Unemployment Rate, Facebook Removal

Grind for October 13th
“My doctor told me that jogging could add years to my life. I think he was right. I feel 10 years older already.” – Milton Berle

Good News

The Headline

Labor Department report: US unemployment rate continues to drop

The Grind

Roughly 168,000 Americans found new jobs in August, pushing the unemployment rate down from 3.7% that month to 3.5% in September.

Despite the improvements, the Fed is expected to cut interest rates a final time this year. Rates were reduced by a quarter of 1% this summer and by another quarter-point in September.

While job gains for the month of September were slightly below the average for 2019, they were still higher than the 100,000 needed to stay on par with demand.

The Details

The Labor report coincides with a decline in manufacturing and a slowdown in services industry growth.

Manufacturing – which is disproportionately affected by the trade war – lost 2,000 jobs in September after adding the same number of workers in August.

“You’ve had this dichotomy, manufacturing extremely weak, service sector holding up and looking fairly resilient,” says economist Neil Shearing. “The key question has been, OK, manufacturing’s weak but so long as the service sector holds up and continues to be resilient, the US economy can avoid recession.”

To paint a broader picture, the US economy is growing at a rate of between 2% and 2.5% per year. Our friends across the pond are sliding to less than 1% (possibly 0%).

As Shearing points out, manufacturing has been weak throughout the world. “We tend to think of the economy being about making things, but actually in the modern era it’s more about services – health, retail, and leisure.”

As it stands, manufacturing represents 12% of the US economy and the service industry represents nearly 80%.

Not Allowed

The Headline

Facebook deactivates 700+ accounts for intentionally misleading users

The Grind

Facebook this week announced the removal of 443 accounts, 200 pages, 76 groups, and 125 Instagram accounts from Nigeria, UAE, Egypt, and Indonesia.

The accounts had engaged in “coordinated inauthentic behavior” designed to mislead users, said Facebook on Thursday.

The Details

The schemes involved entire networks of accounts dedicated to spreading misinformation on topics including:

— Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA)

— UAE’s activity in Yemen

— Criticism of Turkey, Qatar, and Iran

— Protests in Indonesia

Facebook made it clear the accounts were deleted not based on content, but on behavior. In total, the deleted accounts had 7.5 million followers.

“Although the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities, our investigation found links to Indonesian media firm InsightID,” said Facebook in a statement.

InsightID may have been involved in spreading disinformation about President Joko Widodo during the April 2019 national elections.

Investigators have been unable to reach InsightID for comment.

Did you know… A coffee tree yields about one pound of coffee in a year.