Here are six takeaways from the August jobs report.

The Labor Department report indicates that the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus has hampered hiring.,

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Stocks on Wall Street dipped in midday trading after the government reported that employers added just 235,000 jobs in August, far below economists expectations for a gain of 725,000.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq composite declined 0.3 percent in early trading.

Other data from the Labor Department was more upbeat: The unemployment rate fell, as economists had predicted, to 5.2 percent from 5.4 percent, and wage growth was faster than expected.

Markets could struggle to interpret such a mixed report. The slowdown in hiring could give the Federal Reserve more room to decide when to roll back monetary stimulus, but economists are closely watching wages for signs of sustained higher inflation that the central bank wants to avoid.

“The Fed has to be careful in how they guide the markets around the timing of taper,” said Michelle Meyer, the chief U.S. economist at Bank of America, referring to a slowdown in the pace of the central bank’s bond-buying program. “It will be a function of the data flow and, specifically, how the economy reacts to the movement of Delta.”

After the report, bond yields dropped before almost immediately rebounding. The 10-year yield on U.S. Treasury notes was 1.33 percent, up from 1.29 percent before the data was released.

The slowdown in hiring came in August as the spread of the Delta variant caused Americans to pull back on spending in restaurants and on other services, while businesses have reported challenges in finding new staff. Hiring in the leisure and hospitality sectors was flat, the Labor Department said, after increasing on average of 350,000 per month for the previous six months.

The absence of hiring in the these low-wage sectors helped push overall wage growth higher, Paul Ashworth, an economist at Capital Economics, wrote in a note.

“That puts the Fed in an uncomfortable position — with the slowdown in the real economy and employment growth accompanied by signs of even more upward pressure on wages and prices,” Mr. Ashworth wrote.

Kraft Heinz was accused by the Securities and Exchange Commission of inflating its cost savings.
Kraft Heinz was accused by the Securities and Exchange Commission of inflating its cost savings.Credit…Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

When Kraft merged with Heinz in 2015, it was meant to be another chance for the private equity firm 3G Capital to apply the same ruthless cost savings it had already introduced at Heinz and had used throughout the consumer goods industry. But at Kraft Heinz, the strategy was pushed too far, federal regulators said.

On Friday, the Securities and Exchange Commission said it had charged the packaged food giant and two former executives with a “scheme” to inflate those cost savings. Kraft Heinz will pay $62 million to settle the case.

“Kraft and its former executives are charged with engaging in improper expense management practices that spanned many years and involved numerous misleading transactions, millions in bogus cost savings and a pervasive breakdown in accounting controls,” Anita Bandy, an associate director of the S.E.C.’s enforcement division, said in a statement.

“Kraft and its former executives are being held accountable for placing the pursuit of cost savings above compliance with the law,” she added.

Kraft Heinz has “fully cooperated” with the S.E.C. investigation, said Kathy Krenger, a spokeswoman for the company.

“The internal control weaknesses we identified and disclosed in 2019 were fully remediated in 2020,” Ms. Krenger said. “Kraft Heinz is much stronger today because of the actions we took and embedded into our company culture.”

The company neither admitted nor denied the S.E.C.’s findings.

Kraft Heinz set performance targets for its procurement division tied to achieving cost savings that the company had promised investors in the wake of the merger, the S.E.C. said in its lawsuit. But by 2017, Kraft Heinz had “largely exhausted its ability” to extract more savings from the 2015 merger, just as it as was facing inflationary headwinds.

Kraft Heinz’s former chief operating officer, Eduardo Pelleissone, continued to push for “unreasonable” levels of cost savings, the suit alleges, and the division improperly recognized 59 transactions.

The suit charges Mr. Pelleissone with ignoring warning signs of the accounting misconduct and the company’s former chief procurement officer, Klaus Hofmann, with failing to design effective accounting controls.

Mr. Pelleissone agreed to penalties totaling $314,211. Mr. Hofmann agreed to a fine of $100,000 and a ban on serving as an officer or director of a public company for five years.

Lawyers for Mr. Pelleissone and Mr. Hofmann did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Neither man admitted wrongdoing.

