The Jobs of August – WSJ


So much for the economy falling off an August cliff. That was the prediction in progressive economic circles amid a summer Covid-19 surge and the reduction in government payments to individuals. But Friday’s blowout jobs report for August reveals a labor market and economy that continue to recover in encouraging fashion.

The economy added 1.4 million jobs in the month while the unemployment rate declined 1.8 percentage points to 8.4%. Temporary Census hires filled 238,000 of those jobs. But the economy has nonetheless added 10.5 million private jobs in four months, about half as many as were lost in the recession caused by government-ordered lockdowns. The recovery after the 2008-2009 recession took three years to make this much progress, and the jobless rate was still 8.1% in August 2012.

Labor force participation increased 0.3 percentage points to 61.7%, up 1.5 points from its April low. This is still 1.7 percentage points below its February peak, but the increase means that hundreds of thousands of Americans are continuing to return to the workforce. By contrast, labor force participation declined in the five years after the 2009 recession. Our contributor Donald Luskin notes that the number of Americans receiving Social Security disability payments is 9.8 million, one million fewer than in August 2012.

One reason the Barack Obama-Joe Biden jobs recovery was so slow is that Congress increased government transfers such as food stamps and Medicaid and repeatedly extended 99 weeks of unemployment benefits, which didn’t lapse until the end of 2012. The expansion of government transfer payments reduced the incentive for Americans to return to work.

Democrats call that compassion, but it’s a cruel sort of kindness for many. Skills atrophy when they aren’t put to use, making it harder to re-enter the workforce later. Notably in August, as in 2013, the job market didn’t go into a tailspin when the $600 a week in federal enhanced unemployment benefits expired at the end of July. Two-thirds of unemployed Americans had been making more by not working. Most states have signed up for President Trump’s $300 a week substitute for the $600, and that is much less of a disincentive to work.

Job growth was especially notable in lower-paid industries like retail (249,000), leisure and hospitality (174,000), and transportation and warehousing (78,000). Unemployment rates also fell sharply among teens (16.1%), blacks (13%) and Hispanics (10.5%).

All of this means the economy is growing again as the lockdowns ebb and despite the lack of another spending blowout from Washington, D.C. The downturn was a recession, not the depression that many feared in March. The Atlanta Federal Reserve’s GDPNow formula is predicting third-quarter growth of nearly 30% year-over-year.

Consumer spending may slow without more federal checks, but perhaps not as much as feared with a recovering job market and average hourly earnings up 4.65% from August last year. They’re up 4.9% for production workers. People have pent up savings—the savings rate was 17.8% in July—and the wealth effect from rising home and stock prices despite the selloff in tech stocks this week will also help. Home prices are up 12% year-over-year, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has risen 51% from its March trough.

Manufacturing is also rebounding as Europe and China reopen their economies, supply-chain bottlenecks ease, and home building surges. The Institute for Supply Management reported this week that its manufacturing index last month hit a 21-month high. Most industries reported that their biggest challenge is a shortage of raw materials and supplies.

The economy still has a long way to go to return to its pre-Covid heights, and that will take time and probably a vaccine. Covid aside, the biggest barrier to recovery now is election uncertainty and the potential for anti-growth policies if Democrats take the Senate as well as the House and Presidency. Meanwhile, happy Labor Day.

Main Street: When Donald Trump declared himself “the president of law and order,” immediate comparisons ran to Richard Nixon and 1968. Today’s analogy likens Joe Biden to Hubert Humphrey. Images: Getty Images/Hulton Archive Composite: Mark Kelly

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These jobs won’t come back after COVID-19 pandemic


Gad Levanon is head of The Conference Board’s Labor Market Institute. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own.

The pandemic has shaken up the US workforce. Between February and April, more than 22 million jobs were lost.

What recession will mean for jobs
People line up outside Centrelink. (AAP)
The jobs reports later in 2020 are likely to show the recovery unfolding at a more modest pace. I do not expect the economy to add more than three million jobs for the rest of the year.

Overall, employment will remain well below pre-pandemic levels for the rest of 2020 and into 2021.

