According to the mostly good jobs numbers, September saw total employment rise to 158.3 million as the unemployment rate dropped to 3.5%. However, job openings are falling – perhaps because more positions are being filled. Total vacancies declined 277,000 to 7.02 million, which, thankfully, still outpaces the 5.8 million job seekers. BUT, the number of people quitting their jobs also fell by 103,000 to 3.5 million during the month. The quit rate, now at 2.3%, is seen as a measure of confidence and mobility in the labor market.
The twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are the largest in the nation, accounting for a third of US imports. Due to high labor costs and logistics challenges, the port is introducing robots to help speed turnaround times and boost productivity. Dock workers, unionized employees paid by the hour, fear displacement and oppose the automation. Truckers, usually independent contractors paid by the load, celebrate the move. Friction has always existed between the two groups of workers, and the arrival of the machines isn't exactly helping matters.
While your home internet buffers at the exact worst possible moment while you're playing Fortnite, researchers doing science up at the Arctic are getting speeds of over 100Mbps thanks to small-satellite company Kepler. The startup’s low-orbit nanosatellites provide scientists at Earth’s poles with blazing fast internet for bulk data transfer as they study the impact of climate change and binge episodes of The Crown.
LA is famous for its sunny weather (Rain? Never heard of her.), and now the city is putting all that sunshine to work. Mayor Eric Garcetti and the City Council voted unanimously on an ambitious project to capture and store energy for nearly one million residents, reducing the need for natural gas when the sun isn’t shining. The Eland Solar and Storage Center is set to become the largest solar and battery energy storage system in the United States and will help the city reach 55% renewable energy by 2025.
A quick internet search reveals that Falcon Heavy launches cost SpaceX customers between $90 million and $150 million, and the aerospace disruptor has had no problem signing up companies as the prices are still much lower than alternatives. Now, Elon Musk is saying that its truly reusable rocket, Starship, could fly for as little as $2 million a launch. The incredible cost savings come from not having to throw away or refurbish vehicle parts as has been tradition. At that rock bottom price, the internet could quickly crowdsource a launch into space.
A bi-weekly roundup of the latest happenings in industrial tech, hiring and the future of work.