As President-elect Barack Obama began to assemble his economic team, the October employment figures released Friday provided a grim reminder of the country’sprecarious financial situation, although the stock market seemed to take the news in stride, with gains in early morning trading.
The real blow to theeconomy came from the manufacturing, construction and services sectors, whichdrove overall employment down by 240,000 jobs in October, significantly morethan consensus estimates that had predicted a loss of 200,000. As a result, theunemployment rate also was worse than expected, rising to 6.5 percent from 6.1percent in September. Department stores slashed 18,000 jobs last month to employ1.476 million, while apparel and accessory specialty stores cut 700 positions toemploy 1.493 million, the Labor Department reported.
Since January, theeconomy has slashed 1.2 million jobs, with more than half of those being lost inthe last three months. Job losses in October followed a decline of 284,000 jobsin September, revised from an initial estimate of 159,000. The job loss inSeptember was the worst reported since October 2001, directly following theSept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Apparel manufacturers cut 4,000 jobs in October.Textile mills that manufacture primarily apparel fabric, cut 1,300 jobs. Textileproduct mills, which produce industrial and home furnishing textiles, cut 500jobs. The downward revisions combined with October losses mean there’s atotal of more than 400,000 jobs reported lost that weren’t expected, saidCharles McMillion, president and chief economist, MBG InformationServices.
“It doesn’t bode well at all,” he said. “in an environment that isalready awful across the board, these figures mean retailers are going to needto be even more aggressive heading into the holiday season. Peter Morici, aprofessor at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University ofMaryland, said, “This is an economy that’s in wholesale meltdown.”
Retailsales, manufacturing levels and the service sector have all taken hits in recentmonths, he said. Those contractions in the real economy combined with the creditcrisis have created a “two-wheeled recession,” he said.
“November job lossesare very likely to be worse,” McMillion said. “Recovery programs are urgentlyneeded that are of the scope and scale of New Deal initiatives.”
Stocksrebounded Friday morning despite the bleak job picture.
The Standard &Poor’s Retail Index inched up 1.1 percent to 270.64 in the first 45 minutes oftrading. The index fell a collective 10.8 percent on Wednesday and Thursday asinvestors turned their attention to economic concerns and away from thepresidential election.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 2 percent to8.870.14 in early trading.
Among the retailers gaining ground were SearsHolding Corp, up 4.1 percent to $52.68; Charming Shoppes Inc., 3.1 percent to$1.33; AnnTaylor Stores Corp., 2.6 percent to $9.16; Gap Inc., 2.4 percent to$12.76; Macy’s Inc., 1.9 percent to $10.64, and Target Corp., 0.5 percent to$35.64.
Vendors picking up steam included Warnaco Group Inc., up 8 percent to$19.22; VF Corp., 2.5 percent to $52.74; and Phillips Van Heusen Corp., 1.4percent to $20.21.
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
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25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye