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Texas’ Unemployment Rate Is Among the Nation’s Worst — But Experts Say It Signals a Growing Economy

Texas has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country — despite leading in job growth — which experts say indicates an upward economy.

According to Dean Peter Rodriguez, lower unemployment can mean people are exiting the workforce. Texas’ high rate reflects more people moving to the state and staying, which expands the labor pool and benefits employers, especially smaller firms. However, job growth is slowing in Texas, following national trends. So, while the high unemployment rate indicates a rapidly growing labor force and economy, hiring seems to be slowing in line with the rest of the nation.

Oct. 3, 2023 | Maia Pandey


 

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There’s a Reason a Killer Money-Saving App Still Doesn’t Exist

Budgeting apps like Mint have struggled to build a sustainable business of helping people spend less. Mint shut down Jan. 1, 2024, joining other failed personal finance apps. The problem is that few people want budgeting help, and even fewer will pay for that help. Apps battle high costs of aggregating financial data and low engagement from users.

As marketing professor Utpal Dholakia says, “Someone is going to become really, really rich if they can figure out how to get unmotivated people interested in really thinking about money.” Banks now offer free budgeting tools but lack the excitement of social media. Budgeting isn’t a “dopamine hit,” says Mint’s founder; it’s an adult responsibility. Motivating the unmotivated to budget remains an elusive pot of gold.

Nov. 16, 2023 | Imani Moise


 

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students at a vigil

U.S. Institutions Under Fire for Their Support — or Silence — on Israel

Companies, universities, and politicians have struggled with how to respond to the Israel-Hamas conflict. Condemning violence on both sides or expressing support for Israelis and Palestinians has drawn criticism. Professor Vikas Mittal says companies should avoid statements that take sides, given how quickly they spread online. He advises saying nothing or, before speaking, taking a few days to carefully deliberate.

Mittal cautions against “condemning this or that” and says companies should listen first rather than quickly commenting. In this heated moment, there are messaging risks either way organizations respond (or don’t respond).

Oct. 14, 2023 | Laura Meckler, Tim Craig and Aaron Gregg


 

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Upstarts Challenge a Foundation of Modern Investing

A recent argument has erupted among finance professors over changes made to some very important data created by researchers Kenneth French (Dartmouth) and Nobel Prize-winning economist Eugene Fama (Chicago). These data help investors decide which stocks to buy based on factors like company size and share price. While some researchers are worried that the changing data was not fully explained and could lead to manipulated results, others like Rice Business professor Robert Dittmar say they should be careful criticizing such respected work.

Dittmar quotes a line from the TV show “The Wire”: “You come at the king, you best not miss.” He says most attempts by other researchers to perfectly re-create Fama and French’s data have failed, showing how complex their calculations are.

As a result of the controversy, Fama and French have provided more transparency by releasing their previous data versions online. They have defended the reasons behind updating their groundbreaking research on market factors, like finding undervalued stocks.

Mar. 11, 2024 | Mary Childs and Justina Lee


 

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‘Portfolio Careers’ are Becoming More Popular. Is it Just Rebranding Hustle Culture?

Professor Scott Sonenshein says the popularity of portfolio careers started rising around 2014 with the sharing economy and gig platforms. His early research found people with multiple jobs had diverse backgrounds — from high-skilled consultants to Uber drivers.

This trend accelerated during the pandemic, as people sought control amid uncertainty. Sonenshein says economic necessity still drives many to patch together multiple income streams. But increasingly, portfolio careers appeal to people seeking meaningful, engaging work and better work-life balance. This autonomy does pose a risk, however. The lack of built-in boundaries and structures for success can lead some to constantly work and fall into the traps of hustle culture.

Dec. 10, 2023 | Anisa Purbasari Horton


 

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