U.S. added a solid 236,000 jobs last month despite Fed’s rate hikes
Employers in the U.S. added a healthy 236,000 jobs in March, suggesting the economy remains on solid footing despite the nine interest rate hikes the Federal Reserve has imposed over the past year in its drive to tame inflation.
The unemployment rate fell to 3.5 per cent, not far above the 53-year low of 3.4 per cent set in January. Last month’s job growth was down from February’s sizzling gain of 326,000.
The March job gain may lead the Fed to conclude that the pace of hiring is still putting upward pressure on wages and inflation, and that further rates hikes may be necessary.
When a central bank tightens credit, it typically leads to higher rates on mortgages, auto loans, credit card borrowing and many business loans.
Manufacturing is weakening. U.S. trade with the rest of the world is declining. Though restaurants, retailers and other services companies are still growing, they are doing so more slowly.
At the same time, some of the details of Friday’s report from the Labour Department raised the possibility that inflationary pressures might be easing and the Fed might soon decide to pause its rate hikes. Average hourly wages were up 4.2 per cent from 12 months earlier, down sharply from a 4.6 per cent year-over-year increase in February.
Measured month to month, wages rose 0.3 per cent from February to March, from a mild 0.2 per cent gain from January to February. But even that figure signalled a slowdown from average wage increases in the final months of 2022.
“Today’s report is a Goldilocks report,” said Daniel Zhao, lead economist at Glassdoor, a website that aggregates employee reviews of companies. “It’s hard to find a way it could have been better. We do see that the job market is cooling, but it’s still resilient.”
Bank failures complicate matters
For Fed officials, taming inflation is their top priority. They were slow to respond after consumer prices started surging in spring 2021, concluding it was only a temporary consequence of supply bottlenecks caused by the economy’s surprisingly explosive rebound from the pandemic recession.
Only in March 2022 did the Fed begin raising its benchmark rate from near zero. In the past year, though, it has raised rates more aggressively than it had since the 1980s to attack the worst inflation bout since then.
As borrowing costs have risen, inflation has steadily eased. The latest year-over-year consumer inflation rate — six per cent — is well below the 9.1 per cent rate it reached last June. But it’s still considerably above the Fed’s two per cent target.
Complicating matters is turmoil in the financial system. Two big American banks failed in March, and higher rates and tighter credit conditions could further destabilize banks and depress borrowing and spending by consumers and businesses.
The Fed is aiming to achieve a soft landing — slowing growth just enough to tame inflation without causing the world’s biggest economy to tumble into recession. Most economists doubt it will work; they expect a recession later this year.
So far, the U.S. economy has proved resilient in the face of ever-higher borrowing costs. The U.S.’s gross domestic product — the economy’s total output of goods and services — expanded at a healthy pace in second half of 2022. Yet recent data suggests that the economy is losing momentum.
On Monday, the Institute for Supply Management, an association of purchasing managers, reported that U.S. manufacturing activity contracted in March for a fifth straight month. Two days later, the ISM said that growth in services, which accounts for the vast majority of U.S. employment, had slowed sharply last month.
On Wednesday, the Commerce Department reported U.S. exports and imports both fell in February in another sign that the global economy is weakening.
The Labour Department on Thursday said it had adjusted the way it calculates how many Americans are filing for unemployment benefits. The tweak added nearly 100,000 claims to its figures for the past two weeks and might explain why heavy layoffs in the tech industry this year had yet to show up on the unemployment rolls.
The Labour Department also reported this week that employers posted 9.9 million job openings in February, the fewest since May 2021 but still far higher than anything seen before 2021.
In its quest for a soft landing, the Fed has expressed hope that employers would ease wage pressures by advertising fewer vacancies rather than by cutting many existing jobs. The Fed also hopes that more Americans will start looking for work, thereby adding to the supply of labour and reducing pressure on employers to raise wages.
Global Logic: Empowering Digital Transformation Through Cutting-Edge Solutions
In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, businesses worldwide are in constant pursuit of innovative solutions that drive growth and efficiency. One company at the forefront of this technological revolution is Global Logic. With its expertise in digital product engineering and a commitment to excellence, It’s transforming industries and empowering organizations to thrive in the era of digital transformation. In this article, we delve into the unique offerings of Global Logic and explore how it is reshaping the way businesses operate in a digital-first world.
