Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is considering another round of job cuts amid a muted dealmaking environment that has dented revenues across Wall Street, Bloomberg News reports.  

The investment bank is working on what would be its third round of job cuts in under a year, Bloomberg noted. The company eliminated several hundred jobs in September, followed by a much bigger round of cuts at the start of this year. The moves this time are expected to affect less than 250 people and will include more-senior employees at the firm.  

In February, Goldman Sachs outlined plans to seek about $1 billion in expense reductions. Chief financial officer Denis Coleman had said the January job cuts combined with curtailing of replacement hiring after attrition would result in $600 million of run-rate payroll reduction. He also spelled about $400 million in non-compensation expense efficiencies the firm was seeking to achieve. 

Walmart Raises Wages for Some Employees  

Walmart announced on Wednesday that it was increasing the wages for 7,700 of its pharmacists and opticians as it expands its health business and seeks to retain the workers in a competitive environment, the New York Times reports

Walmart, which remains the largest U.S. private employer, said it would push the average annual salary of the more than 3,700 pharmacists affected to more than $140,000.  

Additionally, it said opticians could expect to make an average hourly wage of more than $22.50.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage for a pharmacist in the U.S. is $129,410 and the mean hourly wage for opticians is $21.58.    

According to the Times, Walmart employs 16,000 pharmacists and 12,000 opticians overall.  

The company also said it was starting a program in which associates who worked in its Vision Center could receive certification and licensing as a way to move into higher-paying positions. 

“We’ve listened to our associates and taken their feedback about how their work environment needs to improve,” Brian Setzer, Walmart’s executive vice president of health and wellness, said on Wednesday at the retailer’s annual shareholder meeting. 

U.S. Economy Adds 339,000 Jobs in May  

The U.S. economy showed continued signs of strength in May, as 339,000 jobs were added, according to the Labor Department’s Friday jobs report.  

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate rose to 3.7% and average hourly earnings were up 0.3%, which makes for a 4.3% increase year-over-year.  

May’s job growth marked the 14th straight month that job creation came in above what economists had expected, and last month represented the largest monthly increase since January. However, there is still uncertainty around what this means for the status of Federal interest rates moving forward. 

“We do not believe today's report was strong enough to meet the bar for the Fed to hike in June but raises the risk that the Fed could hike in July,” Morgan Stanley's chief US economist Ellen Zetner wrote in a note to clients on Friday. “While payroll numbers were undeniably strong, the FOMC will also be focused on the unemployment rate.” 

Employment gains for the last two months were revised higher. Updated data revealed 294,000 jobs were created during April, 41,000 more than previously reported. March's job gains were also revised higher — to 217,000 from 165,000 — making job growth over that two month stretch higher than previously reported by 93,000. 

By industry, the largest increases in May occurred in business and services, which added 64,000 jobs. 

Investors Reject Climate Measures at Exxon and Chevron  

An investor-driven climate change push at some of the world’s largest oil companies has stalled out, the Wall Street Journal reports.  

On Wednesday, Exxon Mobil and Chevron’s shareholders struck down a raft of proposals urging the companies to cut greenhouse-gas emissions derived from fuel consumption, put out new reports on climate benchmarks and disclose certain oil-spill risks, among other initiatives, the Journal reported.   

All by two of the 20 shareholder proposals for the two companies garnered less than 25% of investors’ vote, with some performing much worse than similar proposals from the year prior.  

One of the proposals would have had the companies adopt targets for reducing emissions including those from third-party consumption of their products, such as when drivers burn gasoline in their cars, also known as Scope 3 emissions. Those received only 11% and 10% of the vote among Exxon and Chevron investors, respectively, compared with 27% and 33% for similar proposals last year. 

In recent weeks, similar climate proposals failed to win over most shareholders at annual meetings of British oil and gas giants BP and Shell in London, the Journal noted.  

Investment strategies linked to environmental, social and governance (ESG) gained momentum in recent years, particularly following the onset of the pandemic in 2020. Investors pressed oil companies to show how they were working to reduce their climate footprint, set long-term environmental goals and curtail the flaring of unwanted natural gas. 

Exxon lost a much-publicized proxy battle in 2021 to activist investment firm Engine No. 1, which prompted Exxon to adopt a “net zero commitment” — a goal to reduce or offset greenhouse-gas emissions from its operations to zero by 2050.  

Wednesday’s votes demonstrated that some shareholders have backed off pushing major oil companies to embrace certain climate goals. The Journal reported that investors have noted a drowning out of ESG voices due to the Russia-Ukraine war that has caused oil and gas prices to skyrocket as global supplies were crimped.  

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