren’t afraid of leaving their current employers for new ones. We’ll also look at rising support for labor unions and another batch of relief for defrauded student loan holders.

But first, find out why the last surviving member of The Monkees is suing the FBI.

Welcome to On The Money, your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line. For The Hill, we’re Sylvan Lane and Aris Folley. Subscribe here.

An upper hand for workers

Job openings remained near record highs in July and layoffs stayed low even as the Federal Reserve moved to cool off the labor market, according to Labor Department data released Tuesday.

The July Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLTS) report showed the job market powering through rising interest rates meant to ease a labor shortage that is likely driving inflation higher.

  • U.S. employers had roughly 11.2 million open jobs on the final business day of July, in line with revised figures from June. There are nearly two job openings listed for each one of the 5.7 million Americans who reported being unemployed in July, according to Labor Department data.

  • The quits rate, which measures the percentage of the workforce which quit their jobs in a given month, remained at 2.7 percent, just below a record high of 2.9 percent set earlier this year.

  • While millions of Americans are typically laid off from jobs every year, layoff rates have remained historically low since 2021 as businesses struggle to keep workers from taking higher paying jobs at other firms.

“Even if economic growth slows, today’s report shows the labor market remains strong,” wrote AnnElizabeth Konkel, senior economist at Indeed Hiring Lab, in a Tuesday analysis.

Sylvan breaks it down here.

LEADING THE DAY

Support for labor unions highest since 1965

Seventy-one percent of Americans indicated support for labor unions in a Gallup poll released on Tuesday, the highest percentage since 1965.

The latest measure is a slight uptick from the 68 percent who supported labor unions when the survey giant polled the question last year.

  • Gallup has tracked union approval for decades, and support has gradually increased since 2009. Support fell below 50 percent for the only time in 2009, but has since been improving to levels not seen in more than a half-century.

  • The new poll found that 6 percent of U.S. adults report that they are a union member, and 16 percent live in a household in which at least one resident is part of a union. The results remain in line with Gallup’s range of between 14 percent and 21 percent of adults since 2001 who have said they live in a household with at least one union member.

  • The increased support comes as workers at many major companies have pursued union campaigns, including Starbucks, Amazon and Chipotle.

The Hill’s Zach Schonfeld has more details here.

STUDENT LOANS

Biden administration clears another $1.5B for defrauded college borrowers

The Biden administration announced Tuesday it is clearing the balances for 79,000 borrowers who were defrauded by the now-defunct Westwood College.

Education Department officials determined that the for-profit school “engaged in widespread misrepresentations about the value of its credentials for attendees’ and graduates’ employment prospects,” and will discharge the remainder of loans for students who enrolled between Jan. 1, 2002, and Nov. 17, 2015, regardless of whether they applied for relief.

  • Westwood College was found to have “routinely misled” students about their job prospects and expected earnings after graduation. Westwood’s criminal justice programs at its Illinois campuses promised job placement at police departments across the state, including the Chicago Police Department and Illinois State Police. Yet the college never had the regional accreditation to achieve their claim.

  • Westwood operated 15 campuses in California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois and Virginia, along with online programs before shutting its doors in 2016. The latest forgiveness move will erase $1.5 billion in loan debt, bringing the total amount of loans discharged through the program to $14.5 billion.

The Hill’s Adam Barnes has the info here.

MUSK OFF

Musk cites whistleblower in new request to terminate Twitter purchase

Elon Musk’s legal team cited allegations from a Twitter whistleblower in a new request to terminate Musk’s agreement to purchase Twitter for about $44 billion, according to a document filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Monday.

The filing is the latest salvo in Musk’s battle to back out of the deal as he awaits a trial set for mid-October with Twitter to resolve whether he has to go through with the purchase.

  • Musk’s argument to retreat from his purchase, agreed to in April, is based largely on allegations that Twitter failed to provide him with accurate information about the number of spam bot accounts on the platform in breach of the term agreements. 

  • In former Twitter security chief Peiter Zatko’s complaint, he alleged the company is susceptible to hacks by foreign governments and is not in compliance with a 2011 consent decree from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to improve security on the platform. He also alleged the company does not accurately represent the number of spam bots on the account based on its count of monetizable daily active users.

The Hill’s Rebecca Klar has the deets here.

Good to Know

Content moderation concerns are holding up the approval of former President Trump’s Truth Social app on Android devices, a Google spokesperson said Tuesday.

Truth Social CEO Devin Nunes claimed last week that the Android version of the app was ready and waiting on Google’s approval.

Here’s what else we have our eye on:

  • California legislators are pushing to make kindergarten mandatory in the state as it sees a dip in school enrollment and aims to ensure all children get critical instruction at their earliest years of learning.

  • More than 9 in 10 freight railroad workers believe they should go on strike to secure better wages and working conditions, according to a new online survey.

That’s it for today. Thanks for reading and check out The Hill’s Finance page for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you tomorrow.

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