Kraft Heinz first disclosed the S.E.C. inquiry in early 2019, the same day it announced it would be writing down the value of its Kraft and Oscar Mayer brands by more than $15 billion, sending its shares in a tailspin. As the company worked through issues with regulators, it twice delayed its annual report and unveiled further write-downs of its well-known brands.

Warren Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway teamed up with 3G on the 2015 merger, has since said he “overpaid” for the packaged food giant. Berkshire owns a little over a quarter of the company.

A number of senior executives have left Kraft Heinz since the 2019 disclosure, including Bernardo Hees, who had served as chief executive, and David Knopf, who had been the chief financial officer.

James Simons, the founder of Renaissance Technologies, which will settle a long-running dispute with the I.R.S.
James Simons, the founder of Renaissance Technologies, which will settle a long-running dispute with the I.R.S.Credit…Daniel Rosenbaum for The New York Times

Renaissance Technologies said on Thursday it had agreed to settle a long-running dispute with the Internal Revenue Service with a settlement that will require current and former insiders — including its founder — to pay billions in taxes, interest and penalties.

The settlement, which involves 10 years’ worth of trades made by the hedge fund, could be worth as much as $7 billion, according to a person with knowledge of the agreement. That makes it one of the largest federal tax disputes in history, report Matthew Goldstein and Kate Kelly of The New York Times.

James Simons, the mathematician who pioneered an algorithmic approach with the founding of Renaissance, and six other people who were on the board from 2005 to 2015 along with their spouses will pay the additional taxes owed, plus interest and penalties. Mr. Simons will also make a payment of $670 million on top of those obligations.

Included in that group is Robert Mercer, a former Renaissance co-chief whose support of conservative causes — including his help founding the now-defunct political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica — unnerved some of the firm’s investors. Cambridge Analytica was at the heart of a scandal for harvesting Facebook data without users’ consent in a bid to assist Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Other investors will also owe taxes and interest, but no penalties, according to a letter that Peter Brown, the firm’s chief executive, sent to investors.

The settlement centered on the firm’s Medallion fund, which manages about $15 billion, mostly for employees and former employees of the firm and their family members. The dispute involved the tax treatment of certain transactions by Renaissance, which specializes in rapid-fire trades. The hedge fund argued that many of its trades were eligible to be taxed at a lower long-term capital gains rate because it had converted them into longer-term holdings through the use of complex financial instruments. The I.R.S. disagreed, saying the short-term rate was appropriate.

The dispute involved a congressional inquiry and a rewriting of I.R.S. guidance that sought to clamp down on that type of trading.

One Apple feature would allow parents to activate an alert when their children sent or received nude photos in text messages.
One Apple feature would allow parents to activate an alert when their children sent or received nude photos in text messages.Credit…Apple

Apple said on Friday that it would delay its rollout of child safety measures, which would have allowed it to scan users’ iPhones to detect images of child sexual abuse, after criticism from privacy groups.

The company announced in early August that iPhones would begin using complex technology to spot images of child sexual abuse, commonly known as child pornography, that users uploaded to its iCloud storage service. Apple also said it would let parents turn on a feature that could flag them when their children sent or received nude photos in text messages.

The measures faced strong resistance from computer scientists, privacy groups and civil-liberty lawyers because the features represented the first technology that would allow a company to look at a person’s private data and report it to law enforcement authorities.

“Based on feedback from customers, advocacy groups, researchers and others, we have decided to take additional time over the coming months to collect input and make improvements before releasing these critically important child safety features,” Apple said in statement posted to its website.

The feature would have allowed Apple’s virtual assistant, Siri, to direct people who asked about child sexual abuse to appropriate resources, as well as enable parents to turn on technology that scans images in their children’s text messages for nudity.

The tool that generated the most backlash, however, was a software program that would have scanned users’ iPhone photos and compared them with a database of known child sexual abuse images.

The tech giant announced the changes after reports in The New York Times showed the proliferation of child sexual abuse images online.

Matthew Green, a computer science professor at Johns Hopkins University, said that once the ability to sift through users’ private photos was out there, it would have been ripe for misuse. Governments, for example, could potentially lean on Apple’s technology to help track down dissidents.

