“Companies Add Fewest U.S. Workers in Nearly a Year, ADP Says.”
Companies last month added the fewest number of workers in nearly a year, reflecting a hit to the U.S. job market from hurricanese Harvey and Irma, according to data released Wednesday from the ADP Research Institute in Roseland, New Jersey.
The report is the latest to show economic data are being affected by the tropical storms. The swings may continue in coming months, following the pattern seen after major weather events such as superstorm Sandy in the Northeast in 2012.
Excluding the impact of the weather, the labor market continues to make progress, helping to underpin consumer spending, the biggest part of the economy. At the same time, employers face the challenge of finding skilled workers as the job market is tightening.
The ADP results provide a signal for the private payrolls tally in the September jobs report due from the Labor Department on Friday.
“Hurricanes Harvey and Irma hurt the job market in September,” Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Pennsylvania, said in a statement. Moody’s produces the figures with ADP. “Looking through the storms the job market remains sturdy and strong.”
The data also reported that hiring in construction rose by 29,000 in September; factories added 18,000 workers; Professional and business services expanded their workforce by 51,000 while education and health services added 29,000 workers; Employment declined by 18,000 in trade services, transportation and utilities and Companies employing 500 or more workers increased staffing by 79,000 jobs; payrolls rose by 63,000 at medium-sized businesses, or those with 50 to 499 employees; and small companies reduced payrolls by 7,000.
“Russia throws North Korea lifeline to stymie regime change.”
Russia is quietly boosting economic support for North Korea to try to stymie any U.S.-led push to oust Kim Jong Un as Moscow fears his fall would sap its regional clout and allow U.S. troops to deploy on Russia’s eastern border.
Though Moscow wants to try to improve battered U.S.-Russia relations in the increasingly slim hope of relief from Western sanctions over Ukraine, it remains strongly opposed to what it sees as Washington’s meddling in other countries’ affairs.
Yet while Russia has an interest in protecting North Korea, which started life as a Soviet satellite state, it is not giving Pyongyang a free pass: it backed tougher United Nations sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear tests last month. But Moscow is also playing a fraught double game, by quietly offering North Korea a slender lifeline to help insulate it from U.S.-led efforts to isolate it economically.
With Russia due to hold a presidential election in March, politicians are again starting to fret about Western meddling. In 2011, President Vladimir Putin accused then U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of trying to stir up unrest in Russia and he has made clear that he wants the United States to leave Kim Jong Un alone.
While condemning Pyongyang for what he called provocative nuclear tests, Putin told a forum last month in the eastern Russian port of Vladivostok that he understood North Korea’s security concerns about the United States and South Korea.
If the United States were to remove Kim Jong Un by force, he said Russia could face a refugee and humanitarian crisis on its border, while the weapons and technology Pyongyang is developing could fall into even more dangerous non-state hands.
So despite Russia giving lukewarm backing to tighter sanctions on Pyongyang, Putin wants to help its economy grow and is advocating bringing it into joint projects with other countries in the region. “We need to gradually integrate North Korea into regional cooperation,” Putin told the Vladivostok summit last month.
“Trump’s First Move on Puerto Rico Debt Is a Classic Emerging Markets Play.”
President Donald Trump’s starting point for repaying Puerto Rico’s $74 billion in debt — zero — isn’t just hallmark behavior from the man who wrote “The Art of the Deal.” It recalls some classic emerging-market sovereign debt restructurings of recent years.
Think Argentina, which long argued that its ability to repay $100 billion in debt was next to nothing. Every time the populist president spoke about the country’s liabilities, creditors were cast as “vultures” and the other main party trying to bring Argentina in line was dubbed “The International Misery Fund.” And there’s Ecuador, where populist President Rafael Correa rose to power in 2007 on an anti-investor platform and declared the national debt illegitimate.
True, Puerto Rico is a commonwealth and the liabilities are municipal bonds, not U.S. sovereign debt, but Trump’s suggestion that “you can say goodbye to that” debt bears the hallmarks of a populist leader facing tumult in the streets.
It doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the final offer, though. Those worried that the president will actually “wipe out” the debt can take some comfort from the eventual deals. Correa’s government wound up paying 35 cents on those “illegitimate” bonds. In Buenos Aires, even though it took more than a decade to work out, Argentina regained access to international capital markets by paying back about 25 cents on the dollar.
“Pro-independence Catalans defy King Felipe VI’s warning.”
Pro-independence Catalan leaders are pressing ahead despite an emphatic warning from King Felipe VI. Catalan President Carles Puigdemont told the BBC he would declare independence «at the end of this week or the beginning of next». The king branded Sunday’s referendum illegal and undemocratic. But correspondents say his failure to acknowledge the violent repression of the vote has fired up rather than deterred independence supporters.
Meanwhile, Spain’s high court has summoned the head of Catalonia’s regional police force to testify as a suspect in a investigation of alleged sedition – inciting rebellion against the state. Josep Lluís Trapero and three other people are expected to appear in court on Friday in a move likely to inflame sentiment further amid Spain’s deepest political crisis in decades, say correspondents.
Groups in the Catalan parliament have agreed that parliament should meet in full assembly on Monday. Mr Puigdemont could also use that occasion to make a unilateral declaration of independence. When asked what he would do if the Spanish government were to intervene and take control of Catalonia’s government, Mr Puigdemont said it would be «an error which changes everything». Under Article 155 of the Spanish constitution, the government in Madrid is permitted to impose direct rule on autonomous regions.
More than 2.2 million people voted on Sunday, according to the Catalan government. Officials put the vote in support of independence at nearly 90%, but official results have not yet been released. There are several reports of gaping irregularities, partly attributed to a system which permitted voters to cast their ballots anywhere in a bid to get around the police measures to stop the vote. Spanish media carried reports of some Catalan areas counting far more votes than residents.
Catalan officials said the turnout was 42%, potentially weakening the position of Mr Puigdemont.