Saturday, July 8, 2017

US jobs growth faster than forecast; South Africa sees retail job losses; GM back as US' most valued carmaker

1 US jobs growth faster than forecast (BBC) US employment rose by more than expected last month, but wage growth remained subdued, latest figures show. The economy added 222,000 jobs in June, the US Department of Labor said, and job creation in April and May was higher than previously estimated.

However, despite the job gains and a low 4.4% unemployment rate, wage growth remained tepid. Average wages rose 2.5% year-on-year, which analysts said was a sign the market still had room to improve.

Economists have expected job growth to slow and wages to rise, as more people are employed and firms have a harder time hiring. Some of the strongest employment growth in June came in the fields of health care and social assistance, financial activities and mining. Government employment also increased.

But there are still more than five million Americans working part-time who would like to have full-time work, according to the Labor Department's report.

2 South Africa sees retail job losses (Palesa Vuyolwethu Tshandu in Johannesburg Times) As retail and consumer businesses continue to see margins freeze, industry pundits warn that job losses may be on the horizon for what were once the darling stocks of the JSE.

Rod Salmon, a consumer and retail analyst at Barclays, said the retail industry was expected to see job cuts. "If you look at how many jobs Edcon cut, they are going to have the same in Woolworths, Truworths and TFG ... everyone will cut jobs to become more efficient."

He added that for retailers the two biggest costs were rent and staff and to create greater efficiencies retailers would now have to start shedding in those key areas. Edcon CEO Bernie Brookes has not been immune to job losses, having closed down 100 stores last year, with 150 more expected to close this year.

Retail is one of the biggest employers in the country, with consumption contributing about 63% of the country's GDP. According to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey, in the first quarter 3.2 million people were employed in the trade sector. This makes the sector the second-largest employer after the government.

On a quarterly basis 15 000 jobs were lost in the sector, which could be an early indication of worse to come or could be explained by a temporary increase in seasonal workers over the festive season. On an annual basis 49 000 more people were employed in the trade sector.

Andre Kriel, general secretary at the South African Clothing and Textile Workers' Union (Sactwu), said the organisation was concerned about the state of retail, as most of Sactwu's members were in manufacturing and were affected by retail's struggles.

3 GM back as US’ most valued carmaker (Khaleej Times) After three months as the nation's most valuable automaker, a bad week in an otherwise stellar year has knocked Tesla from the top perch. Over the first six months of the year, Tesla shares gained more than 50 per cent and the electric car company passed General Motors and Ford in market cap.

But shares have plunged almost 15 per cent this week, translating to lost market value of $8.7 billion. GM has regained the top spot with a value of $52.67 billion compared with $50.74 billion for Tesla. Tesla has been hit by a trifecta of bad news.

Tesla's gains this year are still noteworthy. The shares are still up more than 40 per cent. GM shares gained about two per cent in the same period, while Ford's have declined.

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