On The Money: US adds 263K jobs in April, crushing expectations | Warren, Dems call for probe of tax-prep companies | Biden faces dilemma from K Street allies

On The Money: US adds 263K jobs in April, crushing expectations | Warren, Dems call for probe of tax-prep companies | Biden faces dilemma from K Street allies
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Happy Friday and welcome back to On The Money, the most electable financial newsletter of the election. I'm Sylvan Lane, and here's your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

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THE BIG DEAL--Economy adds 263K jobs in April, blowing past expectations: The U.S economy added 263,000 jobs in April, the Labor Department reported Friday, blowing past expectations.

The unemployment rate also dropped 0.2 percentage points to 3.6 percent, the lowest jobless rate since 1969, driven in part by a 0.2-point decline in the labor force participation rate to 62.8 percent.

The strong jobs report is welcome news to President TrumpDonald John TrumpMarine unit in Florida reportedly pushing to hold annual ball at Trump property Giuliani clashes with CNN's Cuomo, calls him a 'sellout' and the 'enemy' Giuliani says 'of course' he asked Ukraine to look into Biden seconds after denying it MORE, who hopes to campaign on a strong economic record in 2020.

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April marks the 103rd consecutive month of employment expansion since July 2009, the beginning of the 118-month recovery from the 2008 recession. I break down the data here.

 

Highlights:

  • Economists expected the economy to add roughly 190,000 jobs in April after the economy added an average of 180,000 jobs per month and gross domestic product rose at an annual rate of 3.2 percent in the first quarter of 2019.
  • The economy added 189,000 jobs in March and 56,000 jobs in February, according to revised estimates released Friday by the Labor Department, which initially reported gains of 197,000 in March and 33,000 in February.
  • The revisions increase the total number of jobs added in those two months to 16,000, bringing the monthly average of jobs gains over the past three months to a strong 169,000.
  • Average hourly earnings have also increased 3.2 percent over the past 12 months.

 

One downside: The decline in the labor force participation rate also cuts against long-standing efforts to bring more workers off the sidelines. The employment to population ratio, a broader measure of job market strength, held even at 60.6 percent.

"As a result, the unemployment rate fell for the 'wrong' reasons -- more people leaving the labor force as opposed to getting a job," wrote Elise Gould, senior economist at the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute.

LEADING THE DAY

Dems call for investigations of tax-prep companies: Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices | Trump says it's 'great to see' plan | Progressives pushing for changes Buttigieg calls Warren 'evasive' on Medicare for all Sanders hits 1 million donors MORE (Mass.) and other congressional Democrats are pressing the IRS and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to take action following reports that tax-preparation companies have been hiding their options under the IRS's Free File program from customers.

Lawmakers said in a letter to the IRS this week that the agency should "dismiss the companies that have deliberately tried to cheat taxpayers from the program."

Additionally, lawmakers said in a separate letter to the FTC that they want that agency to investigate the tax-prep companies, saying that "these companies' actions in hiding Free File from search engine results -- and therefore from consumers -- in order to artificially inflate profits and deprive low-income consumers of a cheaper product merit investigation as unfair and deceptive practices."

In addition to Warren, the letter's signers include Rep. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) John RyanWilliamson: Climate change result of an 'amoral' economic system Overnight Energy: Top presidential candidates to skip second climate forum | Group sues for info on 'attempts to politicize' NOAA | Trump allows use of oil reserve after Saudi attacks Five top 2020 Democrats haven't committed to MSNBC climate forum MORE (D-Ohio) and Sens. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerOvernight Energy: Trump officials formally revoke California emissions waiver | EPA's Wheeler dodges questions about targeting San Francisco over homelessness | 2020 Dems duke it out at second climate forum Two former Congressional Black Caucus chairmen back Biden Strippers, 'Hustlers' and the Democratic debates MORE (D-N.J.) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices | Trump says it's 'great to see' plan | Progressives pushing for changes Krystal Ball calls on Sanders to follow Yang's lead on war on drugs Buttigieg calls Warren 'evasive' on Medicare for all MORE (I-Vt.), who are all running for president. The Hill's Naomi Jagoda has more here.

 

The background:

  • Investigative news outlet ProPublica has reported in a recent series of articles that the tax-prep companies, such as TurboTax and H&R Block, have taken steps to try to hide their free filing options, including by hiding the options on web search results.
  • Democrats said in their letters to the IRS and FTC that their staffs have also identified other tax-prep companies that appear to be using code to hide their free filing options from online search results: TaxSlayer, FreeTaxUSA and 1040.com.

 

Biden faces dilemma over K Street allies: Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenGiuliani clashes with CNN's Cuomo, calls him a 'sellout' and the 'enemy' Giuliani says 'of course' he asked Ukraine to look into Biden seconds after denying it Trump whistleblower complaint involves Ukraine: report MORE's strong support from K Street poses a tough dilemma for his campaign.

The influence world is stocked with former aides and supporters who have rallied around his previous bids for president. In this cycle, though, those lobbyist ties, past fundraising from corporate interests and perceptions that Biden is more favorable to businesses could hurt his bid for the Democratic nomination.

His campaign has said he will not take money from lobbyists and corporate PACs, but that is unlikely to be enough for progressive groups in the primary who have larger concerns about the candidate.

"With Joe Biden, if he wants to say no to corporate lobbyists' money that's great and it's a step in a positive direction that acknowledges the times," Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, told The Hill.

"But, with Joe Biden, it's not about course correcting any one little thing, it's about his big picture brand, which is being cozy with big corporations and cutting back room deals with Republican political insiders." The Hill's Alex Gangitano has more here.

 

ON TAP NEXT WEEK

Tuesday:

  • The Senate Banking Committee holds a hearing entitled "Privacy Rights and Data Collection in a Digital Economy," 10 a.m.

 

Wednesday:

  • A Senate Appropriations subcommittee holds a hearing on the fiscal 2020 budget requests for the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, 10 a.m.
  • The House Ways and Means Committee holds a hearing entitled "Paid Family and Medical Leave: Helping Workers and Employers Succeed," 10 a.m.
  • A House Financial Services subcommittee holds a hearing entitled "A Review of the State of Barriers to Minority Homeownership," 10 a.m.
  • The House Financial Services Committee begins a markup of legislation to be announced, 2 p.m.
  • A House Labor and Education subcommittee holds a hearing entitled "The Protecting the Right to Organize Act: Deterring Unfair Labor Practices," 2 p.m.
  • The Senate Budget Committee holds a hearing entitled "Fixing a Broken Budget Process: Lessons from States," 2:30 p.m.

 

Thursday:

  • The Senate Finance Committee holds a hearing on the nominations of David Fabian Black to be deputy commissioner of Social Security and Emin Toro to be a judge of the United States Tax Court, 9:30 a.m.
  • The House Ways and Means Committee holds a hearing entitled "Understanding the Tax Gap and Taxpayer Noncompliance," 10 a.m.
  • A House Agriculture subcommittee holds a hearing entitled "Reviewing the State of the Farm Economy," 10 a.m.

 

GOOD TO KNOW

 

ODDS AND ENDS

  • Uber drivers will strike in seven cities on Wednesday, just ahead of the rideshare company's initial public offering (IPO), according to Gig Workers Rising, a campaign by app and platform workers.

 

RECAP THE WEEK WITH ON THE MONEY: