January 09, 2020
A Great Year for U.S. Jobs Is Also Likely to Be Worst Since 2011
“It was both a great year for the U.S. jobs market, and the worst in almost a decade. The final jobs report for the year, due Friday, is forecast to show employers added 160,000 jobs in December — down from November’s 266,000 but still well above what’s needed to accommodate population growth. That would bring the 2019 total to 2.14 million, thanks to resilient consumers and a jump in government spending. The projected full-year figure would be about a quarter-million above what economists were expecting a year ago. But it’s also the slowest gain since 2011 and down from 2018’s more-robust 2.68 million. And both the 2018 and 2019 totals may be lowered in revisions due next month.”
U.K. Retail Sales See Worst Year on Record in 2019, Data Show
“Retail sales in Britain posted their worst year on record in 2019, as Black Friday overtook Christmas as the biggest shopping week of the year and political uncertainty weighed on confidence, the British Retail Consortium said. The value of goods sold posted an unprecedented decline, falling 0.1% compared with a 1.2% increase in 2018, the lobby group said in a report published Thursday. Sales at stores operating for at least a year declined 0.5%.”
China Touts Foreign Access to Oil and Gas Ahead of U.S. Trade Deal
“China said it will open up oil and gas exploration to private and foreign firms, offering further details of a policy that will help assuage concerns over access to the industry ahead of next week’s signing of an interim trade deal with the U.S. Companies with net assets of at least 300 million yuan ($43 million) can apply for licenses as part of “a major reform,” the resources ministry said at a briefing on Thursday. Previously, only state-owned firms have been eligible for permits, an approach that has retarded efforts by Beijing to expand domestic production and cut its enormous import bill. More broadly, China has adopted a slew of measures in the last couple of years to help ease commercial frictions with the U.S., including opening up its financial sector to foreign ownership and taking steps to ban forced technology transfers. ”
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