Posts Tagged ‘jobs’

Moody’s raises India rating, citing reforms

November 17, 2017


© AFP | Prime Minister Narendra Modi swept to power three years ago on a promise to reform India’s economy and create jobs for the growing youth population

NEW DELHI (AFP) – Moody’s on Friday upgraded India’s credit rating for the first time in more than a decade, citing economic reforms introduced under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.The move comes almost two months after the Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s lowered their ratings on regional rival China citing the country’s ballooning debt burden.

Moody’s raised its rating on India to Baa2 from Baa3, the first such move since January 2004, saying recent reforms would enhance productivity, stimulate foreign and domestic investment and foster “strong and sustainable growth”.

These include a new national goods and services tax and a controversial 2016 ban on high-value bank notes aimed at tackling widespread tax evasion.

“Continued progress on economic and institutional reforms will, over time, enhance India’s high growth potential,” the agency said.

Modi swept to power in 2014 on a promise to reform India’s economy and create jobs for a burgeoning youth population.

But critics point out that joblessness remains high and the reforms have not come without pain.

They have acted as a drag on growth, which hit a three year low of 5.7 percent in the first quarter of the current financial year.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley called the upgrade “a belated recognition of all the positive steps which have been taken in India in the last few years”.

“It’s extremely encouraging that there’s an international recognition and it merely furthers our determination to follow the track which we have embarked upon,” Jaitley told reporters.

The move boosted Indian stocks more than one percent, while the rupee strengthened to 64.86 against the dollar, from Thursday’s 65.29.


France’s Emmanuel Macron blames state for fueling extremism, vows solutions — Wants to energize urban poor, end radicalization

November 15, 2017

The French president has announced a massive policy overhaul for the country’s poorest neighborhoods. Poor, urban suburbs have become breeding grounds for radicalization.

French President Emmanuel Macron announced his plan to overhaul France's poorest neighborhoods at Clichy-sous-Bois, a neighborhood which once erupted in violent protests against isolation and discriminationFrench President Emmanuel Macron announced his plan to overhaul France’s poorest neighborhoods at Clichy-sous-Bois, a neighborhood which once erupted in violent protests against isolation and discrimination

French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday unveiled a series of new social and economic policies for the country’s poorest neighborhoods. Macron partly blamed the French state for contributing to the rise of homegrown extremism by abandoning low income areas.

In the suburbs of France’s biggest cities, including Paris, low-income neighborhoods dominated by housing projects have highlighted the state’s inability to integrate generations of migrants and stimulate economic livelihood.

Read more: EU introduces new measures to combat ‘low-tech’ terrorism

“In these neighborhoods we have closed schools, cut aid for the oldest and youngest, and other groups have arrived touting solutions for all of that,” Macron said, referring to ultra-conservative Islamic associations. “Radicalization took root because the state checked out.”

In 2005, the so-called “banlieue” of Clichy-sous-Bois on the outskirts of Paris became a focal point of the state’s public policy on discrimination and isolation when violent protests erupted in response to the death of two boys killed while fleeing police.

In 2005, violent protests against isolation and discrimination erupted in the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, a banlieue marked by the French state's failure to meet the needs of the country's poorest neighborhoodsIn 2005, violent protests against isolation and discrimination erupted in the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, a “banlieue” marked by the French state’s failure to meet the needs of the country’s poorest neighborhoods

Macron’s plans to tackle the root cause of social and economic isolation, include overhauling funding for public housing, expanding child care, improving public transport links and offering subsidies to companies that hire youth from targeted areas.

Read more: Emmanuel Macron — French savior or tormentor?

Reign of terror

France has witnessed several large-scale terrorist attacks over the past three years. In November 2015, sympathizers of the “Islamic State” (IS) militant group launched a series of attacks across Paris, leaving 130 people dead.

Earlier that year, al-Qaeda operatives staged an attack on the offices of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket, while another IS supporter drove a lorry into a crowd of revelers commemorating France’s Bastille Day in 2016, killing 86 people.

