Business Stories of the Week: June 2

by June 2, 2017
Photo "Eiffel Tower_Wide-1" by Flickr user gckwolfe, Creative Commons Flickr user under 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) license.

Despite serious consequences for U.S. businesses, President Trump announced Thursday that the U.S. will exit the Paris climate deal, making it one of three countries on the planet not part of the agreement. (“Eiffel Tower_Wide-1” by Flickr user gckwolfe, CC BY 2.0)

Business leaders slam Paris pullout

In what is considered to be a significant policy break with nearly every other nation on the planet and a major reversal of the former administration’s efforts on climate change, President Trump announced he will withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement, the Washington Post reported on Thursday. While Trump has argued that the deal is unfair to American companies and that withdrawing from the agreement is a reassertion of U.S. sovereignty, the risks associated are hefty: Backing out of the accord could anger business leaders who were hoping that the U.S. would have a seat at the Paris table to protect their interests in trade and intellectual property, and it could permanently yield global climate leadership to China, The Atlantic reported.

Amazon stock hits new highs

In a moment of market delight, Amazon’s stock briefly hit $1,000 a share on Tuesday, thanks to blockbuster earnings reported by the company in April. As Bloomberg explained, the company’s continued success is due in part to its commitment to pursuing projects that seem baffling to outsiders but pay off in the long run — take its TV distribution and cloud computing services, for example. And now, the company is continuing to grow its brick-and-mortar locations, essentially replacing the bookstores that it helped drive out of business in years past.

We’ve (maybe) reached full employment

For about a year now, unemployment rates have remained under 5 percent, prompting some economists to declare that the country has reached full employment, which is loosely defined as the point where everyone who wants a job has one. But many Americans report still feeling insecure about their economic standing, the Atlantic reported last week, and wage and productivity growth has stayed relatively stagnant, leaving many economists unsure about whether the U.S. has truly reached that goal.

Credit scores soar

Thanks to falling unemployment and continued economic growth, credit scores for U.S. consumers reached record highs this spring, while the share of Americans deemed to be the riskiest borrowers hit a new low, Fox Business reported on Monday. This potential boon for the lending industry is thanks primarily to the passage of time: As foreclosures and bankruptcies from years past fall off consumers’ records, scores climb higher and higher.

Winds change for energy companies

There may be a new barrier to expanding wind power throughout the U.S., and it’s not a lack of wind. As The New York Times reported on Tuesday, a new study ordered by Energy Secretary Rick Perry could lead to a change in the policies that have helped the wind and solar industries flourish. The internal study aims to determine whether federal subsidies that encourage alternative power sources are putting more conventional power plants at a disadvantage, and could signal a loss in subsidies for wind farms.

Financial sector gives up its gains

The financial sector, which is composed of firms like insurance companies and banks, gave up all of its annual gains on Thursday, CNBC reported. The drop is related to falling rates and concerns about global growth—and it’s causing some strategists to worry about the overall health of the economy. Investors in the sector were betting on economic growth, reflation around the world, deregulation and interest rate normalization following the election, but these things have become less certain under the new administration.