Mary Daly to lead
San Francisco Fed

Mary Daly, a labor economist who dropped out of high school, later earned a PhD and joined the San Francisco Federal Reserve’s research department in 1996, was picked Friday to be the bank’s next president.

Daly, 55, will succeed John Williams, who left in July to become president of the New York Fed. She will take over the U.S. central bank’s westernmost outpost starting Oct. 1, the San Francisco Fed said in a statement.

The timing means she will cast her first votes on monetary policy at the Fed’s November and December policy meetings.

A prolific researcher who has focused for years on economic inequality, wage trends and labor force dynamics, Daly’s public record shows she is likely to be a supporter of the gradual rate increases favored by Fed Chair Jerome H. Powell and most of the rest of the policy-setting panel.

“She is a terrific economist that made a major contribution to our understanding of labor markets,” said Janet L. Yellen, former Fed chair and San Francisco Fed president.

As the unemployment rate has dropped in the years since the financial crisis, Daly has written about why wages have not bounced back as many had expected and of the necessity of making sure all Americans who want to work can work and the need to increase the labor force participation rates to boost growth in the long run.

— Reuters

Meatpacker settles with Muslim workers

A big U.S. meatpacker has agreed to pay $1.5 million to 138 Somali-American Muslim workers who were fired from their jobs at a Colorado plant after they were refused prayer breaks, a federal anti-discrimination agency said Friday.

Cargill Meat Solutions, a division of Cargill Corp., agreed to train managers and hourly workers in accommodating Muslim employees’ prayer breaks at its Fort Morgan beef processing plant, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said.

Cargill denies wrongdoing but agreed to settle to avoid further litigation, the federal agency said. The dispute dates back to the firings of the workers in late 2016 after management rescinded policies allowing Muslim employees to take short breaks for prayer.

In a related announcement, a Teamsters union local that was supposed to represent the workers will pay them $153,000 to settle discrimination complaints.

The federal agency said it determined that Teamsters Local Union No. 455 failed to advocate for the Muslim workers in their dispute with Cargill and harassed them because of their race, religion and national origin. The workers were dues-paying union members. Union officials denied wrongdoing.

— Associated Press

SpaceX changes plans for first moon flight

SpaceX said Friday that it has signed its first private moon traveler, with some changes to its original game plan.

The big reveal on who it is — and when the moon flight will happen — will be announced Monday at the company’s California headquarters.

It’s not the same mission that SpaceX founder Elon Musk outlined last year. That plan called for two paying passengers to fly around the moon this year using a Falcon Heavy rocket and Dragon crew capsule.

The new strategy is still to fly around the moon but using a bigger SpaceX rocket still in development that has its own dedicated passenger ship. And now, it appears there will be only one person aboard.

SpaceX put out the teaser via Twitter late Thursday, and Musk also tweeted out the news. Company representatives declined to offer more details.

— Associated Press

Also in Business

U.S. retail sales barely rose in August as consumers slowed their spending after a robust month of shopping in July. The Commerce Department said Friday that the value of purchases ticked up just 0.1 percent last month, the smallest increase in six months. Auto sales fell 0.8 percent last month, and clothing stores sales plunged 1.7 percent, the steepest drop in 18 months. Sales at gas stations rose 1.7 percent, reflecting higher prices at the pump. Sales excluding gas stations slipped 0.1 percent, the first decline since January. Sales rose at electronics and appliance stores, sporting goods stores, restaurants and bars, and a category that includes online and catalogue retailers.

U.S. industrial production rose in August, as strong output in auto manufacturing offset lackluster production in the rest of the factory sector. The Federal Reserve said Friday that industrial production rose 0.4 percent last month after an upwardly revised 0.4 percent increase in July. Manufacturing output rose 0.2 percent last month, powered by a 4 percent rise in motor vehicles and parts. But excluding motor vehicles and parts, U.S. manufacturing production was unchanged, the Fed said. Production fell for computers and electronic products, as well as for electrical equipment and appliances.

Venture investor Mary Meeker is ditching Kleiner Perkins and taking her team with her. Famous for her influential Internet trends report and prescient bets on Uber and Spotify, Meeker is the latest high-profile woman to leave the venture capital firm that's fallen in stature following questions around its treatment of women and poor investing decisions. Meeker's team will raise a fresh fund of their own. Their still-unnamed firm will launch in 2019. Meeker said the new firm will make bets on late-stage companies, similar to the ones she's been making on behalf of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers since 2010.

— From news services