Overnight Finance

On The Money — Labor chief touts efforts to promote job growth

Happy Friday and welcome to On The Money, your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.

Today’s Big Deal: Labor Secretary Marty Walsh discusses the so-called Great Resignation in an interview with The Hill and broad efforts the administration is taking to promote job growth.

We’ll also look at Democrats’ renewed push to revive President Biden’s stalled Build Back Better Act in wake of the party’s failed effort to pass voting rights legislation. 

But first, did you see the recent discovery made by astronomers about how one blackhole helped aid the birth of stars?  

For The Hill, we’re Sylvan Lane, Aris Folley and Karl Evers-Hillstrom.  Reach us at slane@thehill.com or @SylvanLaneafolley@thehill.com or @ArisFolley and kevers@thehill.com or @KarlMEvers. 

Let’s get to it. 

 

Biden Labor chief touts back-to-work push

President Biden’s Labor secretary on Friday brushed off concerns about the so-called Great Resignation while touting broad efforts to promote job growth in the second year of the Biden administration. 

Labor Secretary Marty Walsh maintained in a wide-ranging interview with The Hill that Americans “want to go to work,” even as the U.S. experiences a high quit rate and American workers gain new leverage during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I think the key of 2022 is going to be, honestly, focusing on getting people back to work,” Walsh said. 

“I think we’re going to need additional housing in our country in the next five to 10 years, we’re going to have lots more development going on in our country,” he said, emphasizing the need for “workers at all different levels of construction.” 

The background: U.S. employers have struggled for months to hire and retain workers. The unemployment rate dropped sharply to 3.9 percent last month as the U.S. added 199,000 jobs in December, well below economists’ expectations. 

The Hill’s Alex Gangitano has the interview here. 

 

WHAT JOE SAYS GOES

Democrats hope to salvage Biden’s agenda on Manchin’s terms  

In the wake of a failed effort to pass voting rights legislation, Democrats are turning their attention back to reviving President Biden’s stalled Build Back Better Act, which hit a wall in December when Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) announced he couldn’t support it.   

Democratic lawmakers say they’re willing to concede more ground to Manchin in order to get something passed into law, even though it will fall well short of the ambitious vision they announced last year.   

“I think we should tell Sen. Manchin, ‘You won, write the bill and tell us what you can support,’” said one Democratic senator, who requested anonymity to discuss party strategy. “That way he would stop dancing around.”  

The Hill’s Alex Bolton has more here. 

CHIPS ARE COMING

Intel to build $20B Ohio factory amid chip shortage 

Intel announced Friday it is investing $20 billion to build chip factories in Ohio amid a shortage of computer chips worldwide. 

The “mega-site” will be constructed outside of Columbus on 1,000 acres of land in Licking County, according to a statement from Intel. Construction is expected to start near the end of 2022 and be completed in 2025. 

The project will initially employ 7,000 construction jobs and 3,000 Intel jobs with thousands more long-term jobs expected in the future. 

“Today’s investment marks another significant way Intel is leading the effort to restore U.S. semiconductor manufacturing leadership,” CEO of Intel Pat Gelsinger said.  

 

WAGE HIKES

Biden’s $15 minimum wage hike for federal agencies goes into effect 

Federal agencies were directed to implement President Biden’s $15 an hour minimum wage for government workers on Friday. 

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued a memo to heads of executive departments and agencies, which provides guidance for adjusting pay rates for employees to at least $15 per hour. The rule is set to take full effect on Jan. 30. 

The higher wage will impact 70,000 workers from mainly the Defense Department, Department of Agriculture and Department of Veterans Affairs, according to OPM. The agency found that “the vast majority” of the 2.2 million federal workers already earn a pay rate of at least $15 per hour. 

Good to Know 

Cryptocurrency prices took a nosedive on Friday, wiping out hundreds of billions in the crypto market.  

The news follows reports that Russia’s central bank is proposing a ban on cryptocurrencies in the nation, the world’s third-largest region for cryptocurrency mining. 

Here’s what else have our eye on: 

 

That’s it for today. Thanks for reading and check out The Hill’s Finance page for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you Monday.

Overnight Finance