Global Glance: US employers add 156K jobs; Eurozone economy sees evidence of a pickup

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Here are today’s top business headlines from across the nation and world:

US employers add 156K jobs, jobless rate rose to 4.7 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers added 156,000 jobs in December, capping a year of slower but solid hiring. The report is the last major snapshot of the economy that President-elect Donald Trump will inherit from President Barack Obama. The Labor Department says the unemployment rate ticked up to 4.7 percent from a nine-year low of 4.6 percent. Hourly pay jumped 2.9 percent from a year earlier, the biggest increase in more than seven years. That is a positive sign that the low unemployment rate is forcing businesses to offer higher wages to attract and keep workers. Sluggish growth in Americans’ paychecks has been a longstanding weak spot in the seven-year recovery. For all of 2016, job growth averaged 180,000 a month, down from 229,000 in 2015, but enough to lower unemployment over time. Read more

US trade deficit climbs to $45.2 billion in November

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. trade deficit in November rose to the highest level in nine months. Imports of oil and other foreign goods increased, while American exports fell for a second month. The Commerce Department says the trade deficit jumped 6.8 percent to $45.2 billion, the largest imbalance since February. Exports edged down 0.2 percent to $122.4 billion, reflecting lower overseas sales of American-made airplanes, autos and farm products. Imports rose 1.1 percent to $231.1 billion, led by a 7.6 percent jump in oil. President-elect Donald Trump made America’s large trade deficits a central part of his campaign. He promised to impose high tariffs on countries such as China and Mexico unless they reformed what Trump charged were unfair trading practices that have cost millions of American jobs. Read more

Eurozone economy sees more evidence of a pickup

LONDON (AP) — Further evidence emerged Friday to show that the 19-country eurozone economy ended 2016 strongly and that it’s poised for a period of faster growth, at least until a run of elections that have the potential to cloud confidence. In a wide-ranging survey across the single currency bloc, the European Union found business and consumer sentiment running at near six-year highs. Its economic sentiment indicator rose 1.2 points to 107.8, its highest level since March 2011. The survey found confidence up across sectors, from retail to industry, and in most countries, from powerhouse Germany through to heavily indebted Greece. Italy, though, was flat and Spain suffered a retreat. Consumer confidence was particularly strong, suggesting that recent drops in unemployment across the eurozone and increased optimism over the outlook have helped alter individuals’ propensity to spend in the crucial run-up to Christmas. Read more

Samsung’s profit jumps 50 percent despite Galaxy fiasco

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Samsung Electronics Co. said Friday that its profits in the last quarter of 2016 surged 50 percent to the highest level in more than three years, despite the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco. Analysts had expected Samsung’s profits to surge thanks to its mainstay semiconductor business, but the result surpassed even the most optimistic forecasts. The semiconductor division cashed in on strong demand and a tight supply for microchips during the September-December period, likely contributing to more than half of its quarterly earnings. In its earnings preview, Samsung said it posted 9.2 trillion won ($7.8 billion) in operating profit, up from 6.1 trillion won a year earlier. It was the biggest quarterly income since the third quarter of 2013. Analysts polled by FactSet expected a figure of 8 trillion won. Read more

Companies up ‘wow’ factor to stand out at CES

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Companies are upping the “wow” factor trying to stand out as the CES gadget show formally opens in Las Vegas. Samsung, one of the largest exhibitors at the show, is offering demonstrations of its boat racing, air show and other virtual-reality experiences in chairs that move around. Hyundai is offering VR demos for people to experience what it’s like to ride in an autonomous car. Also drawing crowds are flashy concept cars like the Toyota Concept-i, with doors that flip up and a 3-D display inside. Polaroid is showing off its Cube+ Wi-Fi camera with a bizarre display of rotating — but fake — monkeys wearing the camera. Camera images are displayed in a live feed above. It’s a nod to the monkey-shaped stand that Polaroid sells for the Cube. On the TV front, LG wowed with an OLED 4K display tunnel, which people enter to see the new technology. Read more

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