Posts belonging to Category GIG economy



Low productivity jobs continue to drive employment growth

Employment is rising in OECD countries

The latest Compendium of Productivity Indicators says the trend has compounded the impact of generally weak business investment on productivity growth. The downward pressure on wages may have allowed firms to defer investment decisions, instead meeting increased demand by hiring additional staff and, in turn, undermining the potential for investment-driven productivity growth, the report says.

In France, Germany and the United Kingdom, the top three sectors with the largest employment gains between 2010 and 2017 accounted for one third of total job creation but paid below average wages. Moreover, in Belgium, Finland, Italy and Spain, industries with above average labour productivity levels saw net job losses. The data show wage growth (adjusted for inflation) improving in recent years but remaining below pre-crisis rates in two thirds of OECD countries despite a period of negligible or slow wage growth, and earlier declines in purchasing power in the aftermath of the crisis. Indeed, real wages remain below crisis levels in Greece, Italy and Spain, and have also contracted in recent years in Belgium and Canada.

More jobs in lower paid sectors such as accommodation and catering and health and residential care, weigh on average wages across the economy as a whole.

http://www.oecd.org/

Amazon’s warehouse-worker tracking system can automatically fire people without a human supervisor’s involvement

Amazon has fired more than 300 workers, citing productivity, at a single facility in Baltimore in a single year 

Amazon’s demanding culture of worker productivity has been revealed in multiple investigations. But a new report indicates that the company doesn’t just track worker productivity at its warehouses — it also has a system that can automatically fire them.

Amazon has fired more than 300 workers, citing productivity, at a single facility in Baltimore in a single year (August 2017 through September 2018), The Verge’s Colin Lecher reported. The Verge cited a letter by an Amazon attorney as part of a case with the National Labor Relations Board.

An Amazon spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider, “Approximately 300 employees turned over in Baltimore related to productivity in this timeframe. In general, the number of employee terminations have decreased over the last two years at this facility as well as across North America.”

Amazon’s system tracks a metric called “time off task,” meaning how much time workers pause or take breaks, The Verge reported. It has been previously reported that some workers feel so pressured that they don’t take bathroom breaks.

http://www.businessinsider.com

Linus Torvalds Thinks Facebook Is A Disease

Geared to serve even the lowest common denominator

Fake News was crowned as the word of the year in 2017. In an era where we need quality journalism, social media sites are bent on destroying it. In a recent interview with Linux Journal’s first publisher, Robert Young, Linus Torvalds — Creator of Linux — revealed the true nature of social media.
Linus pulled no punches as he brandished social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google as the enabler of bad behavior. Linus’ comments on the ‘liking and sharing’ model on Facebook hold weight as it degrades the quality of what we consume online.
According to Linus, Facebook’s clickbait content is geared to serve even the lowest common denominator. This type of content is designed only to provoke an emotional response, often of anger and outrage.

https://www.fossbytes.com/

Apple’s stock fell again

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway trimmed its Apple’s stake

Berkshire Hathaway decreased its stake in Apple by nearly 3 million shares, to 249.5 million, in the fourth quarter, but Warren Buffettreportedly had nothing to do with the selling.

“One of the managers other than Warren had a position in Apple and sold part of it in order to make an unrelated purchase,” Buffett’s assistant Debbie Bosanek said in an email to Reuters. “None of the shares under Warren’s direction have ever been sold.”

Bosanek didn’t immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment. Berkshire didn’t return CNBC’s call seeking comment.

http://www.cnbc.com

Facebook should be regulated like a cigarette company

The Social media needs to be regulated like every other industry

Election interference has opened the door for the government to clamp down on social media companies. But while executives from Facebook, Google and Twitter have made multiple trips to testify in front of Congress, there’s been no clear movement towards enforcement.

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff offered up an analogy: Treat social media like a health issue, similar to tobacco and sugar.