Harnessing Technological Expertise
Global Logic stands out as a powerhouse of technological expertise, bringing together a diverse team of professionals skilled in software development, data analytics, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and more. This diverse skill set enables the company to provide comprehensive solutions tailored to meet the specific needs of each client. By harnessing the power of emerging technologies, Global Logic helps businesses unlock new opportunities and gain a competitive edge in an increasingly digital marketplace.
End-to-End Digital Product Engineering
Global Logic specializes in end-to-end digital product engineering, guiding organizations through every stage of the product development lifecycle. From ideation and conceptualization to design, development, and testing, It’s multidisciplinary teams collaborate closely with clients to transform ideas into tangible, market-ready solutions. By leveraging agile methodologies and incorporating user-centric design principles, it ensures that products not only meet the technical requirements but also deliver exceptional user experiences.
Recognizing that different industries have unique challenges and requirements, Global Logic develops industry-specific solutions to address the diverse needs of its clients. Whether it’s healthcare, finance, retail, automotive, or any other sector, Global Logic’s deep industry knowledge allows for tailored solutions that align with specific industry regulations, standards, and market trends. By understanding the intricacies of each sector, it delivers customized solutions that drive innovation and accelerate digital transformation.
Data-Driven Decision Making
Global Logic understands the value of data in today’s business landscape. With its expertise in data analytics and machine learning, the company helps organizations leverage their data to make informed, data-driven decisions. By extracting meaningful insights from complex datasets, Global Logic enables businesses to optimize processes, enhance customer experiences, and uncover new growth opportunities. Data-driven decision-making has become a strategic advantage, and Global Logic empowers organizations to unlock the full potential of their data assets.
Partnerships and Collaborations
It believes in the power of collaboration and actively seeks partnerships with leading technology providers, startups, and industry experts. These collaborations allow them to stay at the forefront of technological advancements and deliver cutting-edge solutions to its clients. By fostering a network of innovation, Global Logic expands its capabilities and provides clients with access to the latest tools and technologies required to thrive in the digital age.
In conclusion, Global Logic has emerged as a trusted partner for organizations seeking to embrace digital transformation. Through its technological expertise, end-to-end product engineering capabilities, industry-specific solutions, data-driven decision-making, and collaborative approach, it empowers businesses to navigate the complex digital landscape with confidence. As industries continue to evolve, it remains at the forefront of innovation, shaping the future of digital transformation and helping organizations realize their full potential in the digital era.
Tesla charges Ford, Silverado EV details, BMW i5, tackling charger reliability
The biggest EV news of the week came on Thursday, when Ford and Tesla made an announcement that might change the EV charging landscape forever: Ford is adopting Tesla’s charge port for future EVs, as well as providing Supercharger access with an adapter for existing EVs starting next year. Now, will other smaller automakers jump to the Tesla standard, too?
Ford Mustang Mach-E at Tesla Supercharger
That followed two pieces of Ford EV news from earlier in the week. Don’t bother waiting for an electric Ford Expedition Lightning to complement the F-150 Lightning. Ford claimed Monday that its three-row electric SUV coming in 2025 will be a groundbreaking “personal bullet train”—with a comprehensive focus on efficiency resulting in 350 miles of range from a 100-kwh battery pack and 150 miles from a 10-minute charge. And as Ford CEO Jim Farley explained, as part of its effort to control costs and build better EVs, the automaker is simply trying to use the smallest battery for competitive range. That means Ford isn’t going to go to 600 miles of range in its EVs.
2025 Ford 3-row SUV –
On a completely different track, Cadillac announced plans to make a fully electric version of its big, thirsty Escalade SUV. The GM luxury brand claims the model, badged Escalade IQ and to be revealed later this year, will be “a different type of EV.”
The 2024 BMW i5 revealed Wednesday is essentially a fully electric BMW 5-Series. With a price starting at $67,795 and a driving range for that entry model of 295 miles on the EPA cycle, it claims to offer the same passenger space as other gasoline-fueled 5-Series models.
The upcoming EX30 will have Volvo’s lowest-ever carbon footprint in a production model from the brand, it says. The Volvo EX30 will represent a 25% drop in lifecycle carbon emissions versus the already-improved XC40 Recharge and C40 Recharge, it says, with lots of recycled materials and “100% climate-neutral electricity.”