Apple argued that it was “going to resist pressure from all governments in the world, including China,” Mr. Green said. “That didn’t seem like a very safe system.”

Apple did not appear to anticipate such a backlash. When the company announced the changes, it sent reporters technical explainers and statements from child-safety groups and computer scientists applauding the effort.

But Mr. Green said the company’s move did not seem to take into account the views of the privacy and child safety communities. “If I could have designed a rollout that was intended to fail, it would have looked like this one,” he said.

What matters, experts said, is what Apple will do now that it has hit pause. Will it cancel the initiative entirely, simply roll out nearly identical features after a delay or find a middle ground?

“We look forward to hearing more about how Apple intends to change or improve its planned capabilities to tackle these problems without undermining end-to-end encryption, privacy and free expression,” Samir Jain, the policy director for the Center for Democracy and Technology, an advocacy group, said in a statement.

Joe Mullin, a policy analyst with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights group, said the foundation had a petition with more than 25,000 signatures asking Apple not to introduce the feature. He said that it was “great that they’re taking a moment to think things over,” but that he and other privacy coalitions would continue to plead with Apple to abandon its plan altogether.

Tyson Foods said that roughly 75 percent of its U.S. work force has received at least one dose of the vaccine.
Tyson Foods said that roughly 75 percent of its U.S. work force has received at least one dose of the vaccine.Credit…Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Tyson Foods said it will provide 20 hours of paid sick time a year to fully vaccinated employees to enhance benefits for workers willing to receive coronavirus vaccinations.

The new benefit, announced on Friday, came after discussions with the United Food & Commercial Workers, which represents several thousand Tyson workers, over the company’s requirement that all of its U.S. workers be vaccinated “as a condition of employment” by Nov. 1. The paid sick leave policy takes effect on Jan. 1, and also applies to all nonunion employees.

Tyson also said that fully vaccinated employees can take up to two weeks of paid administrative leave if they test positive for Covid-19 over the next six months. The company said it would compensate workers for time spent in “educational sessions about the benefits and risks of the Covid vaccines.”

The union had initially expressed reservations when Tyson announced the vaccine mandate last month, but applauded the paid sick leave benefit on Friday, saying it was the first national agreement that provides such a benefit to meatpacking workers. Union officials have said that providing paid sick time is important so workers can still be paid if they miss work or experience some of the vaccines’ common side effects.

“Vaccine mandates, like all Covid workplace safety policies, must be negotiated with workers to build the trust and strong consensus needed for these safeguards to be effective,” the U.F.C.W. president, Marc Perrone, said in a statement.

On Friday, Tyson said that about 90,000, or roughly 75 percent, of its U.S. work force has received at least one dose of the vaccine. More than 30,000 workers have been vaccinated since the company announced its mandate in early August.

Tyson said it now has the support of the U.F.C.W. and the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union for its vaccine policies. Together, those unions represents more than 80 percent of the company’s 31,000 unionized employees.

“Getting vaccinated remains the single most effective thing we can do to fight this pandemic and continue to help feed this country and our world,” Johanna Soderstrom, Tyson’s chief human resources officer, said in a statement.

Stuart Appelbaum, president of the retail wholesale union, said the paid sick time agreement with Tyson,” is a clear blueprint many other industries can and should follow.”

“Everything I invest in is a creator-focused company,” said Li Jin, founder of Atelier Ventures.
“Everything I invest in is a creator-focused company,” said Li Jin, founder of Atelier Ventures.Credit…Ross Mantle for The New York Times

If there is such a thing as an It Girl in venture capital these days, Li Jin would fill the bill. She sits at the intersection of start-up investing and the fast-growing ecosystem of online creators, both of which are red hot.

She formed her own venture firm, Atelier Ventures, last year and has raised a relatively small $13 million for a fund, but Ms. Jin was among the first investors in Silicon Valley to take influencers seriously and has written about and backed creators for years, Taylor Lorenz reports for The New York Times.

A Harvard graduate who was inspired by the ideas of Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx, Ms. Jin, 31, is also aggressively pro-worker. She has made it clear in podcasts and her Substack newsletter that creators should get the same rights as other workers. Among the ideas she has championed is a “universal creative income,” which would guarantee creators a base amount of money to live on.

