Here’s what to look for in this morning’s December jobs report from the Labor Department. Most important is the total number of jobs created, not the headline unemployment rate. November’s report spoke of 120,000 new jobs, and economists are looking for an increase for December. Some analysts question the accuracy of the initial survey, because earlier reports of new jobs were revised higher. Watch for signs that small businesses are creating more jobs. In past recoveries they have been the engine of growth for the labor market.
Economic stress in Europe. Retail sales fell 2.5 percent in November compared with the year before in the 17 eurozone nations. The sharpest decline was in Portugal. The wealth gap between the most prosperous parts of northern Europe and weaker economies in the south appears to be growing… 10 year Italian bond rates have moved back up over 7 percent.
Chrysler says it will add more than 1200 jobs at two Detroit factories next year as its market share and sales improve. Ford is the latest automaker to open a research lab in Silicon Valley, in hopes of scouting out new technology and keeping ahead of trends. Ford says the lab will work on ways to better integrate phones and other personal devices into cars, as well as safety systems that alert drivers when they’re approaching another car.
Alcoa plans to close an aluminum smelter in Tennessee and some operations in Texas. Alcoa is cutting its global production capacity by 12 percent.. Aluminum prices have fallen by about one-fourth since April.
Higher concert ticket prices boosted revenue from the top 50 worldwide tours last year despite a drop in the number of tickets sold. Trade magazine Pollstar says worldwide concert revenue rose 4 percent in 2010. For the first time 2004 US album sales rose last year as more people purchased music online.
Richard Davies, Business Correspondent, ABC NEWS Radio