US employers hire at robust pace, defying global trends

WASHINGTON, Rabi’I 29, 1437, January 09, 2016, SPA — The U.S. economy is motoring ahead despite slowing global growth that caused upheavals in financial markets around the world this week, according to AP.
Employers added a robust 292,000 jobs last month, and the unemployment rate stayed low at 5 percent, the Labor Department said Friday. Job gains in the October-December quarter averaged 284,000, the best three-month increase since last January.
The strong hiring underscores the resilience of the United States at a time of slow global growth and financial turmoil. Healthy consumer spending, modest gains in home construction and an uptick in government spending should offset drags from overseas and bolster growth this year, economists said.
The report “immediately puts to rest a lot of the worries that the U.S. economy will come undone due to the intensifying global headwinds coming out of China and the Middle East,” said Mark Vitner, an economist at Wells Fargo.
For all of 2015, employers added 2.65 million jobs, a monthly average of 221,000. That made 2015 the second-best year for hiring since 1999, after 2014.
The unemployment rate has held at 5 percent for the past three months, despite the solid job gains, because nearly 1 million more Americans have begun seeking work since September.
Wages were the one weak spot in December, as average pay slipped a penny to $25.24 an hour. Hourly pay has risen 2.5 percent in the past year, only the second time since the Great Recession ended in mid-2009 that it’s reached that level. Yet pay growth remains below the roughly 3.5 percent pace typical of a healthy economy.
The U.S. “is uniquely positioned among the major industrial economies to withstand a global slowdown,” Vitner said.
Global trade accounts for just about 30 percent of U.S. economic activity, one of the lowest such percentages in the world, according to Patrick O’Keefe, director of economic research at the consulting firm CohnReznick.
A resilient U.S. economy will probably help some other countries by drawing in more imports, especially as a higher-valued dollar holds down the prices of foreign goods. The World Bank said this week that Mexico and emerging markets in Central America should fare better than the rest of South America because of their proximity to the healthier U.S. economy.
Still, the effect could be limited if Americans’ spending remains concentrated in services — from restaurants to health care — rather than factory goods.
At the same time, Friday’s solid jobs report could make it more likely that the Federal Reserve will further raise rates after announcing its first increase in nearly a decade last month. Steady hiring would reduce the supply of people seeking jobs, which could lead to higher pay and possibly help lift inflation closer to the Fed’s 2 percent target.
Many economists expect the Fed to raise its benchmark rate three times this year. Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services, said the robust jobs data means the next increase will probably be in March.
The jobs report contained no signs of inflation. That led other economists such as Alan Levenson at T. Rowe Price to say that Fed officials may need to see prices climb more before raising rates again.
Signs emerged this week that China’s economy may be slowing more than expected. Its manufacturing activity shrank last month for the 10th month in a row. And China’s central bank let its currency, the yuan, weaken, a move that could help its exporters.
That attempt to boost growth was interpreted as another sign of sluggishness. China’s stock markets plunged, as did most others around the world, including in the U.S. Oil prices fell to nearly a 12-year low Thursday, as markets anticipated that China will use less oil.
Those headwinds could create longer-term problems for the American economy. Lower stock prices may cause American consumers to spend less. Faltering economies overseas, as well as a strong dollar, have cut into manufacturing exports, which fell to a four-year low in November. And cheaper oil has already caused sharp cutbacks in U.S. drilling jobs. Those layoffs may continue if oil prices stay low.
Yet manufacturing makes up less than one-tenth of U.S. employment. The American economy is much more focused on services.
“People are consuming things that aren’t things, like data plans, restaurant meals, health care and entertainment,” Kevin Logan, chief U.S. economist at HSBC bank, said. “The international turmoil can be shrugged off to some extent.”
Hiring in industries that focus on domestic, rather than overseas, demand ramped up in December. Construction added 45,000 jobs, likely in part because of unusually warm weather. Restaurants and bars added nearly 37,000.
Slim Chickens, a restaurant chain in Fayetteville, Arkansas with 30 locations, plans to open 20 restaurants this year, creating about 800 jobs. But Chief Operating Officer Sam Rothschild said it’s become harder to find workers, particularly in places where unemployment has fallen as low as 2 percent, as in parts of Nebraska and Oklahoma. The company raised pay as much as 10 percent last year in those areas.
Chris Warrington, CEO of GeoDigital, a 3-D mapping company based in Atlanta, has also struggled to hire highly skilled workers in fields like artificial intelligence and machine learning.
“We are having to pay a little over what we expected,” he said.
01:42 LOCAL TIME 22:42 GMT

US stocks open higher, lifted by strong job gains

NEW YORK, Rabi’I 28, 1437, January 08, 2016, SPA — Stocks are opening higher on Wall Street as traders were encouraged by news of strong job gains in the US last month, AP reported.
The gains early Friday came a day after the market had its worst drop in three months.
Retailers and technology companies had the biggest gains. Energy stocks rose along with the price of oil.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 82 points, or 0.5 percent, to 16,591 as of 9:35 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow lost 392 points the day before.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 11 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,953. The Nasdaq composite rose 44 points, or 1 percent, to 4,733.
China’s market also rose. The benchmark index in Shanghai gained 2 percent.
Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.17 percent.