“I think that you do it exactly the same way that you regulated the cigarette industry. Here’s a product: Cigarettes. They’re addictive, they’re not good for you,” Benioff told CNBC’s “Squawk Alley” on Tuesday. “I think that for sure, technology has addictive qualities that we have to address, and that product designers are working to make those products more addictive and we need to rein that back.” Benioff said that there’s confusion about whether social media use is bad for people and it’s the government’s job to step in and provide clarity for parents. There’s a smoking age for cigarettes and regulations around how they can be promoted, but no such rules exist for social media.

http://cnbc.com

Chinese tech investors flee Silicon Valley

Trump tightens scrutiny

New Trump administration policies aimed at curbing China’s access to American innovation have all but halted Chinese investment in U.S. technology startups, as both investors and startup founders abandon deals amid scrutiny from Washington. Chinese venture funding in U.S. startups crested to a record $3 billion last year, according to New York economic research firm Rhodium Group, spurred by a rush of investors and tech companies scrambling to complete deals before a new regulatory regime was approved in August.

Since then, Chinese venture funding in U.S. startups has slowed to a trickle, Reuters interviews with more than 35 industry players show. U.S. President Donald Trump signed new legislation expanding the government’s ability to block foreign investment in U.S. companies, regardless of the investor’s country of origin. But Trump has been particularly vocal about stopping China from getting its hands on strategic U.S. technologies.

https://www.reuters.com/

The wealth of America's three richest families grew by 6,000% since 1982

Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett now have as much wealth as half of the US population combined

Three US families have a combined wealth of $348.7bn. As their generations expand, we are are drifting toward a society governed by the rich. It hardly makes news any more that the US is becoming an extremely unequal country.
Each year new eye-popping statistics juxtapose the reality of decades of stagnant wages for half the country’s workers with today’s extreme concentrations of wealth and power.

Growing the 5G ecosystem

Verizon expands 5G Labs to new locations

Building on the success of its 4G LTE Innovation Centers and its first 5G incubator in New York City at Alley, a membership community for entrepreneurs, Verizon is expanding the program to new locations on the East and West Coasts. Working with a new array of innovators across a variety of verticals, Verizon will further accelerate the development of tomorrow’s 5G use cases and experiences while bringing all the locations under a new brand identity that reflects Verizon’s vision for 5G development.
Verizon’s new 5G Labs – to be located in Washington DC, Palo Alto CA, Waltham MA, and Los Angeles CA – will explore the boundaries of 5G technology, co-create new use applications and hardware, and engage with the community through programming designed to encourage local innovators to rethink what’s possible in a 5G world. The Labs will all be open by the end of 2018. Each Lab will be outfitted with live 5G networks, giving local startups, universities, and technology companies the opportunity to develop, test and refine tomorrow’s 5G solutions.

Wage floor for Uber's ride-hail drivers

The goal is to pay drivers $17.22 an hour, or $15 an hour after expenses like gas.

The New York City council passed first-of-its-kind legislation this afternoon setting a wage floor for ride-hail drivers and capping the number of ride-hail vehicles in the city. Below, our story from before the historic vote.

Uber drivers make about as much money as minimum wage workers.

In some cases they can even make less. That’s because Uber drivers are considered independent contractors, rather than employees, and aren’t protected under federal, state, and local minimum wage laws.

Uber drivers aren’t being recognized as employees (that legal battle is ongoing). But in New York City, the city council is poised to pass a package of bills that, for the first time ever, would set a wage floor for Uber drivers and their peers in the ride-hail industry.
https://qz.com/

Is Amazon a monopoly?

President Trump is ‘obsessed’ with Amazon

Capitol Hill wants Facebook’s blood, but President Trump isn’t interested. Instead, the tech behemoth Trump wants to go after is Amazon, according to five sources who’ve discussed it with him. “He’s obsessed with Amazon,” a source said. “Obsessed.” Trump has talked about changing Amazon’s tax treatment because he’s worried about mom-and-pop retailers being put out of business.