Read more: France takes anti-terror legislation to next level

According to Laurent Nunez, who heads France’s domestic intelligence agency, nearly 18,000 people in the country have been placed on radicalism watch lists – and that number is growing.

Theresa May’s ability to deliver Brexit in doubt amid growing threat to her leadership

November 13, 2017

The Prime Minister must push through her Brexit legislation this week after a torrid 10 days

By Joe Watts Political Editor

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling

Theresa May. Credit PA Wire – PA Images

Theresa May’s ability to deliver Brexit is in doubt amid a growing threat to her leadership and concerns over whether she still has the political clout to govern.

Ms May must this week renew the drive to push her EU withdrawal Bill through the House of Commons, with Tory MPs who backed Remain in the referendum threatening to join forces with Jeremy Corbyn’s party to impose changes.

But Labour and other opposition parties warned that Ms May no longer has enough authority over the Conservatives to secure the Bill’s passage, after it emerged some 40 Tory MPs may now be willing to sign a letter of no confidence in her and a note emerged in which two cabinet ministers appear to direct her Brexit policy.

It also follows reports that the EU is preparing for the collapse of Brexit talks and of her Government, which is torn between trying to give more ground in Brexit talks to achieve progress while also maintaining the support of Eurosceptic Tories who want no further compromise.

Labour’s Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer wrote a letter to the Prime Minister on Monday raising concerns that she no longer has the influence over her own party to deliver key facets of a successful Brexit – in particular, securing a transition period to smooth the withdrawal.

The letter said: “Over recent weeks, it has become increasingly clear that you alone do not have the authority to deliver a transitional deal with Europe and to take the necessary steps to protect jobs and the economy.”

© AFP | The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said Britain needed to increase its offer on its exit bill

Brexit: Article 50 author says Theresa May is misleading the public on reversing result

The letter urged the Government to work with Labour, accepting its amendments to her Bill to come to an agreed position in the “national interest”.

The most difficult Commons battle over her EU withdrawal Bill will not occur until December, after the Budget, but even if it clears its stages in the lower House, Liberal Democrat Leader Sir Vince Cable has told The Independent it will be amended in the Lords by a coalition of opposition and crossbench peers and Tory rebels.

Sir Keir’s letter went on to point out how cabinet ministers, including Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, had appeared to make statements that contradicted her Brexit plans as set out in a major speech in Florence earlier in the year.

Reports also emerged at the weekend that Mr Johnson and fellow Brexiteer Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, wrote a secret memo to the Prime Minister setting out how a transition should occur and indicating that she should be “underlining your resolve” over withdrawal.

The SNP’s Stephen Gethins said: “If it wasn’t clear before, it is now – Theresa May has lost all authority and credibility in government.

“The revelation that leading Brexiteers Boris Johnson and Michael Gove are now brazenly able to dictate their hard Brexit demands … goes to show that they think they can say and do as they please, knowing fine well Theresa May is powerless to act.

“Theresa May is Prime Minister only by title.”

EU chief negotiator: UK has two weeks to agree Brexit ‘divorce’ bill or no trade talks this year

A torrid 10 days has seen Ms May lose two cabinet ministers, Sir Michael Fallon and Priti Patel, while her deputy Damian Green is still under investigation over allegations of inappropriate behaviour which he denies, and Mr Johnson is defending himself against calls to resign over a diplomatic gaffe relating to British woman Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who is imprisoned in Iran.

Amid the turmoil the number of MPs willing to put their name to a letter of no confidence is reported to have risen to 40, just eight short of the number needed to trigger a vote on Ms May’s future.

A senior Tory MP told The Independent: “Patience is wearing very thin and in some cases, it has snapped.”

But Brexit Secretary David Davis said he is “quite certain” Ms May will remain Prime Minister at least throughout Brexit, dismissing the Government’s recent series of crises as “flurries” and adding that all governments have “issues that come up and go”.

Gordon Brown on Brexit: Britain will hit a ‘crisis point’ next summer

The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier confirmed reports that Brussels is planning for Brexit talks to collapse, though he said it is not the preferred option.

