Business Briefs – December 8, 2019

U.S. Firms Still Finding Workers Despite Low Jobless Rate

WASHINGTON (AP) – American businesses have complained for years that they can’t find the workers they need to fill available jobs. November’s robust hiring gain suggests that at least some companies have found a way, squelching fears of a recession. New numbers show U.S. employers added 266,000 jobs last month, the most since January. Monthly hiring also has picked up since earlier this year: It averaged 205,000 for the past three months, up from a recent low of 135,000 in July.

State AGs Look to Head Off T-Mobile-Sprint Deal in Court

NEW YORK (AP) – T-Mobile is about to face 14 state attorneys general in court in defense of its attempt to buy Sprint for $26.5 billion. T-Mobile has already notched approvals from key federal regulators. Starting Monday, it must also convince a federal judge that the state attempt to block the deal is misguided. A combined T-Mobile-Sprint company would become a fiercer competitor to the larger Verizon and AT&T. But the states argue that having one fewer mobile carrier would cost Americans billions of dollars in higher wireless phone bills. The trial in U.S. District Court in New York is expected to last several weeks.

Consumer Borrowing Increases With Higher Credit Card Use

WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. consumers ramped up their credit card spending in October. The Federal Reserve said Friday that total consumer borrowing rose in October by a seasonally adjusted $18.9 billion. That was up from a September increase of $9.6 billion. The biggest increase in borrowing in three months was driven by a jump in use of credit cards. Borrowing, the Fed’s category that includes credit cards, rose by $7.9 billion.

OPEC Countries, Russia to Cut Oil Output, Pushing Up Prices

VIENNA (AP) – The OPEC oil-producing countries and ally Russia have agreed to cut crude production by an extra 500,000 barrels a day. Their goal is to support the price of fuel and energy around the world. But at the same time they do not want to lose global market share to the United States, which keeps pumping more oil. Friday’s decision came after long talks at the OPEC headquarters in Vienna. Russia is not part of OPEC but has been coordinating production levels with the cartel in recent years.

Ukraine, IMF Reach $5.5 Billion Agreement

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) – Ukraine and the International Monetary Fund have reached agreement on a new $5.5 billion program to boost the country’s growth and economic reforms.

The agreement, which still must be approved by the fund’s management, was reached in a Saturday telephone call between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva.

Minister: Brazil Can’t Stop Deforestation Without Help

MADRID (AP) – Brazil can’t stop deforestation in the Amazon without the help of rich countries, the country’s environment minister said at the United Nations’ two-week climate change conference.

Ricardo Salles, who declined to set a target for limiting deforestation in the coming year, said in an interview Saturday with The Associated Press that his country is committed to reducing illegal activity, but needs the support of developed nations.

“We are willing to do whatever is necessary to do so, but we need that back up,” Salles said. “That back up was promised many years ago and we’re still expecting the rich countries to participate in a proper way. Proportional funds are really are what are going to be needed for that task.”

France Braces for Even Worse Travel Woes, Govt Seeks Answers

PARIS (AP) – France braced for even worse transportation woes when the new work week begins Monday due to nationwide strikes over the government’s redesign of& the national retirement system. French President Emmanuel Macron convened top officials to strategize for the high-stakes week ahead.

Sunday saw more travel chaos as the strikes entered their fourth day, with most French trains at a standstill. Fourteen of Paris’ subway lines were closed, with only two lines — using automated trains with no drivers — functioning. International train routes also suffered disruptions.

Monday will be an even bigger test of the strike movement’s strength and of commuters’ and tourists’ patience. Unions are calling for more people to join the strike on Monday. Many employees worked from home or took a day off when the strikes began last week, but that’s not sustainable if the strikes drag on.