The US jobs market stayed strong in August

A ‘Now Hiring’ sign is displayed outside a resale clothing shop on June 2, 2023, in Los Angeles.

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The US added 187,000 nonfarm payrolls in August, more than July’s revised growth.
The unemployment rate was 3.8% in August, an increase from July’s rate.
Fed Chair Jerome Powell said in a recent speech the labor market’s rebalancing “remains incomplete.”

Amid back to school season, summer outings with friends or vacations, and the SAG-AFTRA strike, the labor market is strong based on recent job growth.

The US added 187,000 nonfarm payrolls in August, according to the report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics ahead of Labor Day. That beats the gain forecasted, an estimated increase of 170,000.

July’s payroll gain was revised from 187,000 to 157,000. June saw another revision. Per the latest release, it was revised from a gain of 185,000 jobs to 105,000.

While the unemployment rate was expected to be 3.5%, it was 3.8% in August. It ticked up from July’s 3.5%.

According to commentary from Lydia Boussour, EY senior economist, before the jobs report was published, EY believed the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike would likely have a “noticeable impact” on August’s estimates.

“The SAG-AFTRA strike and bankruptcy of long-time trucking company Yellow in August will likely create some noise in the data and point to some downside risk to the headline payroll gain,” Boussour said in commentary prior to Fridays’ news release from BLS. “We estimate that these two factors could potentially pose a cumulative drag on payrolls worth around 30,000-40,000 jobs in August.”

Monthly job openings have continued to slow. There were 8.8 million job openings in July after 9.2 million in June, according to new Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey or JOLTS data released by BLS earlier this week.

Jonathan Fisher, interim chief economist and research advisor at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, said in commentary prior to Friday’s report that “the job market appears to be cooling to a sustainable level.”

“We saw in Tuesday’s JOLTS that both job openings and the quit rate are falling, and these are all positive signs that we won’t see unsustainable wage growth,” Fisher said.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell said in his speech last week at an economic policy symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, that the “rebalancing of the labor market has continued over the past year but remains incomplete.”

“We expect this labor market rebalancing to continue,” Powell said. “Evidence that the tightness in the labor market is no longer easing could also call for a monetary policy response.”

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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5 things I do every fall to keep building wealth for the rest of the year

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In the fall, I take advantage of back-to-school motivation to reviews my finances for the coming months.I start with my budget and credit, then look at insurance and upcoming expenses.Sometimes, I’ve made my January mortgage payment in December to deduct the interest for that year.

We are rapidly headed towards the fall/winter season. This is the time of year that I sit down and take stock of my finances, reassess my financial goals, and see what damage (if any) summer did to my finances. There are a few steps I take at this time of year to set myself up for financial success:

1. Review my budget and get back on track if necessary

It may seem like this summer flew by, but we definitely got the most of it. With increased travel and shopping, summer is definitely a time when we tend to spend more money. I even found myself enjoying brunch and cocktails with friends more often.

So heading into fall, I review my budget, income, and expenditures and target areas where I can cut back. I also take a look at my credit cards. If there are any lingering balances from swiping more than usual this summer, I prioritize getting rid of those.

2. Check my credit report

While relaxing during the summer months, it can be easy to forget to monitor your accounts. After peak travel season, it’s a good idea to check your bank statements and credit reports to make sure all accounts are yours and are being reported correctly.

I learned this the hard way after traveling out of state. Upon returning home, I learned that my checking account had $500 missing. Apparently, I had used an ATM with a skimmer attached. Scammers know how to take advantage of consumers and the summer months are a peak time for fraudulent activity.

I sit down at this time every year and pull all three of my credit reports (you can get your credit report for free) —Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion — and I read through the paper statements for all of my checking and savings accounts.

3. Prepare for an increase in utility bills

With colder weather on the way, your utility bill will most likely be higher. I prepare for this by building a higher amount for my electric bill into my budget now. I know that I will be using my heat more and will be cooking more, so I try to get ready for that increase now.

4. Set my holiday budget

The holidays will be here before you know it. From Thanksgiving to the New Year, it’s a holiday gauntlet of dinners, gifts, and parties that can wreak havoc on your budget and your wallet. I get started early. I set my holiday budget now. I determine how much money I will be spending on gifts, my budget for vacation (if I’m taking one), and the dinners and parties I will participate in.

It is easy to spend a tremendous amount of money during the holiday season and for the budget to go out of the window. Get ready for holidays now.

5. Do an insurance review

I check all insurance policies: homeowners insurance, renters insurance, car insurance (when I owned a car), and health. insurance. This is a great time to do a comprehensive insurance review. Has anything happened this year to impact these policies? Will anything transpire next year? Make sure you have adequate coverage now.