On other reports of EU leaders actively planning for a situation where Ms May is not Prime Minister, Mr Davis said: “I know it was in the papers, I would be very surprised if they really are planning that.

“The Prime Minister will be here right through Brexit, to my retirement as it were until the end of Brexit and she’ll be my boss for that – I’m quite certain of it.”

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IMF tells Gulf states to speed up switch from oil

October 31, 2017


© AFP/File / by Omar Hasan | Oil exporters in the Middle East, especially those in the Gulf Cooperation Council, have been hit hard by the collapse in crude prices which provided a major part of their finances

DUBAI (AFP) – The IMF on Tuesday advised energy-rich Gulf economies to speed up their diversification away from oil after projecting the worst growth for the region since the global financial crisis.Oil exporters in the Middle East, especially those in the Gulf Cooperation Council, have been hit hard by the collapse in crude prices which provided a major part of their finances.

Following the slump, GCC members Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates undertook fiscal measures and reforms to cut public spending and boost non-oil revenues.

As a result, economic growth has slowed considerably as the GCC six and other regional oil exporters posted huge budget deficits.

In its Regional Economic Outlook, the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday projected GCC economic growth at just 0.5 percent this year, the worst since the 0.3 percent growth in 2009 following the global financial crisis.

“It is the right time for GCC economies to accelerate their diversification outside oil and to promote a greater role for the private sector to lead growth and create additional jobs,” said Jihad Azour, director of the Middle East and Central Asia at IMF.

“Preparing their economies to the post-oil era is something that is becoming a priority for authorities all over the GCC,” Azour told AFP.

“We are seeing governments developing diversification strategies and introducing a certain number of reforms to allow the economy to be prepared for the post-oil era. And those are important reforms,” he said.

– Non-oil sector on rise –

Azour said the GCC growth projections are mainly driven by the oil producers deal to cut output to bolster low crude prices which meant GCC states pumped and exported less oil.

The IMF report also projected that the economies of oil exporters in the Middle East and North Africa — also including Iran, Iraq, Algeria, Libya and Yemen — would grow 1.7 percent, down from 5.6 percent the previous year.

MENA oil importers, on the contrary, were expected to expand 4.3 percent this year, up from 3.6 percent in 2016, the report added.

Azour said the IMF was projecting flat growth this year for Saudi Arabia, the largest economy in the MENA region, but the non-oil sector was growing faster than expected.

This was an indication “that the Saudi economy is bottoming up and it shows that the gradual implementation of the fiscal adjustment now is going to allow the Saudi economy to grow faster,” Azour said.

He estimated that Saudi Arabia and UAE could achieve a fiscal balance by between 2020 and 2022.

Azour said the introduction of the five percent value-added tax (VAT) was one of the reform measures that would allow the GCC countries to diversify their revenues away from oil.

“Its low rate will have a limited impact on price rise and inflation,” said Azour, adding that VAT is estimated to generate between 1.5 and two percent of gross domestic product annually.

So far, Saudi Arabia and UAE have said they would apply the tax at the start of next year while the remaining four nations have the whole of 2018 to implement it.

by Omar Hasan

Trump Backers Cheer Economic Agenda, Blame GOP for Setbacks

September 22, 2017

President’s responses on North Korea, white supremacist violence draw slightly lower rating

Image result for Donald Trump in Florida after hurricane, photos

By Valerie BauerleinArian Campo-Flores and Quint Forgey
The Wall Street Journal

As President Donald Trump approaches his 10th month in the White House, The Wall Street Journal revisited voters in six counties representing the economic underpinnings of his support. In each county, the Journal spoke to supporters, converts, abstainers and opponents to see how their economic situation is changing, and whether their expectations are being met.

Supporters of President Donald Trump generally approve of his overall performance on what they see as core issues such as jobs and taxes, and they blame Republicans in Congress for failing to support the White House agenda.

“I think he’s doing great,” said Emory Terensky, 66 years old, a former steelworker in Monessen, Pa. Similarly, Patti Thompson, who lives in the Phoenix-area retirement community of Sun City, said her support of the president hasn’t wavered, though she continues to be frustrated that “we can’t get Congress and Trump on the same page.” She puts the fault for that on congressional Republican leaders.