2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV
More information about the 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV Work Truck (WT) trickled out ahead of deliveries set to start soon. Among the new details: The WT and its base battery will be available to retail customers, but not other WT versions. Knowing this, we took a look at the Silverado EV WT vs. the F-150 Lightning Pro in price and range.
As it oversees the rollout of a $7.5 billion nationwide network of EV chargers, the federal government is tackling EV charger reliability in the U.S. That means collaborating with companies on hardware and software, and opening up a data portal for reporting uptime and error codes.
2023 Toyota Sienna
Toyota announced last week that it plans to boost its U.S. hybrid production to meet what it says is strong demand for hybrid models. The same manufacturing complex in Kentucky is scheduled to start making fuel-cell modules this year.
BMW and California’s Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) have built on a previous smart-charging partnership with a pilot program (and later, a field trial) looking at how EVs could supplement home energy and the grid. With a BMW i4 it can help return double the amount a typical house uses daily back to the grid—at the peak times when it might help boost the use of renewable energy.
2022 BMW i4 eDrive40
While enthusiasm for hydrogen fuel-cell passenger vehicles has waned, it appears poised for a new push in semis and other heavy-duty trucks. Will megawatt charging effectively nix hydrogen and its top advantage which up until now has been refueling time?
Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Ioniq 6 lease prices now undercut those from Tesla, according to a report digging into the numbers. Once again, the assist goes to the Commercial Clean Vehicle Credit loophole applying to EV leases—even if they’re imported.
2023 Hyundai Ioniq 5
Looking directly to that, Hyundai and LG this morning confirmed final details for a joint-venture battery plant in Georgia that will supply Hyundai’s Georgia EV Metaplant with U.S.-built batteries. That plant will have the capability to build 300,000 EVs annually, though the company hasn’t yet confirmed which Hyundai, Kia, or Genesis models those will be.
Future Stellantis EVs later in the decade—from Jeep, Ram, or Chrysler, for instance—may take advantage of potentially range-boosting, weight-cutting lithium-sulfur battery tech. Through Stellantis Ventures, it’s invested in California’s Lyten, which claims “a pathway to achieve the lowest emissions EV battery on the global market,” in a cell type that can be made globally. But there’s still progress to be made on cycle life and degradation.
Electric vehicles cost 47% more than internal combustion vehicles, yet they’re driven 29% less. That’s one finding from a recent data crunch based on used vehicles listed for sale—and it confirms previous findings from academia suggesting that Tesla leads other EVs in miles driven. But perhaps policy needs to focus more on those “gasoline superusers.”
Tesla Model S
Despite all the talk about EV battery longevity, and how their drivers aren’t covering as many miles, EVs aren’t staying in the fleet as long as gasoline models, and as we seek more EV adoption it’s a potential problem. What’s to blame?
And what is all the fuss over AM radio in EVs? Some automakers say it’s electrical interference; some say nobody’s listening to AM anyway; others point to the lack of AM radio in Europe. Either way, Ford yesterday decided it wasn’t a fight worth fighting and agreed to bring back AM radio in its EVs.
Ford’s Deal To Use Tesla Charging Connector And Superchargers Could Kill CCS
Ford Motor company has announced that starting next year, Fords will get access to Tesla’s supercharger network via an adapter sent to all owners, and later, new Fords will be made with the Tesla connector on them, allowing use without an adapter. This may mean the death of the “standard” CCS connector used by non-Tesla cars, and there is a strong case that it should. Whether it means the death of the J1772 slower charging plug is a different story.
Conventional wisdom is that J1772 and CCS are “industry standards” and thus the sure winners. They are also encoded into various laws creating subsidies for the installation of charging stations. But in spite of being a “standard” the Tesla connector is found on 2-3 times as many cars as CCS/J1772 because Tesla has, and continues to outsell all other carmakers combined. Is the “standard” the one chosen by the most companies, or the one chosen by the most people?
Tesla’s connector was proprietary, in that you initially needed a licence from Tesla to use it, while the other connectors were owned by a standards body. Early on, Tesla declared it would licence its patents for “free” but there were a few strings attached and almost nobody accepted the “free” offer. That changed recently as Tesla declared its connector to be entirely open, and people can use it without their permission. They renamed it the “NACS” or North American Charging Standard. EVgo has put Tesla plugs on their fast chargers for a few years, and an adapter to let J1772 cars charge from Tesla slow chargers has also been available for some time, but not much else. Aptera, which has yet to ship a car, has said it would use the Tesla connector.
