The federal government is wondering whether the Chinese were behind the computer breach that could affect as many as four million federal employees. There is other big news here for June 5, 2015.
Jobs Report Very Positive
The federal government Friday said the U.S. economy created 280,000 jobs in May, more than expected, which confirms the overwhelming view that growth is back on track after a slow start to 2015. The unemployment rate actually increased slightly to 5.5 percent because the labor force participation rate increase to 62.9 percent. Wages also showed growth, rising eight cents an hour, which translates to a 2.3 percent annualized increase. Economists had expected a gain of only 225,000 jobs.
Feds Hacked, Did Chinese Do It?
The U.S. government notified millions of employees Thursday that personal information was compromised in a computer hack, and the government believes the Chinese had something to do with it. Chinese officials Friday reacted angrily at the accusation, saying the U.S. Government has no proof of its involvement. There was a data breach in the U.S. agencies of the Office of Personnel Management and the Interior Department, and those hacks allowed the criminals access to millions of records of government employees in other departments. The OPM is the department that handles security clearances for the government. An unnamed government source says this is the largest theft of government data ever.
General Electric Running From Taxes
General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt said the company may move out of its Connecticut headquarters after the state’s recently passed budget included some business taxes. Immelt told employees at the Connecticut offices a company team was exploring a move to a state with “a more pro-business environment.” This was the reaction after the new Connecticut budget seemed to indicate it would impose “significant and retroactive tax increases for business,’’ according to GE. Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy said Thursday he would consider revising some tax provisions as a result of the backlash announced from GE and other businesses in the state.
Greece to Bundle Creditor Payments
Officials from debt-plagued Greece said Thursday that the country won't make a 300 million euro loan repayment due Friday to the International Monetary Fund and instead will bundle four scheduled paybacks into one by June 30, the Associated Press reports. Greece owes its creditors, including the IMF, the European Central Bank and the European Commission, a total of about 1.6 billion euros by the end of the month. Member countries can ask to roll together separate payments due in the same month "to address the administrative difficulty of making multiple payments in a short period," the IMF said. The request came a day after Greece and its creditors failed to make much headway in the latest round of their protracted bailout discussions.
IMF to Fed: Delay Rate Hike
When should the United States Federal Reserve raise interest rates? The International Monetary Fund weighed in Thursday in its annual assessment of the economy, urging the Fed to delay a rate hike until the first half of 2016 until there are signs of a pickup in wages and inflation. The fund's report comes amid signs that some rate setters at the U.S. central bank are also pushing for rate hikes to be delayed until there are clearer signs of a sustained recovery. U.S. data has been mixed and the economy shrank 0.7 percent in the first quarter.
FDA Backs “Female Viagra”
The Food and Drug Administration voted 18-6 Thursday in favor of an experimental drug intended to boost the female sex drive, but stressed that it must carry safety restrictions to manage side effects including fatigue, low blood pressure and fainting, the Associated Press reports. The positive recommendation is a major victory for a drug sometimes referred to as "female Viagra," but which has been hamstrung for years by concerns about its lackluster effectiveness and safety issues. The FDA has twice rejected the drug developed by Sprout Pharmaceuticals since 2010.