UBS to Develop Yet Another ‘Permissioned Blockchain’ for Banks

In April, Bitcoin Magazine reported that UBS was planning to investigate blockchain technology in a new innovation lab based in London. The innovation lab is located in Level39, Europe’s largest technology accelerator space for finance and cyber-securities, and focuses on exploring the role of blockchain technology in financial services. UBS, a Swiss global financial services company with its headquarters in Basel and Zürich, is the biggest Swiss bank and is considered as the world’s largest manager of private wealth assets, with more than 2.2 trillion Swiss francs (CHF) in invested assets. In August, the bank launched a “Future of Finance Challenge” for financial technology entrepreneurs and startups. The Future of Finance Challenge covers a broad range of emerging fintech areas, including […]

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CNN’s Gergen: Hewitt Trump Interview Had ‘Gotcha Questions’

CNN Senior Political Analyst David Gergen argued that talk radio host Hugh Hewitt’s interview with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump did have “gotcha questions” on Thursday’s broadcast of “AC360.” Gergen said, “I think you should know basically a lot about the middle east and the dynamics of the middle east, Hezbollah being in Lebanon, and Hamas being in Gaza, for example, you do need to know that, but I must say traditionally, Anderson, that when reporters have asked candidates, you know, who’s the head of this African government or that African government, what’s the difference between Tajikistan and Pakistan, you know, those are regarded as gotcha questions. that’s an old trick, and those are gotcha questions. I think far more relevant at this point, for a man who’s leading the pack in the Republican Party who’s has never spent a day in public office, is to come forward with thoughtful
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Trump Slams ‘Third-Rate Radio Announcer’ Hugh Hewitt

AP Photo/Danny Johnston
Friday on MSNBC’s  “Morning Joe,” after a controversial foreign policy interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt, Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump went after “third-rate radio announcer” for asking only so-called “gotcha” questions. Trump said, “When you say Kurds versus Quds, I thought he said Kurds, this third-rate radio show announcer that I did his show, and it was like gotcha, gotcha, gotcha. Every question is do I know this one, and that one. You know it was like he worked hard on that. I thought he said Kurds. By the way while we are on it I do think the Kurds are not being utilized properly and not being treated properly by us.” Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN
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UC Irvine Student Government Leader: American Flag Represents Hate Speech

In an interview posted on, political satirist Ami Horowitz interviewed UC Irvine student Matthew Guevara. Guevara explained his resolution, which banned the American flag in some spaces on campus and declared it to represent “hate speech.” “[The American flag] made people feel very uncomfortable and unsafe in that room,” Guevara said. Guevara’s resolution passed by a 6-to-4 vote back in March. In the interview, he explained what prompted him to promote such a resolution. “It was creating a very hostile environment just because of this flag being in the room,” he continued. “It doesn’t make people feel welcome at all to where people wouldn’t go in the space anymore because it was on the wall.” Horowitz proposed to Guevara that there was a “legitimate view” that the flag represents hate speech. “Yeah, exactly,” Guevara replied. “It’s a tool to silence people.” He went on to say he would have
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Biden on 2016 Run: ‘The Most Relevant Factor’ — Can My Family and I Undertake the Commitment?

Thursday evening at the Ahavath Achim Synagogue in Atlanta, Vice President Joe Biden said he is considering running for president but added that “the most relevant factor” is if he and his family have enough “emotional energy” after the recent death of his son Beau Biden. Biden said, “I will be straightforward with you. The most relevant factor in my decision is whether my family and I have the emotional energy to run. Some might think that is inappropriate. Unless I can go to my party and the American people and say that I’m able to devote my whole heart and my whole soul to this endeavor, it would not be appropriate. And everybody talks about a lot of other factors: The other people in the race and whether I can raise the money and whether I can get an organization. That’s not the factor. The factor is can I
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The Employment Situation in August

Our economy has now added 8.0 million jobs over the past three years, a pace that has not been exceeded since 2000. And while the economy added jobs at a somewhat slower pace in August than in recent months, the unemployment rate fell to 5.1 percent—its lowest level since April 2008—and the labor force participation rate remained stable. Our businesses have now added 13.1 million jobs over 66 straight months, extending the longest streak on record. In addition, hourly earnings for American workers continued to rise. But there’s more work to do to ensure that America’s domestic momentum can continue to offset some of the headwinds from the global economy. That starts with avoiding self-inflicted wounds: Congress needs to pass a budget that reverses the sequester and avoids shutting down the government. But it’s also why the President is committed to pushing Congress to increase investments in infrastructure as part of a long-term transportation reauthorization, open new markets with expanded trade, and raise the minimum wage.



