Jay Kesavan
5 min readAug 14, 2020




The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate dropped for the third straight month, to 10.2% in July — continuing to improve from the high of 14.7% seen in April. However, July unemployment still slightly worse than the depth of the global financial crisis in October 2009, the department said. The metric indicates that roughly 1 in 10 Americans in the labor force can’t find work. The coronavirus pandemic is taking a greater toll on adult women than adult men, with a jobless rate of 10.5% and 9.4%, respectively. The data shows that the number of unemployed individuals on temporary layoff decreased by 1.3 million in July to 9.2 million — that was half of its April level. The number of people experiencing permanent layoffs was unchanged at 2.9 million.


President Donald Trump signs executive order to provide an extra $400 in weekly unemployment benefits, a potential financial lifeline for the nation’s 16.3 million jobless workers. The benefit is intended to replace the previous provision that gave out-of-work Americans an added $600 unemployment benefits that expired on July 31 — reducing the extra jobless benefit to give the unemployed an incentive to go back to work, Trump said. Trump revealed that $300 of the $400 would be paid from federal funds, and $100 will be funded by states. The executive order would defer payroll tax payments for people who earn less than $100,000. The extra benefits are retroactive to August 1, 2020, and will continue until December 6, 2020, Trump said.


July jobs report showed that hiring activity increased for the third straight month. Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 1.8 million in July, a pullback from gains of May and June, and a sign that hiring has stalled. According to the Labor Department, the number of people works part-time rose by 803,000 to 24.0 million in July and while the number of people works full time, at 119.5 million, was little changed. The largest employment gains in July occurred in leisure and hospitality (592,000), retail trade (258,000), government (301,000), and professional and business services (170,000). All sectors are still below February job levels, the department said. Adding 1.8 million jobs in July is not sufficient for any sort of speedy recovery astronomical job losses of early spring, said Nick Bunker, an economist at Indeed Hiring Lab.


According to a KPMG report, stay-at-home and lockdown orders meant a 64% drop in car usage, as an estimated 40% of jobs in the United States could be done remotely, extremely reducing reliance on the private motor vehicle, the report finds. Around 14 million cars could disappear from roads amid the Covid-19 pandemic, as online shopping and remote working have reduced driving in the US, the survey finds. Almost 60% of Americans are shopping online than offline as nearby stores were closed, or to maintain social distancing. If online shopping and work from home trend continue, Americans will drive 435 billion fewer kilometers per year. That’s a drop of just over 9%, KPMG researchers reported.


In the US, the average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage fell to a new record low of 3.14% in the week ending 6th August, down from 3.20% last week — this is the eighth time in 2020 that rates have hit new record lows. The fall saw 30-year fixed rates slide by 11 basis points to a new all-time low 2.88%, according to Freddie Mac. The most previous instance was on July 16, when mortgage rates also dropped below 3% — the lowest level since the government-backed mortgage finance firm started tracking rates in 1971. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, the number of mortgage applications to purchase a home also fell for the week, down 2%, but was 22% higher than a year ago. Analysts expect that the mortgage rate could fall even further depending on the results of the all-important monthly employment report, which will be released later in the week.


SpaceX successfully launched its 10th Starlink mission after weeks of delay, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket sent up 57 Starlink satellites for its Starlink broadband internet constellation, with two BlackSky remote sensing microsatellites, lifted off at 1:12 a.m. EDT on Friday from Pad 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. SpaceX so far launched nearly 600 Starlink satellites to orbit as it continues to build toward its goal of a space-based internet network. SpaceX’s ambitious plan is to have almost 12,000 satellites operating in low-Earth orbit, to provide high-speed internet transmission to users anywhere around the world. In the future, the company plans to launch an additional 30,000 satellites into space.


New York’s 749 school districts will be able to open for in-person instruction this fall, having a virus transmission rate low enough to bring children back into classrooms, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in a news conference call. Currently, all 10 regions in the state have a test-positive rate of well under 5%, so, all schools can reopen everywhere in the state and could be shut down again if that rate increases to 9%, he said. Officials still have to approve each of New York’s 749 school districts’ individual plans. Of those 749 districts, 127 have submitted plans for the 2020–21 school year and about 50 have been rejected, Cuomo says. Click here to see the daily percentage of positive tests by country/region.


With more than 4.8 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 160,090 deaths as of August, the United States is failing to control the pandemic — becoming the world’s hardest-hit country. The new survey finds that U.S. people are facing greater mental health and economic challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic compared to residents of other high-income countries. Nearly one-third of U.S adults reported experiencing stress, greater sadness, and anxiety during the pandemic and 30% of Americans faced negative economic impacts, significantly higher percentage than in any of the other countries, the Commonwealth Fund report revealed. One-third percent of U.S. adults said Trump has done a “good” or “ very good” job in handling the pandemic and about half or more of respondents had positive views, the survey found.


Google announced that it banned almost 2,600 YouTube accounts linked to China, removed during the period from April and June as part of investigations into “coordinated influence operations” on the platform. Most of the channels were taken down in June, which combats government-backed hacking and attack, according to a report by Google’s Threat Analysis Group. The company also said it had terminated 186 YouTube channels in April, and 1,098 YouTube channels in May. It had also deleted YouTube accounts from Russia and Iran that engaged in influence operations. In June, Twitter said it had deleted more than 170000 accounts tied to a Chinese advertising and 150,000 “inflated” accounts that were working to boost the core network’s content.



Jay Kesavan

Ai | Future of Work | Prof. HR Analytics @ NYU