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Exit polls project a BJP win in Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh
Unemployment

Exit polls project a BJP win in Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh

New Delhi: Exit polls on the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh assembly elections project a saffron win in both the states.
The exit polls were announced after the second and final phase of polling ended in Gujarat on Thursday.
The contest in Gujarat was interesting because this was the first election in the state after Modi became Prime Minister.
While the BJP is trying to win a fifth consecutive term in Gujarat, the polls are important for Congress as it is the first assembly election for Rahul Gandhi after he was anointed president-elect of his party.
“The exit polls show that the Modi charisma and his connect with the people of Gujarat is still there.
The hill state of Himachal Pradesh has seen governments alternate between the Congress and the BJP since 1993.
The election comes at a time when the state is facing increased crime, unemployment and a leadership crisis in the political parties.
The people of Gujarat have always rejected the politics of negative, lies and vote-bank politics,” Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani said, while addressing a press conference on Thursday in Ahmedabad.
The last day of polling also saw the Congress party protest against Modi’s roadshow, taken out after casting his vote.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said, “It is a sad day for the country as EC has denigrated the Constitution.” The Congress’s attack against the EC and Modi came a day after the poll panel issued a showcause notice to Rahul Gandhi for “prima facie” violating the model code by giving interviews to Gujarati television channels on Wednesday.

Bank of Canada’s Poloz Ready to Keep Policy ‘Quite Stimulative’ — 2nd Update
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Bank of Canada’s Poloz Ready to Keep Policy ‘Quite Stimulative’ — 2nd Update

OTTAWA – Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz said Thursday he is willing to keep rate policy “quite stimulative” and let upside inflation risks build until there is evidence spare capacity in the labor market has evaporated and uncertainties in the economy have faded.
In a speech in Toronto, Mr. Poloz reiterated the central bank would employ a cautious approach in rate-policy setting after two increases in 2017, due to a set of “unusual factors” playing out in the economy.
These factors include how indebted households will respond to higher rates, the impact of new mortgage-financing rules on the economy, and the fate of talks aimed at addressing Trump administration concerns with the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Mr. Poloz, according to prepared remarks, elaborated on this approach.
However…we still see signs of ongoing, albeit diminishing, slack in the labor market.” “It’s like anybody driving in a snowstorm — you drive a little slower, and you watch all the signs along the way to make sure you stay on the road” until you arrive at the destination.
For example, in his speech Mr. Poloz cited the relatively low labor participation rate among Canadians age 15 to 24 as a concern on top of tepid wage growth. “These are encouraging signs, but it will take a while before they become a trend.”
Some economists warned after the last rate decision, the Bank of Canada was at risk of keeping monetary policy too loose, given some of the strength emerging from labor data.
Roughly 350,000 full-time jobs have been added to the economy this year, and the unemployment rate has dropped to a near-record low of 5.9%.

U.S. Retail Sales Rose in November — Update
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U.S. Retail Sales Rose in November — Update

WASHINGTON – Americans ramped up their spending in stores and online in November, which included Black Friday and Cyber Monday, key sales days for retailers.
Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had expected a 0.3% increase in November.
Retail sales increased 5.8% from November 2016.
Electronics and appliance stores and online shopping websites both saw robust growth in sales last month.
Consumer spending, the key driver of the U.S. economy, has been buoyed by a historically low unemployment rate at 4.1% and repeated stock market highs and increasing values of real estate that have driven up the total net worth of U.S. households.
The National Retail Federation, a group that represents retail stores, expected consumers nationwide to spend between about 4.0% more during the holiday shopping season than they had in 2016. “We’ve had strong reports so far from various retailers that it has been a good and healthy start to the holiday buying season.
Though many retailers have struggled in recent years to keep up with consumers’ shift to buying some goods online, the brick-and-mortar stores posted sales increases.
Sales going into the holiday season at some of the nation’s largest retailers have been up in different metrics despite pressures from solely-online retailers, including Kohl’s, which in its most recent quarter saw growth in sales at stores that were open last year.
But even amid record highs, strong numbers like these may further the case that the economic runway may be a bit longer than previously thought,” said Mike Loewengart, vice president of investment strategy at E*TRADE.

Bank of Canada’s Poloz Defends Risk-Management Approach to Rate Policy — 2nd Update
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Bank of Canada’s Poloz Defends Risk-Management Approach to Rate Policy — 2nd Update

OTTAWA – Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz said Thursday he is willing to keep rate policy “quite stimulative” and let upside inflation risks build until there is evidence spare capacity in the labor market has evaporated and uncertainties in the economy have faded.
These factors include how indebted households will respond to higher rates, the impact of new mortgage-financing rules on the economy, and the fate of talks aimed at addressing Trump administration concerns with the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Mr. Poloz, according to prepared remarks, elaborated on this approach. “Our current policy setting clearly remains quite stimulative,” he said. “With the economy operating near potential, a mechanical approach to policy would suggest that monetary policy should already be less stimulative.
However…we still see signs of ongoing, albeit diminishing, slack in the labor market.”
For example, in his speech Mr. Poloz cited the relatively low labor participation rate among Canadians age 15 to 24 as a concern on top of tepid wage growth. “Given the number of unusual factors at play, the bank is monitoring these risks in real time…rather than taking a mechanical approach to policy setting,” the governor said.
Some economists warned after the last rate decision, the Bank of Canada was at risk of keeping monetary policy too loose, given some of the strength emerging from labor data.
Roughly 350,000 full-time jobs have been added to the economy this year, and the unemployment rate has dropped to a near-record low of 5.9%.

How to Handle Sudden Unemployment
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How to Handle Sudden Unemployment

They don’t want to tell people about it.
Create a Routine Long before you have a new job with new hours, it can be enormously helpful to create some structure to your days, which can help you strike the balance between mental health exercises, doing freelance work, and looking for new work.
“I think it’s very important to make a schedule as if you’re working, [but] it doesn’t have to be nine to five,” Dr. Greenberg said.
It may help to digitize your productivity with time-management apps such as focus booster, which helps you concentrate on specific tasks and build in time for bathroom or email breaks, or Google Calendar, which you can use to block out your day and set some times to get a break (“9am-12pm job searching,” “12pm to 1pm lunch,” “1pm to 3pm freelance work,” “4pm to 5pm gym,” etc.).
Set Small, Concrete Goals Within your newly established routine, it’s helpful to have achievable daily and weekly goals.
It can obviously feel overwhelming to have a big-picture plan to find a new job or change careers, but breaking that down into steps, like working on your resume, or networking with at least five people on LinkedIn can help.
That said, while goals can be crucial, it’s also important to leave your days flexible enough to make room for something like a job interview, says Dallas-based financial planner Katie Brewer, CFP.
This period of uncertainty is also a “good time for somebody to list out what their wants versus their needs are,” