WEEK IN REVIEW
Monday In the forecast: jobs
The Houston economy, shaking off the oil bust and rebounding from Hurricane Harvey, could create as many 70,000 jobs next year, said Bill Gilmer, director of the Institute for Regional Forecasting at the University of Houston. “We’ve turned the corner,” Gilmer said. “Looks like we have growth in front of us.”
Taking a hit from Harvey
Stewart Information Services Corp., the Houston title and real estate services firm, said it is considering putting itself up for sale or seeking a merger partner as it contends with falling profits blamed in part on Hurricane Harvey.
Bono’s offshore life
Leaked papers revealing investments in tax havens by the world’s wealthy suggest U2 frontman Bono used a company based in low-tax Malta to buy part of a shopping mall in Lithuania. The Guardian said that the “Paradise Papers” document trove, obtained by it and other news organizations, reveals that the singer was an investor in Maltese company Nude Estates, which bought the Ausra shopping center in 2007.
Tuesday Backup drivers? Nope
Waymo has started testing a fleet of self-driving vehicles without any backup drivers on public roads, its CEO said. The tests, which will include passengers within the next few months, mark a milestone that brings autonomous vehicle technology closer to operating without human intervention.
Reason for high standards
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the Fed’s effectiveness depends on the nation’s confidence that the central bank is acting only in the public’s interest. Yellen said it is important for Fed officials to “demonstrate our ethical standards in ways that leave little room for doubt.”
Snap isn’t clicking
Snap continued to disappoint with its latest financial snapshot. The company reported revenue for the third quarter that missed Wall Street expectations and also posted a larger-thanexpected loss, as well as high costs. In the aftermath, its stock plunged in after-hours trading.
Reversal by Disney
The Walt Disney Co. lifted its ban of Los Angeles Times reporters and critics from its press screenings after a backlash prompted several media outlets to announce their own boycotts of Disney movies. Disney had barred the Times from its screenings after the paper published a two-part investigative series on the company’s business dealings in Anaheim, Calif., the home of Disneyland.
Wednesday Homebuyers are back
Local buyers in October closed on 6,381 single-family homes, a 7.5 percent jump over the same time last year, the Houston Association of Realtors said in a monthly report. The figures indicate that two months after Hurricane Harvey, buyers are returning to the housing market in impressive numbers.
Above the congestion
Uber said that in just over two years, it will let commuters soar over Los Angeles’ and Dallas’ snarled traffic in flying taxis. The ride-hailing giant announced that L.A. and Dallas will be the first cities served by UberAir, which is expected to begin ferrying passengers in electric aircraft in 2020.
SpaceX seeks blast cause
SpaceX is investigating why one of its rocket engines exploded during a test fire at the company’s facility in McGregor, the company confirmed. The explosion of the Merlin engine occurred several days earlier during what the company called a “qualification test.” No one was injured, but now the company once again has to figure out what went wrong with its hardware.
Tough session for Equifax
Members of the Senate Commerce Committee challenged Equifax’s chief executive, Paulino do Rego Barros, about the credit reporting agency’s sweeping data collection and its one-sided relationship with millions of Americans whose personal information it harvests for profit.
Thursday Casualty of Harvey
As the East Houston Regional Medical Center became one of the biggest medical casualties of Hurricane Harvey, the Texas Workforce Commission announced that the hospital’s 479 employees would be laid off. However, a spokeswoman for HCA Healthcare Gulf Coast Division, said “well over 400” have already been reassigned to sister facilities.
Despite President Donald Trump’s efforts to take down Obamacare, over 600,000 people signed up for coverage the first week of open enrollment, the government said. Experts said it’s hard to discern a trend, but sign-ups for 2018 are on track with previous years.
Friday Beyond supercomputers
IBM announced a breakthrough that will increase the pressure on Google in the battle to commercialize quantum computing technology.
Waymo demonstrates its driverless technology in Chandler, Ariz., this summer. Waymo has started testing a fleet of self-driving vehicles without any backup drivers on public roads, its CEO said Tuesday.