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US economy adds a strong 225K jobs

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WASHINGTON — Hiring jumped last month as U.S. employers added a robust 225,000 jobs, bolstering an economy that faces threats from China’s viral outbreak, an ongoing trade war and struggles at Boeing.

The Labor Department also said Friday that a half-million people streamed into the job market in January, though not all of them found jobs. That influx meant that more people were counted as unemployed, and it boosted the jobless rate to 3.6% from a half-century low of 3.5% in December.

The government’s monthly jobs report signalled that businesses remain confident enough to keep hiring, with the pace of job growth accelerating from a year ago. Solid consumer spending is offsetting drags from the trade war and declining business investment.

The job gains also give President Donald Trump more evidence for his argument that the economy is flourishing under his watch. The Democratic contenders vying to oppose him, who will debate Friday night in New Hampshire, have embraced a counter-argument: That the economy’s benefits are flowing disproportionately to the richest Americans.

Despite the brisk pace of hiring in January, hourly pay is up just 3.1% from a year earlier, below a peak of 3.5% last fall, though still above the inflation rate.

The public’s confidence that jobs are plentiful is helping persuade more people without jobs to begin looking for one. Last month, 61.2% of American adults had jobs, the highest proportion since November 2008.

Unusually warm weather likely played a role in strengthening the pace of hiring in January, with construction companies adding 44,000 jobs, the most since last year. Better winter weather allows more construction projects to proceed.

Americans are also buying more homes, buoyed by lower borrowing costs that stem in part from the Federal Reserve’s three interest rate cuts last year. In December, home construction surged to its highest level in 13 years.

Friday’s employment report included the government’s annual revisions of estimated job growth. The revisions showed that hiring was slower in 2018 and early last year than previously estimated. Employers added 2.3 million jobs in 2018, down from a previous estimate of 2.7 million.

The revisions also lowered February 2019’s job gain from 56,000 to just 1,000. That revision barely maintained the record-long streak of hiring that began after the Great Recession and has now reached 112 months.

China’s deadly viral outbreak has sickened thousands and shut down stores and factories in that country. But its impact likely came too late in the month to affect Friday’s U.S. jobs report.

Factory hiring, however, will likely be slowed in coming months by Boeing’s decision to suspend production of its troubled aircraft, the 737 MAX. One Boeing supplier, Spirit Aerosystems, has said it will cut 2,800 jobs. Those layoffs occurred after the government’s survey for the January jobs report and will likely affect the hiring figures released next month.

Still, manufacturers shed jobs in January for the third time in four months, cutting 12,000 positions, mostly because of layoffs in auto plants. Companies as a whole have cut back sharply on their spending on plants and equipment, in part because of Trump’s trade conflicts. That pullback in spending may continue to hamper manufacturers.

In the meantime, consumers remain confident about the economy and are spending steadily, benefiting such industries as restaurants, hotels, and health care. A category that mostly includes hotels and restaurants added a robust 36,000 jobs. Health care providers added more than 47,000.

All told, economists have forecast that the economy will expand at a roughly 2% annual rate in the first three months of this year, roughly the same as its 2.1% annual growth in the final three months of last year.

Christopher Rugaber, The Associated Press

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Minister Of The Economy Franz Fayot On Luxembourg’s Transition Towards A Green Economy – Forbes

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Just last week, Luxembourg’s Minister of the Economy, Franz Fayot, came to the cities of Toronto and Montreal as part of an economic mission organized by the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce in close cooperation with the Ministry of the Economy. I had the opportunity to sit down with Minister Fayot at the InterContinental Toronto Centre, and get some insights into the Grand-Duchy’s economic transition towards sustainability.

A transitioning economy

With up to one-third of its GDP related to the finance sector, Luxembourg’s economy is widely dominated by the financial sector. However, the past 20 years have been characterized by a push for economic diversification, and increased transparency and regulations following the financial crisis, said Minister Fayot.

“What we are trying to do is diversify [the economy] even more into new sectors to make us less dependent on the financial sector and adaptable to new circumstances,” he said. “We are also more and more developing a green finance sustainable finance sector, which is doing very well.”

A green state responsibility

Minister Fayot, whose guiding principles are a strong welfare state and sustainability, firmly believes that the government must assume its pivotal role in shifting the economy towards sustainability — “both in terms of environmental sustainability, but also social sustainability,” he added.

In June 2020, an international consultation was launched to gather strategic spatial planning project ideas considering the climate-related challenges and social issues, and support for the country’s ecological transition towards a zero-carbon territory by 2050.

“We need to understand that we have to help businesses innovate, and invest in the future,” said Minister Fayot.

A rising startup ecosystem

Luxembourg has seen a steady growth in startups over the past decade.

Earlier this year, the Ministry of the Economy launched a strategic initiative aimed at providing a thorough understanding of the startup ecosystem based on data analysis and interviews with key stakeholders.

Luxinnovation, the national innovation agency, identified over 500 active startups offering innovative digital and data-driven solutions in its latest mapping.

These assessments will also provide relevant comparisons with international markets, and aim to identify the necessary next steps for development opportunities in the upcoming years.

