Friday, June 22, 2018
Business

Jobs data show factories bearing brunt of global slowdown

WASHINGTON — Friday's Labor Department report showing that a disappointing 96,000 U.S. jobs were added in August — although the unemployment rate dipped to 8.1 percent from 8.3 percent — included the biggest decline in factory jobs in two years. That added to signs that manufacturing is bearing the brunt of the slowdown in global growth.

Factory payrolls declined by 15,000 workers last month, the biggest drop in two years. The Labor Department report also showed that the workweek shrank and that the share of industries hiring plunged to the lowest level in almost three years.

Combined with earlier reports showing less demand for capital equipment and growing pessimism among purchasing managers, Friday's figures show that manufacturing, which helped lead the United States out of the worst recession in the post-World War II era, is pulling back. Companies such as Intel are among those cutting forecasts as business investment cools and economies from Europe to Asia slow.

"There is a clear loss of momentum in manufacturing," said Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economist at IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Mass. "I don't think manufacturing is going into reverse, but I think it's stagnating."

While the drop in factory hiring last month was magnified by changes in the annual shutdowns at auto plants, the decline extended beyond a single industry. Producers of wood products, fabricated metals, electrical equipment and semiconductors also reduced head counts in August, Friday's report from the Labor Department showed.

Intel, the world's largest semiconductor maker, slashed its third-quarter sales prediction amid declining demand for personal computers from corporate customers. Sales will be $12.9 billion to $13.5 billion, down from a prior projection of $13.8 billion to $14.8 billion, the company said.

The workweek for all factory employees fell to 40.5 hours on average in August, the lowest level since November and down from 40.7 hours in July, the figures showed. The number of hours had been as high as 40.9 in the first two months of 2012.

Makers of motor vehicles and parts cut staff by 7,500 workers last month, representing a partial payback from the 14,000 gain in July.

Friday's jobs report came on the heels of other data indicating that assembly lines were slowing. Manufacturing shrank for a third straight month in August in the longest decline since the recession ended in 2009, a report from the Institute for Supply Management showed this month. The group's factory index fell to 49.6, the lowest since July 2009. The ISM's gauge of factory employment decreased to the lowest level since November 2009.

Demand for U.S.-made capital goods such as machinery and communications gear dropped in July by the most in eight months, according to a report last month from the Commerce Department. Bookings for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft are considered a proxy for future business investment.

"The manufacturing sector overall looks like it softened quite sharply," said Bruce Kasman, chief economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York, in a conference call Friday. "Manufacturing is going through an adjustment that is going to give us, at least for the month of August, but potentially for the next couple of months, flat to down readings on the production side."

Comments
Tampa Bay workforce development initiative looks to Houston for lessons

Tampa Bay workforce development initiative looks to Houston for lessons

The biggest hospitals in Houston had a problem.To earn a prized institutional certification, they needed more nurses with bachelor of science degrees in nursing.But local colleges were more focused on turning out nurses with two-year degrees who, to ...
Updated: 14 minutes ago
Health care IT company CareSync shuts down, laying off 292

Health care IT company CareSync shuts down, laying off 292

TAMPA — The days ahead were supposed to be bright.For weeks, the future of health care tech company CareSync had been thrown into question as founder and CEO and founder Travis Bond unexpectedly departed, kicking off multiple rounds of layoffs. But t...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Coal and gas hold onto their share of electricity production, despite massive push for renewables

Coal and gas hold onto their share of electricity production, despite massive push for renewables

Here’s an intriguing set of facts: Coal produces the same percentage of the world’s electricity as 20 years ago. Oil and gas remain about level, too.Same for nonfossil fuel sources. In other words, the massive push towards renewables over the past co...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Brink: Why have Florida’s working-age men left the labor market in droves

Brink: Why have Florida’s working-age men left the labor market in droves

A cancer lurks within Florida’s otherwise rosy job numbers, one that’s been called a quiet catastrophe and an intractable time bomb.Too many men between the ages of 25 and 54 have stopped working.Economists call those the prime-age years. Incomes gen...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

ST. PETERSBURG — The 16th annual St. Pete Pride Parade is getting ready to march along the downtown waterfront the second straight year. But many hope to move past the division caused last year when the parade was uprooted from its original hom...
Updated: 8 hours ago
For sale: A Tampa Bay area elementary school where you can eat tacos and buy wine

For sale: A Tampa Bay area elementary school where you can eat tacos and buy wine

ST. PETERSBURG — For sale: a 104-year-old elementary school with restaurant and wine shop. It even has a title company where you can close the deal.Less than a year after completing a major renovation of the historic North Ward school, developer Jona...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

TAMPA — When the 2008 financial crash brought down the nation’s housing market, hundreds of home builders went out of business. Among them was Sharon McSwain Homes in Atlanta, forced to liquidate in 2009.But just as developers like to develop, builde...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

TAMPA — Two of the city’s hottest developers — the companies behind Ulele and the Armature Works — are heading to court over control of an old city building that sits between the hit eateries. Both want to redevelop the city&...
Published: 06/21/18
Orlando airport first to scan faces of U.S. citizens on international flights

Orlando airport first to scan faces of U.S. citizens on international flights

Associated PressFlorida’s busiest airport is becoming the first in the nation to require a face scan of passengers on all arriving and departing international flights, including U.S. citizens, according to officials there. The expected announcement T...
Published: 06/21/18
Saboteur or whistleblower? Battle between Elon Musk and former Tesla employee turns ugly, exposing internal rancor

Saboteur or whistleblower? Battle between Elon Musk and former Tesla employee turns ugly, exposing internal rancor

Hours after Tesla had sued its former employee on charges he had stolen company secrets, and days after chief Elon Musk had called him a saboteur, the Silicon Valley automaker made a startling claim. The company had received a call from a friend of t...
Published: 06/21/18