20:34 LOCAL TIME 17:34 GMT

U.S. Wholesale Inventories Decline, Sales Plunge

Washington, Rabi’I 28, 1437, Jan 8, 2016, SPA — U.S. wholesale inventories fell for the second consecutive month in November amid an effort by businesses to reduce a stockpile of unsold goods, while sales at the wholesale level plunged by the most in 10 months, the government reported Friday, indicating that economic growth slowed sharply in the fourth quarter.
The Commerce Department said wholesale inventories fell 0.3 percent in November as inventories of both durable and nondurable goods fell. October wholesale inventories also fell 0.3 percent.
Sales by wholesalers fell 1 percent in November, the biggest decline since last January, after falling 0.2 percent in October.
Inventories are a key component in changes to gross domestic product (GDP). The measure of wholesale inventories that is entered into the calculation of GDP—wholesale stocks excluding autos—fell 0.4 percent in November.
The report added to weak data on construction spending, export growth, and manufacturing that have suggested that GDP growth slowed sharply in the last three months of 2015.
Fourth-quarter growth estimates—which currently range from as low as a 0.4 percent annual rate to as high as a 1.1 percent rate—are likely to be revised further downward following the wholesale-inventory report. The economy grew at a 2.0 percent rate in the third quarter.

19:18 LOCAL TIME 16:18 GMT

Canada Economy Adds Jobs

OTTAWA, Rabi’I 28, 1437, January 08, 2016, SPA — Canada added a better-than-expected 22,800 jobs in December, the government said Friday, while the unemployment rate remained at 7.1 percent.
Economists had expected a gain of only 10,000 jobs. The economy shed 35,700 positions in November, marking the end of a temporary hiring surge around the October election.
Statistics Canada said that the economy created 29,200 part-time jobs and lost 6,400 full-time positions in December.
The hard-hit manufacturing and natural resources sectors reported modest gains of 6,100 and 3,800 jobs respectively.

18:42 LOCAL TIME 15:42 GMT

افتتاح المؤتمر العالمي لعلم الحياة المتجددة في قاعة الشعب الكبرى تخليدا لمؤسس علم الحياة المتجددة، الدكتور رونغيانغ شو

بكين، 8 كانون الثاني/يناير، 2016 / بي آر نيوزواير / — تم افتتاح المؤتمر العالمي للتنسيق والتعاون بشأن علم الحياة المتجددة الذي ترعاه مشاركة مؤسسة الصليب الأحمر الصينية ومعهد ميبو للحروق والجروح والقرحة في بكين، بنجاح في قاعة الشعب الكبرى. وشارك في المؤتمر خبراء يتمتعون بخبرات في علم الحياة المتجددة من الداخل والخارج من أجل […]

U.S. Job Creation Surges, Unemployment Steady

Washington, Rabi’I 28, 1437, January 08, 2016, SPA — U.S. job growth surged in December and employment for the previous two months was revised sharply higher, the government reported Friday, suggesting the U.S. economy is defying global trends by growing at a solid pace.
The Labor Department said employers added a strong 292,000 jobs last month, while the unemployment rate held steady at 5 percent for a third consecutive month. November and October payrolls were revised to show 50,000 more jobs created than previously reported. Hiring averaged 284,000 a month in the fourth quarter, the best three-month performance in a year.
Employment gains in December were concentrated in the services sector, with mining losing 8,000 jobs. Employment in the sector fell by 129,000 in 2015, and more losses are expected after oil prices fell this week to 11-year lows.
Manufacturing added 8,000 jobs last month, but the sector added only 17,000 positions in the first 11 months of 2015. Unusually warm weather supported construction hiring, which jumped by 45,000, and there also were gains in the leisure and hospitality sector. Retail payrolls rose only 4,300 as mild temperatures hurt sales of winter clothing.
The strong December figures highlight the resilience of the U.S. economy at a time of global turmoil sparked by China’s slowing economy and plunging stock market. Most economists expect solid U.S. consumer spending will offset any overseas problems, though many forecast only modest growth.
More specifically, the solid employment data should soothe fears over the U.S. economy’s health and suggests the recent weakness in activity is mostly limited to the manufacturing and export-oriented sectors, which have been hurt by a strong dollar and weak global demand. Efforts by businesses to reduce excess inventory and spending cuts by energy companies also have limited economic growth.
Following relatively weak reports on manufacturing, construction spending, and export growth, economists this week cut their fourth-quarter growth estimates by as much as a full percentage point to as low as a 0.4 percent annual rate. The economy grew at a 2 percent rate in the third quarter.

17:43 LOCAL TIME 14:43 GMT