Morning Business Memo

Dec 2, 2011 7:20am

The jobs market is still very weak, despite signs of modest improvement. “The labor market has been going nowhere for a very long time,” says professor Lawrence Katz of Harvard University. “The share of the US population working is lower today than at the deepest point of the 2008-9 recession.”

Even if this morning’s Labor Department survey of November employment is stronger than expected, it will take months of strong statistics to bring about fundamental change. Economist Mark Zandi expects the US unemployment rate to stay at 9 percent. Underemployment appears to be as high as 18 percent. This number includes jobless Americans and those with part-time employment who want full time work.

A grand plan to limit the impact of the European debt crisis is emerging. Global stock markets are up this morning following today’s speech by Germany’s powerful Chancellor Angela Merkel. She’s calling for changes in the European union treaty to enforce much stricter fiscal discipline. The plan will be considered at next Friday’s European summit in Brussels. Mario Draghi, The head of the European Central Bank, says his institution could boost its role in fighting the debt crisis if eurozone governments commit to cutting their deficits.

Was the start of the holiday shopping season less robust than previously reported? Research firm ShopperTrak says the spending spree over black Friday stole more sales away from the following Saturday and Sunday than in years past…. The Chicago-based company says three-days sales rose 1.9 percent from a year earlier, while customer counts dropped almost 2 percent. ShopperTrak gathers data from 25,000 stores.

A published report says Google is planning a major challenge to Amazon, working to create a service that delivers goods ordered online within a day direct to shoppers. The Wall Street Journal says Google is in talks with major retailers and shippers about creating a service that would let shoppers get their goods within a day for a small fee.

Richard Davies,  Correspondent ABC NEWS Radio, twitter.com/daviesabc

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