On a few issues, such as tensions with North Korea and clashes with white supremacists in the U.S., Mr. Trump received a slightly lower rating. “I’m very concerned about the North Koreans,” said John Golomb, 65, a former steelworker, in Monessen, Pa. “Is Donald Trump talk, or is he action? That’s the $64,000 question.”

Robert Lee, the 62-year-old owner of Rockingham Guns & Ammo in Richmond County, N.C., gives the president an overall grade of “B-minus, at best.” He is holding out hope that Mr. Trump will begin successfully working with Congress to get his agenda passed. “He is more intent on fighting,” Mr. Lee said. “You can’t fight all the time. You’ve got to step back away from it, take a look at the broader picture of what’s taking place and do something about it.”

Trump opponents, for the most part, remain angry, and, in some cases, disheartened, with his handling of several key issues over the past few months. Trish Collins, a 40-year-old human resources manager in Pinellas County, Fla., said she feels exhausted by the “roller coaster” of Mr. Trump’s presidency.

Rachel Kalenberg, 35, who voted for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian presidential candidate, said she hadn’t yet seen evidence of an economic boom in energy-rich Gillette, Wyo, where she owns a pizza shop. But she acknowledged that many people here still believe Mr. Trump’s support of the coal industry could ultimately mean more jobs and other good things. “I think Gillette is very hopeful, and we have seen a little bit of growth,” she said. “Maybe it’s not enough.”

Among Trump supporters, views were mixed on his response to the Confederate statue protests in Charlottesville, Va., which descended into a fatal confrontation. Some, including Mr. Lee in Richmond County, N.C., believe that Mr. Trump created unnecessary problems by blaming white nationalists for violent confrontations with counterprotesters in an Aug. 14 prepared speech, then saying there was “blame on both sides” in a news conference the next day at Trump Tower in New York.

“He added a little bit more to it than should’ve been added and that drove a wedge,” Mr. Lee said. “If you keep on tossing something into the wind, it’s going to blow back on you, and it did.”

But others, such as Earl Cassorla, 61, agreed with Mr. Trump’s stance, and blamed the media for not reporting his remarks accurately. “The president denounced white supremacists and neo-Nazis,” said Mr. Cassorla, co-owner of a fireworks shop in Battle Mountain, Nev. “The president said there were good people on both sides of the statue protest. The media responded that ‘No, there are no good Nazis.’ Fake news.”

Mr. Cassorla also agreed with Mr. Trump’s assertions in various tweets that removal of Confederate statues is wrong. In the case of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, whose statue in Charlottesville was at the center of the Aug. 12 protest, Mr. Cassorla said the Southern war commander wasn’t the racist he has been portrayed to be.

“People were protesting the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, who fought for the rights of his state, despite his desire for the country to remain undivided,” he said. “Some opposing the removal of Lee’s statue were a fringe group of white supremacists. Additionally, some protesting were just people who simply opposed the removal of a historical statue.”

Jocelyn Golomb, a 20-year-old Monessen, Pa., store clerk, who voted for Hillary Clinton in November, said she has always hated Mr. Trump. But her contempt for the president reached new heights following his response to the violence in Charlottesville.

“He kind of didn’t really have anything to say until after he was pushed to say something, and that wasn’t right,” she said. “I don’t think he’ll ever have my support. Ever.”

Ms. Collins in Pinellas County, Fla., who voted for Mrs. Clinton, thinks Mr. Trump’s handling of the Charlottesville violence was abysmal. “If I had to guess what is the worst way to respond to this, he nearly hit it, ” she said. “It was terrifying to see that.” At the same time, “this is not a surprise,” she said. “He’s been saying racist things from the beginning of his campaign.”

Some Trump supporters, such as Curtis Chambers, a 54-year-old financial adviser, in Pinellas County, praised the way the president has handled the North Korea problem. “It is the question no one seems to have an answer for,” Mr. Chambers said.