Ford’s announcement marks a big change because Ford is the (distant) #2 EV vendor in North America, where these plugs are used. With #1 and #2 using NACS, and over 2/3rds of the cars on the road, it has a stronger claim to being the common standard. Everybody would prefer that there was just one charging plug — car owners don’t want to use adapters, and EV charging stations don’t want to have to have two or more plugs or adapters. For some time, there was competition between CCS and the Japanese CHAdeMO standard, but that ended when Nissan, the champion of CHAdeMO, released their Aria car with CCS. Even so, because the Nissan Leaf was the leading EV for a few years, many charging stations support CHAdeMO and may be legally required to do so.
On top of all this, the Tesla connector is generally considered to be superior. (While I am a frequent critic of Tesla’s FSD offering, their charging products deserve high praise.) A single small plug does both slow and fast charging up to 250kW, and the new version supports up to a megawatt. The CCS and CHAdeMO connectors are bulky monsters, much bigger and heavier than the NACS. All NACS cars support a data protocol to handle “plug and play” billing — though only through Tesla — while only a small number of CCS cars have started to support that. The CCS connector was the first to support 800v and 350kW, but only at a few stations, and that advantage is ending.
Ford’s CEO indicated that Ford owners will all get the adapter for free, including current owners. They will be able to pay for charging at Tesla SC using the Ford app — they will not need to install the Tesla app, the way that CCS drivers must do when they visit one of the small number of Tesla stations which has a built in CCS adapter.
That’s good, but it’s not the Tesla “plug and play” experience where drivers just plug in and walk away without doing anything else. For that to happen, Ford cars would need to either speak Tesla’s protocol, or Tesla SC would need to speak the “plug and charge” protocol which most existing Fords do support. It is likely Tesla will do that (though there are apparently licence fees which might get in the way, and the protocol is fairly bulky and committee designed, like the CCS connector itself.)
Tesla’s plug and play experience is not just a smoother experience. A significant fraction of failures to charge at CCS stations relate to billing and authentication problems. For unknown reasons, charging vendors have had a hard time at getting that right. In an ideal world, all cars will, after setting up billing, be able to just plug in and walk away 100% of the time.
Current Ford cars have the charging port in front of the driver’s door. That’s a difficult place to reach with the very short cord on Tesla chargers, and it’s on the wrong side of the car, to boot. It is unknown if the adapter provided to Ford drivers will include a segment of cable to solve this problem. Even so, unless it’s a very long segment, Fords will use the charger to the left of the car, not the one to the right used by Teslas, which could cause Fords to block stalls for use by Teslas. There is a simple solution — Fords can be told to use the stalls on the right of a bank of chargers whiles Teslas keep to the left (facing the bank from the parking.) If need be this can even be enforced, only allowing Fords to authenticate at the rightmost available stall and directing them there in the app.
One presumes the new Ford models with NACS sockets will place them either at the front right or rear-left to match Tesla charger geometry.
The Supercharger Network
The connector is good, but the real attraction is Tesla’s supercharger network, which Ford drivers will get access to. It has more charging stalls than all the CCS networks (though this has recently evened up) and they are generally more reliable. Tesla (and Ford NACS) owners can purchase a low cost adapter which lets them use CCS stations, so NACS drivers have access to more than twice the charging stations, but they rarely use the CCS stations because they are less reliable — though they are sometimes cheaper or more conveniently located depending on where you are.
The harsh reality is that a cross-country road trip in a Tesla today is a greatly superior experience to one in a CCS car. Enough so that buyers who care about road trips have to really hate Tesla to get anything else.
Access to this network, though, does not come with using the connector. Ford and Tesla have made a deal to allow that. Terms of the deal are not disclosed, but there is a risk to NACS Ford owners that if that deal should terminate, they might be left unable to use it. Tesla has said it plans to open up their charging stations to all comers, but at present has only committed to putting adapters at about 10% of their stalls in the next two years. (Ford drivers will get access to all stalls, not just 10%, via their adapter.)
In Europe, laws made Tesla abandon their connector for the European version of CCS, and some, but not all Tesla superchargers in Europe can be used by other cars. They all have the same connector, but not all will serve other cars.
