Scottrade Brokerage Hacked, Customer Information Stolen

Unpacking the September Jobs Report

In a spate of bad news for job-seekers, the economy was sluggish when it came to adding new jobs in September. According to the latest report from the Bureau for Labor Statistics, the economy only added 142,000 new jobs last month. In another blow to the economy, August’s jobs report was revised down as well.

One of the core reasons that job numbers fell short was the amount of people leaving the workforce entirely, which rose to 37.6% of eligible workers last month. The unemployment rate as a whole stayed steady at 5.1%, the lowest level in 7 tumultuous years.

Another reason that new jobs are down is the situation overseas.
The dollar has been weakening, but it’s still much stronger than many other currencies whose countries are facing serious problems right now. For instance, China has seen a stock market implosion and currency adjustment in the past month. That makes it much harder for the US to sell products overseas, since they cost even more than usual, at least relative to the purchasing currency.

Regardless, the rate at which new jobs are being created is slowing. When asked for comment, economics professor Song Suhn said, "It's a very disappointing report across the board. The U.S economy is really buckling under the pressure of a global economic slowdown."

And since the slowdown is due to the situation overseas, it’s tough to see when things will get better. Companies in the US have already begun slashing their workforce to deal with the decreased rate of international sales. Caterpillar (CAT) recently announced that it would cut 10,000 jobs over the next 10 years.

It isn’t just the employment numbers that have been rough on people, either. For those currently employed, the rate of wage growth has slowed dramatically. Last month, wages only rose a disappointing 2.2%, compared to the 3.5% that the Federal Reserve wants to see.

The jobs numbers are one of the reasons that the Fed hasn’t raised interest rates yet. The Fed’s committee members are on record as having said that they want to see higher jobs numbers before they act. This latest report could all but guarantee that they won’t act to raise the prime rate in October.

Scottrade Brokerage Hacked, Customer Information Stolen

In breaking news on Friday, the Scottrade brokerage acknowledged that they have been hacked and that their customer information was targeted. It’s still unknown just how severe the attack was, but millions of accounts have been compromised. If you signed up for a Scottrade account before February 2014, it’s possible that your information has been stolen.

According to a press release from company representatives, federal agencies are still investigating the attack and have asked the company not to release any information until recently. "All indications show that this was an external criminal act," said company spokeswoman Shea Leordeanu.

Scottrade is now offering customers a year of free identity theft protection in order to mitigate damages. Stolen identities are often sold over online black markets, and can lead to damaged credit and credit card fraud. It is currently unknown if any of the identities stolen have been used in any way.
Published on Oct 3, 2015
By Aaron Phillips
Aaron Phillips is a financial researcher and journalist based out of Michigan. He regularly writes the IG Daily and IG Weekly columns.

Copyrighted 2016. Content published with author's permission.

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