Elon Musk jabs at second place Jeff Bezos 🥈 as lead builds as the richest person on Earth

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USA TODAY 12 October, 2021 - 07:11am 3 views

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Diane Swonk on economic recovery, stimulus

The U.S. economy appears to be sliding into another recession based on declining consumer sentiment – even though employment and wage growth suggest otherwise, according to two academic economists.

New research published last week by David Blanchflower of Dartmouth College and Alex Bryson of the University College London suggests that consumer expectations indexes from the Conference Board and the University of Michigan tend to predict economic downturns up to 18 months in advance in the U.S.

Every recession since the 1980s has been precipitated by at least a 10-point drop in the expectations indices, they found. Other reliable indicators include a single monthly rise of at least 0.3 percentage points in unemployment and two consecutive months of employment rate declines.

"The economic situation in 2021 is exceptional, however, since unprecedented direct government intervention in the labor market through furlough-type arrangements has enabled employment rates to recover quickly from the huge downturn in 2020," Blanchflower and Bryson wrote. "However, downward movements in consumer expectations in the last six months suggest the economy in the United States is entering recession now (Autumn 2021)."

The Conference Board’s gauge of expectations declined in September to the lowest since November last year, marking the third consecutive month of declines. At the same time, the University of Michigan's gauge actually increased last month.

The economists highlighted data suggesting the Conference Board expectations peaked in March 2021 and then fell by 26 points through September 2021. The Michigan data, meanwhile, likely peaked in June 2021 and fell by 18 points by August, they found.

The "clear downward movements in consumer expectations" over the past six months are evidence the U.S. is currently heading into a recession, the economists said. Although that's not reflected in the hiring situation – the unemployment rate is falling and the economy is adding jobs, albeit at a slower-than-expected pace – that's likely because the U.S. government has played a large role in propping up the labor market.

"It seems to us that there is every likelihood that the US is entered recession at the end of 2021," they wrote.

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Musk Widens Richie-Rich Gap, Trolls Bezos

Newser 12 October, 2021 - 02:09pm

(Newser) – Elon Musk is pulling further ahead of Jeff Bezos as the world's richest man, and trolling all the way. Privately-held SpaceX saw its valuation rise to $100.3 billion this week as insiders agreed to sell up to $755 million in stock to new and existing investors at $560 per share, reports CNBC. That meant Musk’s personal wealth increased more than $10 billion, per CNN. It now stands at $224 billion, according to Bloomberg's Billionaires Index. The SpaceX and Tesla CEO celebrated by trolling the world's second-richest man and his space-race rival, Amazon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos, whose wealth stands at $189 billion.

In a Sunday tweet, Bezos pointed to a 1999 Barron's cover article that predicted Amazon would fail. "Don't let anybody tell you who you are … Today, Amazon is one of the world's most successful companies and has revolutionized two entirely different industries," he wrote. To that, Musk replied Monday with an emoji of a silver medal marked with the number two—which Mashable found "petty." Musk's SpaceX is now the world's second-most valuable private company behind China's Bytedance, owner of TikTok, per CNBC. Its current valuation represents a 33% increase over its February valuation of $74 billion. Tesla shares are climbing, too. They're up 13% year-to-date, following a rocky start to 2021, CNN reports. (Read more Elon Musk stories.)

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