“I think the Obama period was a period of appeasement,” Mr. Chambers said. “The Trump approach is different. It will be more confrontational, highlighted by his rhetoric. I feel like he’s being strong with North Korea. … I wish there was a better answer, but at least he’s standing up to [ Kim Jong Un].”

“It’s a tough situation,” said Steve Lang, a 54-year-old contingency planner in Pinellas County. He backs the way the president is working with allies such as Japan to try to contain the threat. “I don’t think the American people want us to go to war with North Korea.”

But Mr. Golomb, the former steelworker in Monessen, Pa., who feels more “cheated” than ever after voting for Mr. Trump in November 2016, fears a growing threat from Pyongyang that he believes is exacerbated by Mr. Trump’s bluster on social media.

“I’m very concerned about the North Koreans,” he said. “Is Donald Trump talk, or is he action? That’s the $64,000 question.”

To Ms. Collins, the Clinton voter, Mr. Trump’s handling of hostilities with North Korea has been unsettling. “He and Kim Jong Un are very similar in what they say to each other, and it’s terrifying to see our president saber-rattling,” she said. “I can’t see how his approach is making things better.” Moreover, she said, Mr. Trump is alienating key allies such as China that could help defuse the situation.

The president’s August speech on Afghanistan, in which he backed a continued commitment there despite a campaign pledge to quickly pull out, earned mixed reviews from his supporters.

“I don’t think putting more troops on the ground in Afghanistan is the answer,” said Samme Engelson, 40, owner of an embroidery shop in Battle Mountain, Nev., who voted for the president. “I worry about the counsel the president is getting as far as this ‘war’ is concerned. We have been there so long.”

But Mr. Lang, who also backed the president, said the president’s change of heart was a positive step. “He sounded like he listened to his generals,” he said.

John Golomb, the former steelworker from Monessen, Pa., who early into Mr. Trump’s presidency began to regret his Trump vote, was particularly worried about the shift in Afghanistan which he hopes “doesn’t turn into another Vietnam.”

Responses to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma split along partisan lines, even in Florida, where Irma did the most damage.

Mr. Chambers, a Trump supporter in Pinellas County, thinks Mr. Trump performed well in the wake of the recent hurricanes.

“He went there right away,” Mr. Chambers said. “That kind of hands-on leadership, and showing up at the front where the trouble is, is a morale booster to everybody.”

But Ms. Collins, the Clinton supporter from Pinellas County, faulted Mr. Trump’s response.

“It seemed pretty obvious on his first visit [to Texas] that he was there just to promote himself,” she said. She credited the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s mobilization of resources, but said “this is another example of the career government staffers around him doing the best they can.”

Outside the hurricane zone, reactions were similarly divided.

“The president has behaved in a most compassionate manner related to the victims of this terrible storm,” said Mr. Cassorla of Nevada.

But Ms. Golomb of Monessen, Pa., viewed the president’s trip to Corpus Christi, Texas, in late August as nothing more than a glorified photo opportunity. “He wasn’t talking about, ‘Oh, we have a natural disaster, ‘” she said. “He was talking about, ‘What a huge crowd.'”

The president’s moves on DACA won praise from supporters for his initial move to toss the topic into Congress’s lap, but became more divisive when he began negotiating directly with Democrats. The suggestion to press for a continuance of such protections for young immigrants is also in line with a majority of Americans, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.

Ms. Engelson, of Battle Mountain, Nev., expressed concern about the president’s handling of DACA.

“I originally thought that the president did the right thing in canceling DACA in six months,” she said. “Let Congress do their job. Now I am a bit worried that he is going to sacrifice immigration law to advance other items in his agenda, such as repealing Obamacare and tax reform. If that happens, I think he will have done great damage to his political future and perhaps our country’s future.”

But some supporters were willing to cut him more slack.

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September 22, 2017 07:14 ET (11:14 GMT)

U.S. economic growth hits 3% rate in second quarter

August 30, 2017

Q2 GDP revised up from initial estimate of 2.6% on stronger consumer spending


Getty Images
A woman carries retail shopping bags in New York City.

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — The U.S. economic rebound in the second quarter was stronger than initially reported, as a lift to consumer spending and business investment led to the strongest growth in more than two years.