“Our innovation agency is there to guide startups, but also other more established businesses, to get access to grants,” explained Minister Fayot. “We have a state aid framework in Europe which we have to comply with, but the main message is that there is an obvious need to co-finance innovation, particularly in times when we are in this transition towards a more green economy.”

Going above the limits of territory

Surrounded by Belgium, France and Germany, Luxembourg is one of the smallest countries in the world — slightly smaller than Rhode Island. Yet, despite its dependence on its neighboring countries’ energy supplies, it is making continuous efforts to increase its share of renewable energy by also investing in projects across its borders, said Minister Fayot.

“We don’t have that much sun in Luxembourg, and we don’t have an unlimited space to build wind power,” he said. “It’s a bit of a limiting factor, but it shouldn’t excuse anything.”

“We are investing a lot into energy efficiency,” he added. “We are trying to get people to e-mobility and pushing for geothermal heating and energy in new constructions.”

A growing space sector

Luxembourg might not be the first to come to mind when we think of space, but, the country owns one of the world-leading satellite operators, and is increasing its investment into space resources.

“The SpaceResources.lu is an initiative that we launched about six years ago, and it is very much focused on the space resources segment of the space industry,” he said. “We are not launching anything in space out of Luxembourg, but focusing on services like space traffic management.”

As part of the economic mission, a group of space companies participated in a distinctive program set up by the Luxembourg Space Agency in collaboration with the Canadian Space Agency. This included on-site company visits, workshops and B2B opportunities that led to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two national space agencies.

Stephanie Ricci contributed to this story.

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Edmonton needs a nighttime economic strategy, industry advocates say – CBC.ca

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Edmonton’s nighttime entertainment and hospitality venues need more support if the city is going to host big events like the Juno Awards next year, industry advocates say. 

At a meeting Wednesday, venue operators and business associations called on city councillors and administration to create a special office or person to directly support the nighttime industry. 

Puneeta McBryan, executive director of the Downtown Business Association, said the city’s existing economic development staff are overstretched on daytime operations alone, and said that nighttime industries need help. 

“Dedicated resources to this are absolutely essential,” McBryan told council’s executive committee. “We’re losing venues. If we haven’t already lost them, we’re at risk of losing them.”

McBryan said that potential gap in venues concerns her as Edmonton gets ready to host the Juno Awards next year. 

“I’m frankly really nervous about how many off-site venues we even have to host music events anymore, in our downtown,” she said. 

Ward papastew Coun. Michael Janz said he supports the idea of a nighttime economic office and echoed McBryan’s concerns about whether Edmonton will have sufficient spaces for the Junos next year. 

“One of the best parts about the Junos is not the awards, it’s the three weeks before and three weeks after when all the visiting artists are coming in and jamming out,” Janz said. 

Brent Oliver, a venue programmer and former manager of several music venues in Edmonton, spoke to the committee about the Junos, and said the event needs about a dozen spaces.

“It will likely be a stretch to try and get 11 or 12 venues at this point, and to try and also keep it walkable, I think is very important, which would mean trying to stay downtown,” he said. 

Dedicated office would help: advocates

Oliver also made the case to councillors for a designated nighttime economic office and strategy.

“Currently venues like the Starlite Room, theatres like the Citadel, bars and pubs along Jasper Ave. have to jump through various municipal and provincial departments to get permits, approvals, city support, enforcement and licensing,” he said.

He suggested a nighttime economy approach for the arts, sport and hospitality sectors would help businesses navigate issues around operating after work hours. 

“Our industry provides so much for Edmontonians and tourism, as well as a significant economic impact on the city,” he said. 

Organizers of music festivals, outdoor beer gardens and markets operating outside business hours have no one to call if there are last-minute or unforeseen questions in operating the event, McBryan said.

Oliver said after-hours issues became more obvious during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Many of my colleagues were left having to speak directly to city council members and elected officials to address issues of funding, safety and support,” he said.

Councillors directed city administration to report back ahead of the 2023-2026 budget cycle in the fall with a model to support the nighttime economy, and consider a designated person like a night mayor, as one of the potential options. 

Mayor Amarjeet Sohi acknowledged the need to develop the nighttime economy as part of a thriving city in entertainment, arts and culture. 

“And having more eyes on the street in the evening, on the weekends,” Sohi told reporters outside the meeting. “It is important that we have dedicated resources to support the growth of that sector.”

The Alberta government has recently allowed municipalities to create “entertainment districts” within a city, where there could be a suspension of open liquor laws, McBryan said. 

Other cities have nightlife economic strategies, a city report shows. 

Toronto has a nightlife action plan and the deputy mayor on council is the night economy ambassador, while Ottawa is developing a plan. 

Abroad, New York has a night mayor and Pittsburgh has a nighttime economy manager as well as action teams to address nighttime activities in public safety, hospitality, development, transportation, and personal accountability.

London, England, has an extensive strategy that includes a Night Czar, a post-pandemic plan with recommendations on visas, training, creative hubs, safety, and licensing, and a women’s night safety charter. 

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Copper Sinks Toward $8000 in Bleak Signal for Global Economy – Bloomberg

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Copper Sinks Toward $8000 in Bleak Signal for Global Economy  Bloomberg



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