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More than a third of small businesses can’t fill open jobs, a record

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The number of small business that aren’t able to find enough workers has matched the highest level ever recorded.

The percentage of small companies not able to fill open positions hit 36 percent in June, according to the NFIB Research Center, matching the survey’s record high set in November 2000. (The data goes back to 1973.)

“Labor markets are very tight, for both skilled and unskilled workers,” wrote William Dunkelberg and Holly Wade, chief economist and director of research at NFIB, respectively. “More firms are looking for workers than workers looking for a job. And the hiring strength is in industries that pay well: construction, manufacturing, and financial services.”

Source: “NFIB Small Business Economic Trends,” July 2018. NFIB Research Center.

The difficulty in finding qualified workers comes at a time when small business optimism is booming with the survey’s main index posting its sixth highest reading ever. For the month of June, the index came in at 107.2, down 0.6 from May. Since December 2016, the index has averaged an “unprecedented” 105.4, well above the 45-year average of 98 and rivaling the all-time high of 108 in July 1983, the researchers said.

The findings represent yet another indication that the U.S. labor market is either at or beyond full employment following Friday’s Department of Labor report on the employment situation. The monthly publication showed that the economy added 213,000 jobs last month, well ahead of expectations and maintaining the trend of hot job creation.

The unemployment rate – which measures the number of people without a job but seeking work against the total number of people in the labor force – ticked upward to 4 percent as the competitive labor market attracted people off the sidelines.

“Small business owners continue to report astounding optimism as they celebrate strong sales, the creation of jobs, and more profits,” said NFIB chief executive Juanita Duggan. “The first six months of the year have been very good to small business thanks to tax cuts, regulatory reform, and policies that help them grow.”

The organization found in their most recent report that 21 percent of small business owners cited trouble finding qualified workers as the single most important business problem.

According to July’s Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) published Tuesday, there were 6.6 million open positions in May, more than the 6.1 million unemployed persons in during the month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Under normal circumstances, the mismatch would be galvanizing higher wages. However, average hourly earnings rose just 2.7 percent annualized in June, up two-tenths of a point from May.



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Elon Musk apologizes to British cave diver following ‘pedo guy’ claim

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Elon Musk, co-founder and chief executive officer of Tesla Inc.

Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Elon Musk, co-founder and chief executive officer of Tesla Inc.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk apologized after making the baseless claim that a British diver involved in the Thai cave rescue mission was a pedophile.

The apology comes after the spelunker, Vern Unsworth, who was involved in the early days of efforts to save the now-rescued boys’ soccer team, threatened legal action against the billionaire executive over the comment.

Musk said on Twitter late Tuesday that he had made the claim out of “anger” because Unsworth had criticized his idea to rescue the boys with a “mini-submarine” made out of a SpaceX rocket part.

“Nonetheless, his actions against me do not justify my actions against him, and for that I apologize to Mr. Unsworth and to the companies I represent as leader,” Musk said.

“The fault is mine and mine alone.”

Musk got involved in efforts to rescue the group of 12 boys and their soccer coach earlier this month — mere days before their rescue. The boys had gotten stuck in the flooded Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai after venturing through it with their coach.

He and a team of engineers from SpaceX and The Boring Company brought over the vessel — a cylinder made out of the liquid oxygen transfer tube of a Falcon rocket — to Thailand, and met with government officials there about the possibility of using it to help.

But Narongsak Osottanakorn, head of the command center during the rescue, did not welcome the idea, saying the sub was “technologically sophisticated” but “not practical” with the rescue mission.

Musk then hit out at reports referring to Osottanakorn as “rescue chief,” noting that he was the former provincial governor of Chiang Rai and claiming he was not the “subject matter expert.” Osottanakorn stepped down from his role to join the initiative.



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European Union is expected to fine Google $5 billion over Android: Reports

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Sundar Pichai, chief executive officer of Google

Michael Short | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Sundar Pichai, chief executive officer of Google

European Union regulators will slap Alphabet-owned Google with a $5 billion antitrust fine for abusing the dominance of its Android mobile operating system, according to reports.

The case relates to the dominance of Google’s Android operating system, which is one of the world’s most popular mobile software systems, competing fiercely against Apple’s iOS. The Android OS controls more than 80 percent of smartphones globally.

The EU has scrutinized that dominance, arguing that Google should look to make competition fairer and allow smaller players in the market to flourish. It is widely expected to fine the firm a record levy on Wednesday.

According to the Wall Street Journal, that fine will amount to 4.34 billion euros ($5.06 billion). The Journal, citing an official familiar with the matter, said the decision is not expected to be discussed at a meeting between EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager and other officials.

Shares of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, shed more than 1 percent during U.S. premarket trading.

You can read the full Wall Street Journal report here.



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Hedge fund billionaire Einhorn places sixth in major poker tournament

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Hedge fund billionaire David Einhorn plays poker at the World Series of Poker's "Big One for One Drop."

Joe Giron | World Series of Poker

Hedge fund billionaire David Einhorn plays poker at the World Series of Poker’s “Big One for One Drop.”

Hedge fund billionaire David Einhorn busted out of a $1 million buy-in poker tournament just short of taking home prize money, Tuesday night in Las Vegas.

Einhorn and 26 other businessmen and poker players each ponied up $1 million to enter the World Series of Poker’s “Big One for One Drop” tournament.

Einhorn survived two days of play and came into the third day with the fifth most chips of the 6 remaining players.

But, while other players were doing all they could to avoid getting eliminated, Einhorn didn’t seem to mind playing aggressively.

For his sixth-place finish Einhorn receives no prize money. Fifth place would have paid out $2 million.

Einhorn has been a regular at the World Series of Poker for years, always giving his winnings away to charity.

This year he played sporting a shirt that said “Service Year,” a charity that allows people to serve in the community for a year, and be paid for it.

Simply playing in the tournament was a charitable endeavor as $80,000 from each entry goes to the charity One Drop, an organization dedicated to sustainable access to safe water.



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