Gross domestic product rose at 3% rate from April to June, up from an initial 2.6% reading, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.

Economists surveyed by MarketWatch expected a smaller upward revision in second-quarter GDP to a 2.8% rate.

The economy picked up from a 1.2% rate in the first quarter. A slow first quarter followed by an improved second quarter also occurred in two of the past three years. Economists say that the most recent data suggest the U.S. is on track to maintain a 3%-plus clip in the third quarter.

The last time the U.S. economy had two quarters above 3% was in 2014.

President Donald Trump is relying on growth above 3% to generate enough revenue for the government to pay for tax cuts and more infrastructure spending.

Consumer spending was the main engine for the strength in the second quarter, rising a revised 3.3% in the second quarter. That was up from the government’s original estimate of a 1.9% gain. Americans spent more on goods and services, including car purchases.

Outlays of business investment rose at a revised 0.6% clip in the second quarter, up from a prior 0.4% estimate.

The government reported that corporate adjusted pretax profits were up 6.7% over the past year, despite falling at a 0.5% quarterly rate in the second quarter.

The report also confirms that inflation has moved away from the Federal Reserve’s 2% annual target in the second quarter.

Inflation as measured by the Fed’s preferred PCE price index decelerated to a 1.6% annual pace in the quarter, down from a 2% rate in the first quarter.

Core PCE slumped to a 1.5% rate from a 1.8% rate in the prior three months.

Soft inflation is raising questions over whether the Fed will go ahead with another interest-rate hike this year. The central bank had penciled in three hikes this year and has already engineered two hikes in the first half of the year.

U.S. futures pointed to a higher opening for the Dow Jones Industrial AverageDJIA, +0.02%   in the wake of the GDP report, as well as another showing brisk jobs growth in August.

Read: Private-sector job growth surges in August, ADP says

Trump renews attack on Amazon, claiming ‘jobs lost’

August 16, 2017


© AFP/File | US President Donald Trump, pictured with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos business roundtable at the White House on June 19, has renewed his criticism of Amazon, claiming the online giant is harming other retailers

WASHINGTON (AFP) – President Donald Trump on Wednesday lashed out at Amazon, claiming the US online colossus is doing “great damage” to other retailers and destroying jobs.

Trump, who has criticized Amazon in the past, offered no specific facts to back up his argument. He launched his tirade in an early-morning tweet as he came under attack for blaming “both sides” following the death of a protester during a white supremacist rally over the weekend in Virginia.

“Amazon is doing great damage to tax paying retailers,” Trump wrote.

“Towns, cities and states throughout the U.S. are being hurt – many jobs being lost!”

Trump appeared to revive an argument that Amazon has an unfair advantage over other retailers by avoiding sales taxes. But the online giant has in recent years agreed to pay local sales tax in all US states.

According to the fact-check website Politifact, Amazon last year paid $412 million in US federal, state, local and foreign taxes.

Amazon has been blamed for the woes of a number of brick-and-mortar retailers, although analysts say many other factors have affected the sector.

Seattle, Washington-based Amazon has grown from its origins as a retailer to a diversified tech group in cloud computing, online video and other services.

In January, Amazon announced that it planned to create more than 100,000 new US jobs over the coming 18 months.

During the election campaign, Trump said Amazon would has “huge antitrust problem,” presumably due to its position in retail.

Trump has also claimed that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos purchased the Washington Post as a way to lobby on behalf of Amazon.

Amazon did not immediately respond to an AFP request for comment on the president’s tweet.

Trump’s comments come after several business leaders quite White House advisory panels, criticizing the president failing to speak out immediately against white supremacists after the weekend rally and then saying they and counter-protesters shared blame for the violence.

Italy enjoys best annual economic growth since 2011

August 16, 2017


© AFP/File | Italy posted its best annual economic growth figures since 2011 on Wednesday, its gross domestic product outdoing forecasts to grow year on year by 1.5 per cent

ROME (AFP) – Italy posted its best annual economic growth figures since 2011 on Wednesday, its gross domestic product outdoing forecasts to grow year on year by 1.5 per cent.In the first six months of 2017, growth was 1.2 percent, according to the national institute of statistics (ISTAT).

