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Self-Driving Trucks May Be Closer Than They Appear

NYT > Economy

Trucks will someday drive themselves out of warehouses and cruise down freeways without the aid of humans or even a driver's cab -- about that there seems little disagreement. The question is how soon that day gets here. And while the answers vary -- technologists, not surprisingly, are more bullish than truckers -- billions of dollars and a growing parade of companies, from tiny start-ups to the country's biggest trucking operations, are betting it will be here sooner than most people think. This year, companies and investors are on pace to put just over $1 billion into self-driving and other trucking technologies, 10 times the level of three years ago, according to CB Insights, which tracks the venture capital industry. Tesla is widely expected this week to showcase an electric truck that will have some self-driving capabilities.


Economic View: Get Ready for Technological Upheaval by Expecting the Unimagined

NYT > Economy

Instead we need the kind of in-depth education and training people receive routinely at age 13. A lifetime of work will be a lifetime of change, moving between firms, jobs, careers and cities. But if we had a social insurance system that allowed workers to move fluidly between jobs, we could comfortably allow firms to follow their natural life and death cycle. In the 1990s, Denmark began adopting what has been called "flexicurity," combining policies that promote a flexible economy -- allowing creative destruction as needed -- with those that promote security for workers.


Pittsburgh Welcomed Uber's Driverless Car Experiment. Not Anymore.

NYT > Economy

Uber said it planned to share some data collected by its autonomous vehicles with the city this year, though Pittsburgh officials say the data Uber shares with other cities is insufficient. "Uber is proud to have put Pittsburgh on the self-driving map, an effort that included creating hundreds of tech jobs and investing hundreds of millions of dollars," the company said in a statement. Pittsburgh's frustrations with Uber are encapsulated in the Hazelwood neighborhood along the Monongahela River, where the company opened a driverless vehicle testing track last year. He said he was now talking to Ford, which is investing $1 billion in a Pittsburgh-based driverless technology company, Argo AI, about signing commitments on data sharing and work force development.


Unemployment Rate at 10-Year Low as Hiring Grows and Wages Rise

NYT > Economy

Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former Congressional Budget Office director who advised Senator John McCain's Republican presidential campaign in 2008, noted, "The April jobs report showed a labor market in the homestretch of recovery from the Great Recession," adding, "This sets the Fed up for another rate hike in June." But he said that since the official jobless rate sank in March to its then-lowest point in 10 years, "headline job growth appears less and less important" compared with other factors like wage growth and the labor-force participation rate. "It's not an employer's market," said Patrick Bass, chief executive of Thyssenkrupp North America, which makes elevators, steel and other industrial products. The left-leaning Economic Policy Institute in Washington issued a report this week that had a complementary message.