The bottom line
The six largest American banks—JPMorgan, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley—collectively recorded $141 billion in pretax profits in 2017, nearly double the $75 billion they recorded in 2010.
The New York Times
Thanks to lower government revenue resulting from recent tax cuts, and to deficit spending, the U.S. is cruising toward record-breaking debt. Federal debt is projected to reach 78 percent of GDP by the end of the year—the highest level since 1950. At that rate, the debt will exceed the size of the economy within a decade and break the historic record of 106 percent by 2034.
Over the past year, the jobless rate for workers with disabilities has fallen faster than that of the general workforce, sliding 2.7 percentage points, from 9.5 percent to 7 percent. Last month, the share of working-age people with disabilities who are employed hit 29.7 percent, an increase of 1.7 percent from this time last year.
The Washington Post
American workers forfeited a total of 212 million vacation days in 2017, equivalent to $62.2 billion in lost benefits. In other words, the average American employee donated $561 back to his or her employer by not using allotted vacation time.
Used-car prices are at a 13-year high as increasing numbers of newer-model leased vehicles hit the market. The average price of a used car increased to $19,657 in the first quarter, up 17.6 percent compared with the same period five years ago. The average three-year-old used car now costs $22,685, and only spent 41 days on the market in the first quarter, down from 55 days in 2005.
Self-serve gourmet dining in San Fran
As San Francisco has become one of the most expensive cities in the U.S., it’s so hard for restaurants to find affordable servers and other staff that they are “putting diners to work,” said Emily Badger in The New York Times. A cluster of modestly upscale Bay Area establishments now require patrons to scout their own seats, fetch water, order wine at the bar, and even bus their tables—because low-wage workers can no longer afford to live in the area. Souvla, a Greek restaurant whose impressive wine list and Instagram-worthy menu items have given it a “devoted following,” is credited with inspiring the do-it-yourself model, which has in recent months spread to a nearby bistro offering hand-rolled pasta, and to an upscale rotisserie chicken spot. “In this city of staggering wealth, you can eat like a gourmand, with real stemware and ceramic plates. But first you’ll have to go get your own silverware.”