Quarterly growth held steady at 0.4 percent in the three months to June, leaving Italy still below the eurozone average of 0.6 percent in the quarter.

“Growth better than forecast. A good base from which to boost the economy and employment,” Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said on Twitter.

The Italian government had forecast a 1.1 percent increase in GDP this year, while the European Commission had expected it to increase by 0.9 percent and the International Monetary Fund had tipped a 0.8 percent rise.

Italy shrugged off years of recession in 2014 but growth was very weak at just 0.1 percent. Its economy expanded by 0.8 percent in 2015 and 0.9 percent in 2016 — half the average growth rate in the eurozone.

Analysts had warned growth momentum could be affected this year by the political landscape, as the country heads towards a general election early next year, as well as a fragile banking system.

But the country has been helped by a recovery in the single currency area and a rise in industrial production at home, while concerns over the banking system have receded.

UK unemployment rate hits lowest level since 1975

August 16, 2017


© AFP/File | Britain’s unemployment rate has struck a new 44-year low
LONDON (AFP) – Britain’s unemployment rate has struck a new 44-year low, official data showed Wednesday, as the uncertainty of Brexit boosts temporary hirings.The rate dipped to 4.4 percent in the three months to June to record the lowest level since 1975, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement. It had stood at 4.5 percent in the quarter to May.

A total of 1.48 million people were recorded as unemployed at the end of June, down 157,000 compared with a year earlier, although with wages growth struggling to keep pace with UK inflation.

“The headline figures shout growth and stability — and yet there’s a huge amount of uncertainty on the ground, particularly due to Brexit,” said David Morel, head of employment firm Tiger Recruitment.

“Against a backdrop of political and economic uncertainty, people are choosing to stay put rather than speculatively look for other jobs.”

But he noted that “Brexit-related and broader economic uncertainty” was supporting the temporary jobs market as employers “have put their permanent hiring on hold”.

Foxconn to Build $10 Billion Factory in U.S. — 13,000 Jobs

July 27, 2017

Plans for plant in Wisconsin announced at White House ceremony Wednesday

Foxconn makes iPhones and other gadgets for Apple.
Foxconn makes iPhones and other gadgets for Apple. PHOTO: © BOBBY YIP / REUTERS/REUTERS


Updated July 26, 2017 8:41 p.m. ET

Foxconn Technology Group, which helped turn China into the center of electronics manufacturing, said it would build a $10 billion plant in Wisconsin to make display panels used in televisions and other products.

The plan, announced Wednesday at a White House ceremony, marks the first major U.S. investment for Foxconn, the world’s largest contract manufacturer of electronics and the maker of iPhones and other gadgets for Apple Inc.

Foxconn, which also owns Sharp Corp. SHCAY -0.39% , said the factory would be the first in a series of U.S. investments. Company Chairman Terry Gou is betting the U.S. can rebuild an electronics supply chain that largely shifted to China and other lower-cost Asian countries in recent decades.

 Workers stand at the gate of a Foxconn factory in the township of Longhua in Shenzhen, Guangdong province. Foxconn is moving some operations to the United States. Photo: Reuters

The factory is expected to employ 3,000 people initially and as many as 13,000 people eventually. The state is providing Foxconn with a $3 billion, 15-year incentive package of tax credits, said Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

President Donald Trump, who routinely invites CEOs to meet with him at the White House to showcase his emphasis on jobs, has vowed to revive U.S. manufacturing and singled out companies for criticism for building plants outside the country. Yet many major corporations have plowed ahead with plans to move factories to Mexico, underscoring the scale of the economic forces that confront Mr. Trump’s plans.

Asia’s sophisticated electronics supply chain and deep labor pool have made it the dominant power in producing devices ranging from TVs to smartphones. Mr. Gou and U.S. officials are banking on the display factory in Wisconsin becoming the cornerstone of a new manufacturing network.