If you have health insurance through an employer, open enrollment may be approaching. I review my health and medical coverage to see if any changes need to be made this year.

Bonus: Plan for an extra mortgage payment and charitable contributions

If you can, plan to make your January mortgage payment in December. If you do this, you’ll get an additional deduction for the interest paid. Also, charities are most in need of donations by the end of the year, and these contributions can help ease your tax bill (if you itemize). Keep all records of cash donations, especially if the total is $250 or more.

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Regulators want to fine Qantas ‘hundreds of millions of dollars’ for selling tickets for thousands of already-cancelled flights

A Qantas 787 Dreamliner.

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The Australian airline Qantas is under fire from the country’s competition regulator.It’s accusing Qantas of continuing to sell tickets for 8,000 flights that had been cancelled.And it’s seeking a record-breaking fine in the hundreds of millions of dollars, per Reuters.

Qantas could be fined hundreds of millions of dollars for selling tickets for thousands of flights that had already been cancelled if regulators get their way, Reuters reported.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission announced Thursday that it was taking the airline to court, accusing it of engaging in false, misleading, or deceptive conduct.

The ACCC alleges that the Australian flag-carrier kept selling tickets for more than 8,000 flights between May and July 2022, for an average of more than two weeks after they were cancelled.

It also said that, for over 10,000 flights across the same period, Qantas didn’t tell ticket holders their flights had been canceled for an average of 18 days. And in some cases, people weren’t told about the cancellations until 48 days afterwards, according to the ACCC.

That amounts to 70% of cancelled Qantas flights where tickets were still sold or ticket holders weren’t told for at least two days after the cancelation, the regulator said.

Gina Cass-Gottlieb, the ACCC chair, said this likely affected the travel plans of tens of thousands of people, and “left customers with less time to make alternative arrangements and may have led to them paying higher prices.”

According to Reuters, Cass-Gottlieb said the ACCC would seek a fine that was “signficantly more” than the record $81 million Volkswagen was fined in 2019 — in relation to its emissions scandal where it cheated tests that identified harmful exhaust fumes.

“We think the penalty should be in hundreds of millions, not tens of millions”, she added, per Reuters. “We would want to get more than twice that figure.”

Qantas did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment, sent outside Australian working hours. It told Reuters that it would review the allegations made by the ACCC and respond to them in court.

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There’s no way for teachers to figure out if students are using ChatGPT to cheat, OpenAI says in new back-to-school guide

OpenAI has offered teachers a guide on how to use ChatGPT in the classroom as the back-to-school season begins.

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Bad news teachers: You have no way to figure out if students are using ChatGPT to cheat.So says OpenAI, the chatbot’s creator, which says AI detectors don’t work reliably.Bots like ChatGPT have been causing mayhem in education over the past few months.

OpenAI is preparing teachers for the back-to-school season, releasing a guide on how to use ChatGPT in the classroom, months after educators raised the alarm on students turning to AI for cheating.

Bad news for teachers and professors though: OpenAI says that sites and apps promising to uncover AI-generated copy in students’ work are unreliable.

In an FAQ section for educators, the company said it had found AI content detectors haven’t “proven to reliably distinguish between AI-generated and human-generated content.”

“When we at OpenAI tried to train an AI-generated content detector, we found that it labeled human-written text like Shakespeare and the Declaration of Independence as AI-generated,” the FAQ states.

Such content detectors also have a tendency to suggest that work by students who don’t speak English as a first language is AI-generated, OpenAI stated, confirming a problem reported earlier by The Markup.

ChatGPT has quickly become a popular tool for students since its release, as its ability to generate text and convincingly human responses makes it a handy tool in assignments such as essay writing and research.

Teachers are concerned however that students are cheating by presenting ideas and phrases from the chatbot as their own, and that they are becoming over-dependent on a tool which remains prone to errors and hallucinations.

Professors began to detect students using ChatGPT to cheat on college essays a little over a month after the chatbot was released in November 2022. A survey earlier this year found that one in four teachers claimed to have caught students cheating by using ChatGPT.

OpenAI acknowledges educators may have to deal with students presenting AI-generated content as their own work, and offers suggestions such as asking students to retain their conversations with ChatGPT and present them in homework.

“By keeping a record of their conversations with AI, students can reflect on their progress over time. They can see how their skills in asking questions, analyzing responses, and integrating information have developed,” OpenAI wrote.

OpenAI also acknowledged that ChatGPT is not free from biases and stereotypes, for instance, so “users and educators should carefully review its content.”

OpenAI did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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