A source who’s spoken to POTUS: “He’s wondered aloud if there may be any way to go after Amazon with antitrust or competition law.”Trump’s deep-seated antipathy toward Amazon surfaces when discussing tax policy and antitrust cases. The president would love to clip CEO Jeff Bezos’ wings. But he doesn’t have a plan to make that happen.
Trump’s wealthy friends tell him Amazon is destroying their businesses. His real estate buddies tell him — and he agrees — that Amazon is killing shopping malls and brick-and-mortar retailers.

http://www.axios.com

Amazon is a real challenger to Facebook and Google in digital advertising

Amazon An Ad Force To Be Reckoned With

Big-name advertisers are starting to take notice that Amazon is sharpening its assault on the ad business.
The Seattle-based e-commerce giant is increasingly becoming top of mind for advertisers, with product and search ads on Amazon.com, and its data on shoppers being used to run display ads all over the web. Its ad business is already worth over $2 billion.
Kristin Lemkau, chief marketing officer at JPMorgan Chase, said, “I think that they are a force to be reckoned with, they are excellent with everything they do. You have to do business with Amazon.”
http://www.eblnews.com…  Fri.,  06  October 2017

Social Rights for 'gig economy' workers

EU seeks more protection for Uber-style jobs

The European Commission wants more social protection and rights for casual workers, such as those in the “gig economy”, and others with non-standard contracts to try to tackle growing social inequality.

The Commission’s consultation document on these plans, seen by Reuters, is part of a broader reworking of the EU’s economic priorities, after pressure from populist forces that accuse Brussels of having pursued ultra-liberal policies to the detriment of wo

http://www.reuters.comMon.,  25  September 2017

Sales record for Amazon

Amazon.com breaks sales record for ‘Prime Day’

 Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) said on Tuesday its Prime Day sale was on track to be the biggest shopping event in its history by sales. The world’s largest online retailer said customers ordered more than three times as many Echo-family speakers than during Prime Day 2016, which at the time broke records for Amazon devices. Third-party sellers sold over 50 percent more items on the site by noon local time (1900 GMT) than in the same timeframe last year, Amazon said in a statement.

The company has not disclosed sales figures, overall or for the Echo. Analysts estimated last year’s event brought in well over $500 million. The news underscores Amazon’s break-neck pace of growth as more shoppers order online instead of going to brick-and-mortar stores. It also highlights the winning formula of Amazon’s shopping club Prime, the cornerstone of its business. Customers had to join Amazon Prime to get discounts during the 30-hour event. U.S. members of the club pay $99 per year for benefits like two-day shipping, and they tend to buy more goods, more often from Amazon. A timer showing when the deals would expire added further shopping encouragement.

http://www.reuters.com…   Wed.,  12  July 2017

Walmart's online sales are exploding

Walmart Reports 63% Rise in Online Sales

Walmart’s (WMT, -0.23%) massive e-commerce investments are starting to pay off.

The discount chain reported on Thursday that U.S. online sales rose a staggering 63% in the first fiscal quarter of the year, following last year’s overhaul of its online marketplace and a series of acquisitions of e-commerce companies since then, most notably its $3 billion purchase of Jet.com. And more importantly, Walmart said comparable sales rose 1.4% at its U.S. stores, the 11th consecutive quarterly rise, and brought in more shoppers than a year earlier, in stark contrast to the traffic problems at rivals ranging from Target (TGT, +0.37%) to Macy’s (M, +0.34%). Walmart has credited its efforts to integrate its store and digital businesses so that they feed off each other.

http://www.fortune.com…  Mon.,  29  May 2017

Quant Hedge Funds

A new sort of hedge fund relies on crowd-sourcing

“QUANT” hedge funds have long been seen as the nerdy vanguard of finance. Firms such as Renaissance Technologies, Two Sigma and Man AHL, each of which manages tens of billions of dollars, hire talented mathematicians and physicists to sit in their airy offices and develop trading algorithms. But what if such talent could be harnessed without the hassle of an expensive and time-consuming recruitment process? That is the proposition Quantopian, a hedge fund and online crowd-sourcing platform founded in 2011, is testing. Anyone can learn to build trading algorithms on its platform. The most successful are then picked to manage money. Last month the firm announced it had made its first allocations of funds to 15 algorithms it had selected.
http://www.economist.com …  Thu.,  18  May 2017