The announcement confirms plans reported Monday by The Wall Street Journal. Foxconn was exploring investments in seven states including Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas. Some of those states, including Wisconsin, were pivotal to Mr. Trump’s victory in 2016, and are home to many of the working-class voters who were seen as key to his win.

Mr. Trump also foreshadowed Foxconn’s plans in an interview with the Journal Tuesday. In the same interview, he said Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook had committed to build three big manufacturing plants in the U.S. The remarks thrust Apple into an uncomfortable position, creating expectations it would build manufacturing plants in the U.S. for the first time in decades. Apple declined to comment.

A White House official said those plants were separate from the planned Foxconn facility announced Wednesday.

Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser who heads the White House’s Office of American Innovation, led discussions with Foxconn in recent months, along with Reed Cordish, assistant to the president for intragovernmental and technology initiatives. Both Messrs. Kushner and Trump met with Mr. Gou over the course of the discussions, a White House official said.

Wisconsin’s tax credits are tied to job creation, capital expenditure and purchases of construction materials, a state official said. In addition to the potential 13,000 factory workers, state officials said analysts with Ernst & Young estimate the plant will create 22,000 indirect jobs and another 10,000 construction jobs.

Mr. Walker said the plant could draw as many as 150 supporting suppliers to Southeastern Wisconsin and nearby states. Mr. Walker said the average salaries for the 13,000 jobs at the factory would be $53,000 annually, plus benefits.

The 20-million-square-foot campus will primarily produce high-resolution liquid-crystal displays, known as 8K resolution LCD, used in smartphones and car dashboards in addition to TVs.

The facility will be located in House Speaker Paul Ryan’s district, which stretches from just south of Milwaukee to the Illinois border, according to Mr. Ryan’s spokesman. The exact location is still being determined.

“We’re calling this corridor in Wisconsin the Wisconn Valley,” Mr. Walker said in an interview. He said the new Foxconn campus would be large enough to hold 11 Lambeau Fields, home of the Green Bay Packers.

Mr. Gou started Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. 2317 1.73% , in Taiwan in 1974 making plastic channel-changing knobs for black-and-white television sets. He turned it into the world’s foremost contract manufacturer and one of China’s largest exporters, making products for a range of other customers in addition to Apple. It operates factories across China, where it employs hundreds of thousands of workers, and last year reported about $140 billion in revenue.

Mr. Gou has wanted to open a U.S. display factory for years in hopes of reducing the costs of shipping large-screen TVs from Asia. In 2014, Foxconn raised the possibility of investing $40 million in manufacturing and research facilities in Pennsylvania. The project never made headway because U.S. local governments didn’t offer terms that were favorable enough, the Journal previously reported.

Speaking Wednesday at the White House ceremony, Mr. Gou said the Trump administration’s and Republicans’ support of American-made products gave Foxconn confidence that American manufacturing projects could be a success. “Because of you, we are also committed to creating great jobs for the American people,” said Mr. Gou, who met with Mr. Trump three times during the planning process.

Mr. Gou didn’t elaborate on how the displays would be assembled into TVs or other devices. Much of that work is currently done in Asia where an array of suppliers are based, making it easy to ship components to a plant to assemble products. Rebuilding a significant part of that supply chain in the U.S. would be a significant undertaking.

Many TVs currently sold in the U.S. are assembled in Mexico, so it is possible that the displays made in Wisconsin could be shipped across the border to be installed in TVs that are later shipped back to the U.S. for sale, said Paul Gagnon, who analyzes the TV set market for research firm IHS MarkIt.

“As far as what state are you going to build this in to make it most efficient, Wisconsin is a little far from the Mexican border,” said Mr. Gagnon. He added that there are components that will be needed to make the displays that will need to be shipped to Wisconsin or have supplier factories built to support them.

However, with the cost of resources in China rising, labor shortages mounting and automation increasing, now could be the right time for such an ambitious effort, said David Sullivan, a partner with Alliance Development Group, a Chinese-focused strategy firm that advises technology firms.

Write to Tripp Mickle at and Rebecca Ballhaus at

Appeared in the July 27, 2017, print edition as ‘Foxconn to Build U.S. Plant.’