Most of the job losses thus far have been in industries impacted by social distancing, such as entertainment, restaurants and personal care. Those industries are likely to recover once the fear of the pandemic subsides.

Even though retail sales had returned to pre-recession levels by July, employment in the retail sales industry was down 5.8 per cent between February and that month. Excluding food and beverage stores, employment in retail sales was down 7.5 per cent.

Big names such as JCPenney, Brooks Brothers and Sur La Table are among the dozens of retailers which have filed for bankruptcy during the downturn. The imminent bankruptcies of others suggest layoffs are far from over in this industry.

Hundreds of jobs are set to be lost. (9News)

The retail apocalypse long predicted because of the shift to e-commerce has arrived.

At the same time, many tasks in business-to-business sales jobs are susceptible to automation, which may lead to the elimination of many sales jobs.

Office and administrative support jobs

In the past decade, the jobs that were most likely to be replaced by technology were not in manufacturing, as many tend to believe, but were in office and administrative-support jobs, including many routine office jobs done by workers typically without a bachelor’s degree.

Since the pandemic began, the unemployment rate for these workers increased much more than for other office jobs, from 3.3 per cent in February to 9.8 per cent in July.

As many businesses are desperate to cut labour costs, expect businesses to use technology to further automate these types of jobs.

The pandemic has accelerated the shift to online learning because colleges and universities nationwide were compelled to finish the 2019-2020 academic year remotely.

The 2020-2021 academic year is opening with a major online component which is only increasing as more colleges reverse course and shift back to remote learning.

Queues of people line up at Poulos Bros in Pyrmont, Sydney, who have donated fish to clients and people in the hospitality industry who have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus.
Queues of people line up at Poulos Bros in Pyrmont, Sydney, who have donated fish to clients and people in the hospitality industry who have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus. (Kate Geraghty/Sydney Morning Herald)

The rise in online education and the resulting reduction in teaching staff is likely to remain even after the pandemic is over.

The large drop in revenues and financial support from state and local governments may encourage colleges and universities to cut labour costs by further shifting to cheaper-to-produce online education.

Private higher education employment was down 12 per cent between February and June.

Many higher education institutions are likely to merge or close entirely in the next couple of years.

The pandemic dramatically reduced the number of business trips taken. Because workers have found that they can collaborate effectively through video conferencing technologies, business travel is likely to remain below pre-pandemic levels.

Before this year, business travellers made up a small percent of airline passengers across the major global carriers, but a significant portion of revenue.

Similarly, business travelers generated about 70 per cent of total revenues for global hotel brands reliant on corporate meetings and events.

The permanent drop in business volume and revenues will mean fewer hotel and airline jobs even after the pandemic is over.

Non-residential construction

The massive shift to remote work, online shopping and online learning will lead to a drop in demand for retail and office space, including for higher education. This change will be large and relatively sudden.

It will have an unprecedented impact on non-residential real estate construction as buildings stop going up. Employment in industries that rely on providing services to office buildings and retail stores, such as cleaning and security, will suffer as well.

The good news is that these impacts could be worse. One commonality among the affected sectors is that for the most part, the types of jobs that are likely to not fully recover from the COVID-19 recession tend to not require a bachelor’s degree.

In normal times that would mean long-lasting high unemployment rates for workers without college degrees. But the massive retirement of baby boomers that will occur through the rest of the decade will lower the supply of non-college graduate workers.

That drop in supply will help offset the depleted demand, leading to a new equilibrium.

Toward the middle of the decade, the labour market for non-college graduates will return to normal, but the road getting there will not be pleasant.

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Australia recession: 400,000 more jobs will be lost before Christmas


Labor has slammed the Morrison Government’s planned JobSeeker payment cut as thousands more Australians are expected to lose their jobs by Christmas.

The unemployment stimulus, which gives people out of work $1115 a fortnight while they try to find a job, will be cut to $815 on September 24 – and then $565 on December 31 when the supplement is due to end.

Labor fears the reduction will cause mass job losses and a knock-on effect on businesses with consumers having less money to spend. Dropping the payments by $250 means $375 million less will be pumped into the economy.

It comes as Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced the country is officially in recession for the first time in 30 years.

