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posted on 11 June 2017

Early Headlines: Vanishing Summer Jobs, Romney To Run Again?, Sessions To Testify, Factories Can't Restore Amer. Dream, Qatar Losing Big $, Lost N. Amer. Gardens, And More

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Early Bird Headlines 11 June 2017

Econintersect: Here are some of the headlines we found to help you start your day. For more headlines see our afternoon feature for GEI members, What We Read Today, which has many more headlines and a number of article discussions to keep you abreast of what we have found interesting.


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The summer teenage workforce has cratered. Are kids these days just lazy? Prioritizing “experiences" that will sparkle on college applications? Competing for jobs with more older Americans or immigrants? In the summers of the late ’80s, nearly 70 percent of 16- to 19-year-olds were in the workforce, meaning they either had a job or were looking for one. Last July, that figure was down to 43 percent - 10 points lower than it was just 10 years ago. If teenagers want them, the jobs are there. More employers are hiring this summer: 41 percent, up from 29 percent last year, according to a CareerBuilder survey. They could just be stuck in summer school, Ben Steverman reports. More than 40% of 16- to 19-year-olds these days go to school in July, up from about 30% in 2001 and about 15% in 1993, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  • THE MEMO: Team Trump sees silver lining in Comey cloud (The Hill) Aides and allies of President Trump are focused on the upside of former FBI director James Comey’s momentous testimony to Congress. But the president himself has been getting in the way of that rosey scenario with pronouncements like the ones Friday where he said he would “100 percent" be willing to testify under oath about his exchanges with Comey; and accused the former FBI director of saying things that “just weren’t true" under oath.

  • Romney stokes speculation he’s weighing another political run (Politico) The 2012 GOP nominee is plotting how to help Republicans in the midterms, and he’s being coy about his own political future.

  • Poll shows Americans find Comey more trustworthy than Trump (The Hill) Americans find former FBI Director James Comey to be more trustworthy than President Trump, according to a new Huffington Post/YouGov poll. The poll shows that 46% of Americans polled say Comey is more honest and trustworthy than the president. The poll said 26% found Trump more trustworthy than Comey.

  • Sessions says he will discuss Comey with Senate panel (Reuters) U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a letter on Saturday that he will appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday to address matters former FBI Director James Comey brought up this week in testimony to the same panel. In a letter seen by Reuters, Sessions told Senator Richard Shelby, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies, that the intelligence committee is the "most appropriate" place to address matters that came up during Comey's hearing on Thursday. The letter did not say whether Sessions planned to give public testimony or to appear before the panel behind closed doors.

  • Factories Won’t Bring Back the American Dream (Bloomberg) The U.S. is already a manufacturing powerhouse, no matter what the president says.

The president, though, is plain wrong. Factories won’t restore the American dream. That’s because they don’t contribute as much to the economy as they once did, despite all the fuss politicians make over them. Chasing them with pro-factory policies will not only fail to bring the benefits Trump has promised but could also hurt the very middle-class families they’re designed to help.

This strategy is based on flawed thinking. Manufacturing is certainly not as important to the U.S. economy as it once was, declining to less than 12 percent of gross domestic product in 2016 from 26 percent 50 years earlier. But the whole idea that “we don’t make anything," as Trump himself has put it, is a fallacy. The U.S. remains a production powerhouse, accounting for almost 19 percent of global manufacturing, behind China’s 25 percent but bigger than Germany’s and Japan’s shares combined.

What Trump fails to appreciate is that the true value in making something is no longer in making it. Companies figured out long ago that they can capture most of the value of a product by focusing on its design and research and development, its branding, and the services that support it after it’s been sold. Stan Shih, the founder of Taiwan’s Acer Inc., illuminated this phenomenon in the early 1990s with his “smile curve." The middle of the smile - the lowest point of value - is where the fabrication takes place; the highest value is found at the corners - the R&D at the beginning and the customer service at the end.


  • U.S., Turkey discuss Qatar row, Syria on phone call: sources (Reuters) U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu discussed developments in Syria and in the row between Qatar and its fellow Arab states on a phone call late on Saturday, Turkish foreign ministry sources said.

The call, held at Tillerson's request, came after Tillerson on Friday urged Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states to ease their blockade of Qatar, saying it was causing unintended humanitarian consequences and affecting the U.S.-led fight against Islamic State.


  • Qatar Assets Pile Up Losses as Tension With Arab Nations Swells (Bloomberg) Hat tip to Roger Erickson. Investors in Qatari stocks, bonds and currency forwards were saddled with losses this week as the country was thrust into the epicenter of an unprecedented spat with its neighbors. The country’s stock market shrank by about $11 billion in value on Tuesday, the most since 2010, after Middle Eastern countries including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates cut ties with the Gulf nation. The country’s most liquid bonds tumbled during the week as its sovereign rating was cut and bets against its currency surged. Contracts to protect against a potential default are now at a higher level than those of Peru and Slovenia.


  • Russia says tells U.S. not to strike Syrian pro-government forces again (Reuters) Russia said on Saturday it had told the United States it was unacceptable for Washington to strike pro-government forces in Syria after the U.S. military carried out an air strike on pro-Assad militia last month. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov relayed the message to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in a phone call on Saturday initiated by the U.S. side, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. U.S. officials told Reuters last month that the U.S. military carried out the air strike against militia supported by the government of President Bashar al-Assad which it said posed a threat to U.S. forces and U.S.-backed Syrian fighters in the country's south.



  • In the Land of Lost Gardens (Hakai Magazine) Hat tip to Roger Erickson. Tireless in her quest, ethnobotanist Nancy Turner works with indigenous elders to preserve plant knowledge dating back to the First People in the New World. Before the Europeans became an invasive species, the meadows, marshes, and forest clearings of the New World were a vast network of planted fields and gardens. Many of the crop plants of this agricultural society have been nearly lost and Turner is working with First Nations people to try to recover and restore the plants to a place in the North American diet and medicinal use.

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