Slower US job gain in August could aid Fed’s inflation fight
WASHINGTON (AP) — America’s employers slowed their hiring in August in the face of rising interest rates, high inflation and sluggish consumer spending, all of which weakened the outlook for the economy. The government reported that the economy added 315,000 jobs last month, down from 526,000 in July and below the average gain of the previous three months. The unemployment rate rose to 3.7%, from a half-century low of 3.5% in July, as more Americans came off the sidelines to look for jobs. The smaller August gain will likely be welcomed by the Federal Reserve. The Fed is rapidly raising interest rates to try to cool hiring and wage growth, which have been consistently strong.
Stocks open higher after jobs report didn’t come in too hot
Stocks are opening higher on Wall Street after a solid report on the jobs market last month that also didn’t came in too high. The government reported that hiring slowed last month, which is exactly what policymakers want to happen in order to cool off inflation. The addition of the 315,000 jobs was also in line with what forecasters were expecting, a thankful lack of surprises that investors found reassuring. The S&P 500 was up just under a half a percent in the early going Friday, but is still headed for its third weekly loss in a row.
When autumn leaves start to fall, will Wall Street follow?
NEW YORK (AP) — Welcome to the worst month of the year for Wall Street. The average September has been 10 times worse than the second-worst month of the year for the U.S. stock market, going back to 1950. Not only that, September has been the only month of the year over that span to turn in a loss more often than a gain. Stretch the horizon even further, back to 1928, and September is still the most common stinker. There’s no clear reason explaining why September has been such a bad month for stocks, though many hypotheses try.
Biden administration awards $1 billion for economic projects
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo are announcing $1 billion in federal grants for manufacturing, clean energy, farming, biotech and other sectors. The grants announced Friday go to 21 regional partnerships. The government chose the winners from 529 applicants that vied for grants that were part of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. The grants include $65 million in California to improve farm production and $25 million for a robotics cluster in Nebraska. Georgia gets $65 million for artificial intelligence. There’s $64 million for lithium-based battery development in New York. West Virginia coal counties receive $63 million to help with the shift to solar power and find new uses for abandoned mines.
Starbucks names former PepsiCo executive as new CEO
Starbucks has named a longtime PepsiCo executive as its new CEO. The coffee giant said Thursday that Laxman Narasimhan will join Starbucks on Oct. 1 after relocating from London to Seattle, where Starbucks is based. He will work closely with Starbucks’ interim CEO, Howard Schultz, through April 1, when he will assume the CEO role and join the company’s board. Narasimhan was most recently CEO of Reckitt, a U.K.-based consumer health and nutrition company that makes Lysol cleaner and Enfamil infant formula, among other products. Reckitt had announced Narasimhan’s surprise departure earlier Thursday.
G-7 pledges to move forward with Russia oil price cap system
BERLIN (AP) — Finance ministers from the Group of Seven industrial powers have pledged to put in place a system designed to cap Russia’s income from oil sales, an idea the nations’ leaders had promised to explore in June. The aim is to reduce Russia’s revenues and, by doing so, its ability to fund its war in Ukraine, while also limiting the impact of the war on global energy prices. In a statement Friday, the ministers said they “confirm our joint political intention to finalize and implement a comprehensive prohibition of services which enable maritime transportation of Russian-origin crude oil and petroleum products globally.” Providing those services would only be allowed if oil is purchased at or below a fixed price.
Nissan eager to leverage US tax credit on electric vehicles
TOKYO (AP) — Nissan says it’s aggressively pushing electric vehicles to take advantage of a new U.S. law that gives up to $7,500 in tax credits. President Joe Biden signed the landmark law last month. The tax credit can be used to defray the cost of purchasing an electric vehicle that’s made in the U.S. The Nissan Leaf electric car is among the models that qualifies. Vehicles must contain a battery built in North America with minerals mined or recycled on the continent to be eligible. Chief Sustainability Officer Joji Tagawa says an analysis is underway at Nissan, though specifics are still undecided.
Lufthansa flights grounded as pilots up pressure over pay
FRANKFURT (AP) — Hundreds of Lufthansa flights have been canceled as pilots stage a one-day strike to press their demands for better pay and conditions at Germany’s biggest carrier. The airline said about 800 flights were grounded Friday at its two biggest hubs, Frankfurt and Munich, due to the walkout. It said more than 100,000 passengers would be affected. The pilots union Vereinigung Cockpit had called for a 5.5% raise this year and an automatic above-inflation increase in 2023. In addition, pilots are seeking a new pay and holiday structure. Strikes are a common tactic in labor disputes in Germany, where powerful unions have traditionally ensured good conditions for workers. Germany has seen the highest inflation in decades this year amid a steep rise in energy prices.
Australia lifts permanent immigration by 35,000 to 195,000
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia has announced it will increase its permanent immigration intake by 35,000 to 195,000 as it grapples with skills and labor shortages. Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil announced on Friday the increase for the year ending June 30, 2023, during a two-day summit of 140 representatives of governments, trade unions, businesses and industry to address skills shortages exacerbated by the pandemic. O’Neil says many of the “best and brightest minds” are choosing to migrate to Canada, Germany and Britain instead of Australia. She described Australia’s immigration program as “fiendishly complex” with more than 70 unique visa programs. She says Australia will establish a panel to rebuild its immigration program in the national interest.
Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard deal gets global scrutiny
Microsoft’s plan to buy video game giant Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion could have major effects on the gaming industry, transforming the Xbox maker into something like a Netflix for video games by giving it control of many more popular titles. But to get to the next level, Microsoft must first survive a barrage of government inquiries from New Zealand to Brazil, and from U.S. regulators emboldened by President Joe Biden to strengthen their enforcement of antitrust laws. In the United Kingdom, regulators on Thursday threatened to escalate their investigation unless both companies come up with proposals soon to ease competition concerns.