Resilient Job Market: US Worker Compensation Exceeds Projections

Total compensation for U.S. workers showed faster-than-expected growth in the last quarter, indicating the continued strength of the job market. The Employment Cost Index increased by 1.1% in the third quarter, outpacing the 1% gain in the second quarter, with wage growth accelerating at a healthy 1.2%. However, from a year earlier, wages and benefits grew at a slower pace, reflecting a potential challenge for the Federal Reserve, which is tasked with managing inflation amid the highest interest rates in 22 years. Some argue that wage growth may be contributing to upward price pressures, but economists are divided on the extent to which it is driving inflation. The data also highlights variations in pay gains across industries, with different rates for production and service workers. Despite a strong labor market and low unemployment rates, some expect the pace of hiring and economic growth to slow in the coming months due to higher borrowing costs and potential government shutdowns.

Source: CNN


Small Businesses Get Legal Shield as FTC Halts Merchant Cash Advance Abuses

In a significant development for small businesses, Jonathan Braun, the individual behind the small-business funding company RCG Advances, is now facing a permanent ban from participating in the merchant cash advance and debt collection industries as a result of a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) lawsuit. This verdict follows a summary judgment issued by a federal court, along with a permanent injunction against Braun. The FTC’s lawsuit, initiated in June 2020, alleged that Braun and other defendants engaged in deceptive practices and employed unfair collection methods, including unauthorized withdrawals and the imposition of confessions of judgment on small businesses and their owners. The court’s summary judgment underscores that Braun’s extensive misconduct violated the FTC Act and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, making him responsible for the resulting damages. The implications for small businesses are clear, as the permanent injunction not only mandates the removal of negative credit information but also sets strict standards against deception and unauthorized charges, safeguarding small businesses from such practices.

Source: The Federal Trade Commission


OpenAI’s ChatGPT PDF Update Poses Threat to Wrapper Startups

OpenAI’s recent introduction of a beta feature for ChatGPT, allowing users to upload and interact with PDFs, may have significant implications for startups that have built their businesses around ChatGPT’s limitations. These startups, known as “wrapper startups,” provide services by wrapping around an API like ChatGPT. The update poses a challenge for these companies as ChatGPT’s enhanced capabilities could render their offerings redundant. This change raises questions about the value proposition of these startups and whether they can remain competitive in a landscape where the core technology is increasingly accessible. The risk for these wrapper startups is that, without a substantial differentiator, investors will reevaluate their support for such ventures.

Source: Business Insider