After the Australian Bureau of Statistics released grim figures that the economy plunged by a record seven per cent in the June quarter alone, Labor leader Anthony Albanese attempted to move a motion to acknowledge the one million Australians out of work and 400,000 more expected to lose their jobs by Christmas.

RELATED: ‘Diabolical’: Grim warning for Aussie jobs

Unemployment remains at an all-time high as Australia slips into a deep economic recession. Picture: David Gray/Getty Images
media_cameraUnemployment remains at an all-time high as Australia slips into a deep economic recession. Picture: David Gray/Getty Images

“The Reserve Bank governor says unemployment is going to be higher for longer, and still around seven per cent in two years’ time,” Mr Albanese said.

“The Prime Minister is withdrawing support for Australians and the economy and … (Labor) therefore calls on the Government to develop a plan to create jobs for Australians, instead of withdrawing support and cutting wages.”

Linda Burney, Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services, told the Daily Mail that the JobSeeker rate should be permanently increased to December to help support the economy.

“Australians who are out of work or who have had hours reduced during this crisis are spending their JobSeeker payments on local businesses, sustaining local jobs,” she said.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has formulated a five-year-plan to create jobs and re-establish business investments in order to ensure Australia can recover from the recession, which is the nation’s worst downturn since WWII.

Australia has recorded the highest unemployment rate in 22 years as workers struggle to keep jobs due to the economic hit from the COVID-19 pandemic.

RELATED: Follow our live coronavirus updates

The Prime Minister says he is focused on getting people off JobSeeker and into jobs. Picture: David Gray/Getty Images
media_cameraThe Prime Minister says he is focused on getting people off JobSeeker and into jobs. Picture: David Gray/Getty Images

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said he will consider announcing a permanent increase for unemployed workers in the October budget – but he is focused on getting Aussies off JobSeeker and back into work.

More than one million Australians are now out of work and hours worked also fell a record 9.8 per cent. The RBA is expecting the downturn sparked by the pandemic will cause unemployment to peak at 10 per cent.

The Government estimates that 1.5 million Australians will be on JobSeeker in December.

It doubled the stimulus payment in March to cushion the blow for hundreds of thousands of Australians who lost their jobs due to the impact of the pandemic.

Penalties for people refusing a job offer are expected to be reintroduced. Job search requirements will increase this month when the assets test will also return.

The permanent JobSeeker rate to take effect from January next year will be announced in the October 6 budget.

RELATED: Australia’s $158b way out of recession

One million people are out of work as the economy is in a deep recession. Picture: David Geraghty/NCA NewsWire
media_cameraOne million people are out of work as the economy is in a deep recession. Picture: David Geraghty/NCA NewsWire

For business owners, the $1500 JobKeeper fortnightly wage subsidy will continue until September 27 when it will be reduced to $1200 for full-time workers and $750 for people working 20 hours or less.

From January to March, the full-time rate will be $1000 and part-time will reduce to $650.

Without the JobKeeper wage subsidy, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has warned an extra 700,000 Australians would be out of a job.

Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers warned cutting JobKeeper will force the recession into “deeper and longer” territory and Shadow Finance Minister Katy Gallagher accused the Government of failing to provide a plan to address the “very human impact” of the coronavirus-induced recession.

Originally published as 400,000 more jobs may go by Christmas



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Costa Coffee warns up to 1,650 jobs are at risk


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Coffee chain Costa Coffee has said that up to 1,650 roles are at risk of being cut, as it is forced to reduce costs because of the impact of coronavirus.

It says there are still “high levels of uncertainty” as to when trade will regain pre-pandemic volumes.

The firm is consulting with staff to try to find roles in other parts of the business for those facing redundancy.

Costa Coffee said the decision to cut jobs was an “extremely difficult” one to make.

“Our baristas are the heart of the Costa business and I am truly sorry that many now face uncertainty following today’s news,” said Neil Lake, managing director for Costa Coffee UK and Ireland.

The company is suggesting the role of assistant store manager will be removed in branches across the UK.

Most of its UK coffee shops that were closed during lockdown have now reopened, but the impact of Covid-19 remains “challenging”, the company said in a statement.