Now as large venture capital firms flock to influencer start-ups, and as Facebook, YouTube and others introduce $1 billion creator funds, Ms. Jin’s track record has made her a go-to business guru for many digital stars who are trying to navigate the fast-changing landscape.

Hank Green, 41, a top creator on YouTube and TikTok, said he often tossed ideas back and forth with her by phone. Markian Benhamou, 23, a YouTuber with more than 1.4 million subscribers, credited her with understanding what creators go through. Marina Mogilko, 31, a YouTube creator in Los Altos, Calif., said Ms. Jin “started the whole creator economy movement in Silicon Valley.”

“She was talking about the creator economy years and years and years before anyone else was,” said Jack Conte, a co-founder and the chief executive of Patreon, a crowdfunding site for content creators. “She really sees the future before other people do.”

The best indicator of the economy’s health is the Labor Department’s monthly jobs report. Here’s how to decode it:

The jobs report is based on two surveys.

One counts people, and the other counts jobs. They generally point to parallel trends, but there are some notable differences.

The household survey counts how many people are in the labor force — either working or actively looking for work.

Lately that’s been around 161 million, still fewer than before the pandemic.

The number that gets the most attention — the overall increase or decrease in jobs — comes from the survey of employers. Before the pandemic, a gain of 100,000 to 200,000 would be considered solid. But with the economy still nearly six million jobs short of where it was before the pandemic, it takes a bigger increase for a report to qualify as good news.

So far this year, the monthly gains have averaged slightly under 600,000.

The unemployment rate is the percentage of those people who aren’t working. Early last year, that rate was at its lowest point in decades — 3.5 percent. When the pandemic hit, it shot up to 14.8 percent. It has fallen steadily since then, to 5.2 percent in August.

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If the unemployment rate goes up, that isn’t always purely bad news.

Sometimes the number goes down because people have stopped looking for work, so they aren’t counted as part of the labor force.

And sometimes the unemployment rate goes up because more people have decided to look for work but haven’t found a job yet. That can signal economic optimism.

In a fast-moving economy, the numbers behind the monthly jobs report are a bit dated. The household survey is generally conducted on the calendar week that includes the 12th of the month, and the survey of employers is taken in the pay period that includes the 12th.

The employer survey, with a bigger sample, is considered more reliable. But it does not take into account the self-employed, unpaid family workers, domestic help or agricultural workers.

Generally, the numbers are seasonally adjusted. That means the effects of ordinary weather changes, major holidays and school schedules are removed so that underlying trends are more evident.

Employers have faced challenges hiring and retaining workers during the pandemic.
Employers have faced challenges hiring and retaining workers during the pandemic.Credit…Matt Rourke/Associated Press
  • Walmart is raising hourly wages for about 565,000 workers in the latest example of a large employer trying to attract and retain employees in a challenging labor environment. The pay raise, which will total at least $1 an hour and will take effect Sept. 25, will apply to workers in departments such as food and general merchandise. The company’s average wage will rise to $16.40, Walmart said, though its minimum wage still lags that of other large retailers such as Target and Amazon. As of Sept. 25, Walmart’s minimum starting wage will rise to $12 an hour from $11.

  • Uber postponed its return-to-office date to Jan. 10, after earlier delaying it to Oct. 25 from Sept. 25.

  • Locast, a nonprofit streaming service that piped local broadcast signals over the internet, is shutting down after a federal judge ruled against the organization in a rare case tackling the legality of network content delivered online. The organization said it was “suspending operations, effective immediately,” and it added that Locast was meant to “operate in accordance with the strict letter of the law,” but had to comply with the ruling, with which it disagreed.

  • A jury of 12 residents of Northern California and five alternates was sworn in on Thursday for the fraud trial of Elizabeth Holmes, the disgraced founder of the blood testing start-up Theranos, which is set to begin next week. Finding jurors who had never heard of Theranos, which collapsed in 2018 after reports that its blood-testing technology did not work as advertised, was a challenge. Scheduling was another issue. The trial is set to last 13 weeks or longer and some jurors were dismissed because they had upcoming surgeries or long-awaited vacations.

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