The daily business briefing: October 13, 2021
Record 4.3 million workers quit in August, House approves short-term deal to avert debt default, and more
Record 4.3 million quit jobs in August
A record 4.3 million people quit jobs across the United States in August, beating the previous high of 4 million set in April, according to data released by the Labor Department on Tuesday. The figure, which amounts to 2.9 percent of the U.S. workforce, reflected changing attitudes about work and home life among Americans since the coronavirus pandemic upended society last year. Many workers have expressed unwillingness to put up with low wages and difficult hours, and sought new opportunities. There were 10.4 million job openings in August, down from July's record high of 11.1 million but still historically high. Many businesses have had to raise wages to avoid being short-staffed, giving workers leverage to seek positions with better pay and conditions.
House approves short-term deal to avert debt default
The House approved a bipartisan short-term deal to extend the debt limit to avoid a catastrophic default into December, sending it to President Biden for his signature. The Senate passed the agreement last week after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) proposed the temporary fix to give Democrats more time to raise the debt ceiling without Republican votes through a process known as budget reconciliation. Meanwhile, Democrats negotiated among themselves to trim a $3.5 trillion spending package that would expand the social safety net. Progressives are opposed to any cuts, but key moderates, led by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), are calling for the cost of the bill to be sharply reduced. Democrats can't pass the bill through reconciliation, which requires a simple majority, if they lose a single Democratic vote in the 50-50 Senate.
Immigration agents to stop mass arrests at workplaces
The Biden administration announced Tuesday that immigration agents would stop conducting mass arrests of undocumented immigrants at workplaces. Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a memo that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would prioritize targeting "unscrupulous" employers who exploit the vulnerability of undocumented workers by paying poorly, subjecting them to unsafe working conditions, and facilitating human trafficking. "Our worksite enforcement efforts can have a significant impact on the well-being of individuals and the fairness of the labor market," Mayorkas wrote. The announcement marked a shift from Trump administration policies, and was expected to meet forceful criticism from Republicans who say limits on arrests have contributed to a wave of migrant traffic at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Stock futures edge higher ahead of inflation report
U.S. stock index futures edged higher early Wednesday ahead of new inflation data. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were up by 0.1 percent to 0.2 percent several hours before the opening bell. Futures for the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 0.3 percent. All three of the main U.S. averages fell on Tuesday. The Dow dropped by 0.3 percent. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq lost 0.2 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively. Economists expect the September consumer inflation report due out at 8:30 a.m. ET to show that the consumer price index rose by 0.3 percent, or an annualized rate of 5.3 percent, in September, continuing the rapid pace seen in August. Excluding energy and food, the CPI is expected to show a 0.3 percent monthly increase, or an annualized rise of 4 percent.
Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner dies at 58
Hasbro chairman and CEO Brian Goldner died Tuesday, days after taking a leave of absence to focus on his medical care. He was 58. Hasbro didn't disclose the cause of death, but Goldner was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2014 and had undergone treatment this year. "Since joining the company more than two decades ago, Brian has been the heart and soul of Hasbro," said the company's interim CEO Rich Stoddart. "As a charismatic and passionate leader in both the play and entertainment industries, Brian's work brought joy and laughter to children and families around the world." Goldner pushed Hasbro, maker of Monopoly and My Little Pony, into movies and entertainment with the purchase of film and TV production and distribution company eOne in late 2019.