Despite benefiting from measures such as the government’s cut in VAT for the hospitality industry and the “eat out to help out” scheme, the company said, “there remain high levels of uncertainty as to when trade will recover to pre-Covid levels”.

It added that it had already frozen all pay increases within its support centre and cut all non-essential expenditure.

Costa employs 16,000 people in its wholly owned coffee shops, and there are a further 10,500 people working in its franchise network.

“We have had to make these difficult decisions to protect the business and ensure we safeguard as many jobs as possible for our 16,000 team members, whilst emerging stronger, ready for future growth”, the company said.

It is the latest food and drink company to make cuts following the lockdown and the resulting lack of shoppers and office workers in town centres.

Businesses that rely on lunchtime or after-work trade from offices have been particularly hard hit.

Last week, sandwich chain Pret A Manger announced it would be cutting 3,000 jobs, a third of its workforce.

Julie Palmer, partner at the business recovery firm, Begbies Traynor, said many firms were currently trying to cut costs.

“Attempts are being made by some businesses to work with local councils in order to utilise outside spaces where consumers feel more comfortable, but with winter approaching, they are running out of time”, she commented.

“It’s likely that as businesses try to recoup their losses from the past few months, many others will follow a similar suit to Costa Coffee.”



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Jobs for the poorest of the poor begins on September 02


Colombo, 01 September, (Asiantribune.com):

Job recipients giving cash or any kind of bribe to any party will be a disqualification The Programme of providing 100,000 employment opportunities aimed at eradicating poverty will commence on September 02.

The objective of the Programme is to empower those who live in absolute poverty with no formal education and skills through the Multi-Purpose Development Task Force established by the government.

* Job recipients are selected on the basis of the following criteria

* Unskilled workers who have no formal education or with education lower G.C.E. Ordinary Level examination.

* Must be not less than 18 years of age and not more than 40 years of age on the closing date for applications.

Being an unemployed member of a family eligible to receive Samurdhi benefits but does not receive it, or being a member of a family receiving Samurdhi benefits but unemployed.

* Being an unemployed member of a family with elderly, sick parents or disabled members.

* Be a permanent resident of the area of application.

Selection for training programme

* One individual with above qualifications from one family will be considered.

* Based upon available job opportunities in proximity to the applicant’s residence and his choice of field for training, his/her vocational program will be decided.

* Training program will be conducted at the Training Centers in the same area of the applicant’s residence or at the nearby Training Centers

* Following successful training, the applicants will be employed in his/her area of residence or in nearby areas

Salary and Allowances

* During 6-month continuous training program a monthly allowance of Rs 22,500 will be paid. Following successful completion of the training program, trainees will have the opportunity to be appointed to an accepted permanent government position in his own residence area with a non-primary skilled salary of Rs. 35,000 and allowances. After a satisfactory and uninterrupted career record of 10 years, he/she will be eligible for a pension.

Employments willOnlybe awarded based on the above criteria and any form of bribery will result in immediate rejection of the job opportunity.

– Asian Tribune –

 Jobs for the poorest of the poor  begins on September 02

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Maersk to cut jobs in major reorganization, internal email says


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COPENHAGEN — Shipping group Maersk will cut job cuts as part of a major reorganization, an internal email sent to Maersk employees shows.

Maersk, which handles about one in five containers shipped worldwide, has been under pressure from investors to speed its transformation from an unwieldy conglomerate.

The company sold its oil and gas assets in 2017 to Total as part of efforts to become a more streamlined company focused on its container and in-land logistics business for large customers such as Walmart and Nike.

The integration of its Damco freight forwarding business and Africa-focused carrier Safmarine will take place by the end of this year, with its Hamburg Sud operation also affected by the shake-up, the email said.

“Simplifying the organization will regrettably impact jobs due to duplicate roles and roles that will no longer be needed,” Chief Commercial Officer Vincent Clerc said in the email.

Maersk declined to comment on the internal email. The email gave no detail on the number of job cuts or employees affected.

Hamburg Sud, will remain a separate brand but its back office will be rolled into that of Maersk, Clerc said in the email.

