U.S. Jobs Report Expected to Show Dwindling Gains: Live Business Updates

Credit…Saul Martinez for The New York Times

New clues about the economy’s course — and the impact of the resurgence in the coronavirus — will come Friday morning when the Labor Department reports on unemployment and hiring in October.

The labor market has recovered about half of the 22 million jobs lost after the pandemic struck in March, but the gains have been steadily slowing in recent months.

Economists expect the October report to show a net increase of 590,000 jobs, compared with 661,000 in September, and a decline in the unemployment rate to 7.7 percent, from 7.9 percent. Some of the weakening will reflect the end of temporary Census Bureau positions.

“Economic momentum has slowed to a crawl after a very robust third quarter in part because the virus has reasserted itself,” said Carl Tannenbaum, chief economist at Northern Trust in Chicago. The inability of Congress to pass another round of stimulus for the economy in recent months is also depressing growth, he said.

Experts will also be watching job categories like retailing, and leisure and hospitality, for signs that the surge in Covid-19 cases in many parts of the country is causing renewed economic pain. The Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning research group, estimates that more than 30 million workers have lost jobs or had their hours or pay reduced in the coronavirus-related downturn.

What’s more, millions of unemployed workers have had a harder time paying bills since an emergency federal program paying $600 a week in additional benefits expired at the end of July. Another set of federal jobless benefits will last only through the end of the year.

With the Senate remaining in Republican hands, as election returns suggest, any further relief will probably be more modest than the multitrillion-dollar package that seemed likely if a “blue wave” had given Democrats control of Congress and the White House. As a result, Mr. Tannenbaum has cut his estimate of growth next year by a full percentage point.

“We’re going to have a deeply divided government,” he said. “Since the blue wave never hit shore, the projections we had and the market was making have had to be retraced.”

Credit…Justin Lane/EPA, via Shutterstock

Days after LVMH agreed to go ahead with its acquisition of Tiffany & Co. at a slightly lower price, ending months of bitter public conflict, the global luxury industry has produced a new landmark deal that will unite some of its biggest names.

Richemont, the Swiss luxury watch and jewelry maker, and Artemis, the holding company of French luxury goods group Kering, are joining the Chinese e-commerce titan Alibaba to invest $1.15 billion in Farfetch, a luxury e-commerce platform based in East London but listed in New York.

The aim? To create a new Chinese marketplace that will capitalize on the country’s booming demand for luxury goods, which has recovered from a temporary drop in consumption brought on by the pandemic earlier this year. The partnership, announced Thursday night, could also herald further consolidation in the fragmented online luxury market at a time of dramatic upheaval in global retail.

As part of the deal, Alibaba will introduce Farfetch luxury shopping channels on its Tmall Luxury Pavilion and Luxury Soho platforms. Alibaba and Richemont will each invest $300 million in Farfetch Limited, and a further $250 million each into the newly formed Farfetch China. They will have a combined 25 percent stake in the new joint venture.

Artemis will increase its existing ownership in Farfetch with a $50 million purchase of Farfetch shares. A steering group will also be formed among Farfetch, Alibaba, Richemont and Artemis to “explore new ways to incorporate digital into luxury retail,” a statement said.

At a time when Amazon continues to invest heavily in its luxury fashion operations, the deal confirms Farfetch as the leading player in the Western luxury market. Unlike rivals, Farfetch has seen flying sales this year, reporting $721 million in sales in the second quarter, a 48 percent increase from the same period last year. Founded in 2007 by José Neves, the company counts Alibaba’s rivals JD.com and Tencent among its investors. Until now, Farfetch’s biggest competitor was considered to be Yoox Net-a-Porter, which Richemont acquired in 2018.

“You are either a disrupter or a disrupted and I hate being the latter,” Richemont’s chairman, Johann Rupert, told reporters on a call on Friday, later stressing that Richemont was not interested in a merger or in taking over Farfetch.

“We’re dealing with a public company that we hope will remain independent,” Mr. Rupert said, adding that Mr. Neves would remain in charge at Farfetch.

The Chinese luxury market, which is expected to account for half of global luxury sales by 2025, has seen a strong recovery this year as shoppers emerging from Covid-19 lockdowns splurged online or in retail stores.

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