1. The private sector has added 13.1 million jobs over 66 straight months of job growth, extending the longest streak on record. Today we learned that private-sector employment rose by 140,000 in August, below the recent pace. Despite the monthly volatility in employment growth, long-term trends remain strong. The unemployment rate declined to 5.1 percent, its lowest level since early 2008, while the labor force participation rate remained stable. Wages continued to rise, with average hourly earnings for all private-sector workers up 2.2 percent over the past year.

Jobs chart August 2015

2. Over the past twelve months, rising real hourly earnings accounted for close to 40 percent of the increase in real aggregate weekly earnings. Aggregate weekly earnings are the total wages and salaries paid to all private employees on nonfarm payrolls. Changes in aggregate earnings can be driven by contributions from employment, from the length of the average workweek, and from average hourly earnings. The large contribution of rising hourly earnings is a recent trend. Aggregate earnings reached a cyclical trough in December 2009, and over the following year-and-a-half, real hourly wages declined. The aggregate earnings increase during that early period was more than accounted for by a combination of rising employment and a longer workweek. Over the next three years, both hourly earnings and the workweek were largely stable, with rising employment accounting for more than 80 percent of the growth in aggregate earnings. Real wage growth over the past year has been a major contributor to the speed-up in aggregate earnings, due to both rising nominal wages and slowing consumer price growth as oil prices have declined. 

Contributions to real aggregate weekly earnings growth

3. Across most industries, real weekly earnings for production and nonsupervisory workers have grown at a faster pace during this business cycle than the previous cycle. Real weekly earnings have grown faster since 2008—including both recession and recovery—than during the previous recession and recovery. Wage gains relative to the previous business cycle have been especially pronounced in the transportation, wholesale trade, retail trade, financial activities, and other services sectors, while mining & logging, education & health services, and leisure & hospitality are the only sectors to have underperformed. Relative employment trends are more diffuse, with some industries growing at a slower pace during this cycle (such as financial activities and construction, which grew quickly during the 2000s). Notably, manufacturing contracted during the 2000s but has since reversed that trend and outpaced the previous business cycle.

Employment and earnings by industry

4. Summer seasonal fluctuations in auto manufacturing employment have moderated during this recovery as demand for autos continues to grow. Historically, large auto manufacturers tended to shed jobs in July and recoup many of them in August, as manufacturing plants typically shut down temporarily in July. But over this recovery, auto manufacturers have reduced these seasonal fluctuations. During the previous business cycle, July losses tended to exceed August gains, with auto manufacturing losing jobs on balance over the summer. But since the financial crisis, July losses and August gains have tended to balance one another. The summer turnover has decreased against a backdrop of continued strong growth in auto sales. Indeed, 2015 is on pace to be the strongest year for car and truck sales since 2001. Overall, the auto industry has added over 600,000 new jobs since Chrysler and General Motors emerged from bankruptcy in mid-2009—including solid growth in both the manufacturing and retail sectors.

Summer changes in auto manufacturing employment

5. The distribution of job growth across industries in August generally followed recent trends, with this month’s slower growth affecting a number of industries. Despite the overall slower pace of job growth, above-average gains relative to the past year were seen in State and local government (+31,000), financial activities (+19,000), utilities (+2,000), Federal government (+2,000), and health care and social assistance (+56,000). August was an especially weak month in manufacturing (-17,000), information services (-7,000), professional and business services (+22,000, excluding temporary help), and other services (-4,000). Across the 17 industries shown below, the correlation between the most recent one-month percent change and the average percent change over the last twelve months rose to 0.92 from 0.68 last month, well above the average correlation over the past two years.

Employment growth by industry

As the Administration stresses every month, the monthly employment and unemployment figures can be volatile, and payroll employment estimates can be subject to substantial revision. Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, and it is informative to consider each report in the context of other data as they become available.

Jason Furman is Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.

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