Maersk’s share price has nearly doubled since March, but is still a fifth below a peak three years ago. They were trading 0.1% up at 9,558 crowns by 0745 GMT. (Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen and Euan Rocha Editing by Jason Neely and David Goodman)



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Number of payroll jobs went down again, but there is help



PAYROLL jobs in northern NSW have reduced by 6.6 per cent since the beginning of the pandemic.

Data released by the ABS compared payroll job numbers from March 14 (the day Australia recorded its 100th COVID-19 case) and August 8.

As a country, Australia’s payroll jobs decreased by 5.5 per cent in the same period, while NSW recorded a reduction of 4.4 per cent.

The numbers for Tweed-Richmond show the area remains more than 1 per cent above the state and the country’s average.

Read more >> See what the data was in July

Richmond Tweed’s rate of payroll job losses also remained higher compared to all other regional NSW areas, with Grafton-Coffs following closely with a reduction of 5.3 per cent.

The hardest-hit area in NSW was Sydney City and Inner Suburbs with a decrease of 8.5 per cent.

Regional Development Australia – Northern Rovers director Tim Williamson said there are tools to help those looking for work.

“We know that there are employers looking to hire staff with related skills to these industries, so we have launched the new My Future Workforce platform for the Northern Rivers as a free service. If people are seeking work, or employers have jobs to offer they can join the platform via the RDA Northern Rivers website,” he said.

“The region seems to be experiencing the effects of the three industries which are under the most pressure; tourism, arts and recreation, and agricultural sector.”

“While this is just one data set, there are many others which make up the full picture. And I know that by working together, the local community is best placed to provide local solutions.

“Furthermore, RDA Northern Rivers has recently joined with RDA Mid North Coast to work with all sectors and key stakeholders on the NSW North Coast to make sure all the major parts of the broader employment system are working together.”

Read more >> JOBS: Business trying to employ ‘as many people as we can’

Read more >> How some businesses have grown despite the pandemic





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‘JobKeeper about preserving jobs not wages’: Treasurer


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Finnair to cut 1,000 jobs in response to new travel restrictions


FINNAIR on Tuesday announced it will initiate consultative negotiations with 2,800 of its staff with a view to reducing its headcount by roughly 1,000, reports Helsingin Sanomat.

The Finnish majority state-owned airline cited new travel restrictions as the reason for the redundancies, explaining that they have left it in a situation where it believes temporary lay-offs will not suffice.

The airline will also resort to new temporary lay-offs and extend the temporary lay-offs of almost all of its employees in Finland.

No members of its flight crew are presently at risk of losing their job, however. Finnair revealed that its objective is to safeguard the continuation of its core business and ensure its flight crew – namely, pilots, co-pilots and cabin crew – can resume work gradually once the markets begin to recover and the number of flights increase.

The airline also announced it will raise the target of its belt-tightening campaign from 80 to 100 million euros.

Topi Manner, the CEO of Finnair, on Tuesday reiterated that the coronavirus pandemic is the worst crisis in the history of the aviation industry. The pandemic and the “exceptionally strict” travel restrictions adopted by the government have undermined demand for flights to the extent that the airline will operate only a small share of the flights it did last year.

“No immediate change for the better is unfortunately on the horizon,” he added. “Our revenues have diminished substantially, and that is why we simply have to align our costs with our new size.”

Finnair saw its passenger traffic come to a near complete stop due to the adoption of travel restrictions in and outside Finland in April and May. Although the coinciding up-tick in cargo traffic offset some of the losses, the airline was incurring a daily operating loss of two million euros.

Although passenger services started to increase last month, the volumes remained at about 10 per cent of those of July 2019.

Manner estimated last month that the airline could be able to operate roughly a half of its usual flights as soon as in September. The estimate has since been lowered to 30 per cent due to the adoption of new travel restrictions by the Finnish government.

“Airlines are fighting for their existence,” conceded Tytti Tuppurainen (SDP), the Minister of European Affairs and Ownership Steering.

The Finnish government, she underlined, has yet to make any decisions on additional financial support for the airline but is committed to supporting the airline to overcome the coronavirus pandemic.

“As the majority owner, we’re committed to supporting the company in weathering this difficult crisis,” she affirmed.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT



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