For a company making a new EV, with the choice of putting NACS on it or CCS, the answer is obvious — as long as they can assure access to the Superchargers for their drivers permanently. What customer wouldn’t want to be able to charge at more than twice the stations, with higher reliability? Only stubbornness would support a choice of CCS. If the adapter that lets CCS cars charge at Tesla SC becomes available to all, and access to the SC network is available to all, that could change the equation, but NACS would still be the better choice for physical reasons.
One important issue for drivers of 800 volt CCS cars (Lucid, Taycan, e-Tron, Ioniq 5 and a few others) is that Tesla SC only do 400v at present. They have an 800v version now but it is yet to be deployed. Some of those 800v cars, notably the Lucid Air, include a low-capacity 50kW 400v to 800v converter and so can’t charge quickly at 400v stations (CCS or Tesla.) CCS stations were initially also only 400v but the 350kW stations and the newer 150kW stations do 800v. While those cars will still get value from Tesla stations, they will prefer the 800v stations where they can get them.
J1772 vs. NACS
The standards war has gone slightly differently for lower speed charging in homes, offices, parking lots and hotels. All Teslas come with a simple adapter that lets them use J1772. Tesla owners tend to have NACS chargers in their homes — they are actually cheaper to buy than J1772 and offer a button to end the charging session, but this is not true in public charging stations. Tesla did a program of giving out NACS slow chargers to a large number of hotels, so these are still popular in that area, but otherwise public stations use J1772, though the most frequent way it is used is to plug into an NACS car via the adapter. The J1772 connector is just a little bit bulkier than NACS — it’s nothing like the large heft difference between CCS and NACS. (CCS is effectively J1772 with two extra large pins added on the bottom.)
There is so much J1772 out there that it will stick around for a while. These stations are low cost and money to retrofit them will not be available. Fast charging stations are expensive, and if NACS becomes the new standard, they can adapt to adding such a cord or switching to it. Over time, the reverse adapter that lets a J1772 car use a NACS slow charging (level 2) station may become cheap and common, allowing new level 2 to use NACS just as the hotels do.
What if NACS doesn’t win?
To the rest of the EV industry, Tesla is the competition, or even the enemy. As such, they may resist a move to NACS as the primary connector. However, with the sign-on of Ford, it becomes less likely that Tesla will cave in and switch to CCS the way they did in Europe, absent a legal requirement. The use of NACS by Ford means Tesla has a solid claim on the billions in subsidies for the installation of “standard supporting” charging stations. It’s valid too — it seems strange to argue that what defines a standard is having the most corporations on board, rather than the most drivers. As long as Tesla remains open with the NACS, they should now have access to that money, though currently the rules also require charging stations to follow stupid, 20th century practices like having screens and credit card readers, and assuring 150kW to each stall rather than having more stalls with better sharing, which Tesla — with good reason — doesn’t currently do or want to do.
It’s also unclear just how eager Tesla will be to give up their big advantage in the charging network. Will they be willing to guarantee lifetime access to that network to those who buy a car with NACS, even if Tesla and the maker of that car get into a fight?
Following Ford, other vendors may also adopt NACS, others may not support the change. The presence of the $175 (or less) adapter that lets NACS cars use CCS — which is a highly recommended purchase for any Tesla from the last few years — means that NACS owners who care can use the CCS stations, and as such there is not as big an incentive for CCS station managers to add NACS plugs. (Pre-2021 Teslas and a few later ones need a retrofit controller card to use this adapter.) As such, companies like Electrify America, the largest operator of CCS stations, are taking a wait-and-see about adding NACS. If they were operated as businesses, they would not do this — the majority of cars use NACS and at present don’t have the adapter, so they are turning away their business. But EA was created to fulfill the Volkswagen dieselgate penalty, and does not run as a pure business. EA has reiterated that they support CCS because most manufacturers use it, which suggests they care more about manufacturers than drivers — but on the other hand because the Tesla drivers already have a network they prefer — even at a higher price — they feel less push to support them.
Because of the adapters, it won’t be a calamity if there continue to be two “standards.” That’s particularly true if the NACS adapter for CCS cars that Ford owners will all receive becomes available to any driver. In that case, any driver willing to spend a modest amount will be able to charge at any charger, providing Tesla is willing to let them connect. It will just be less convenient when using the adapter.
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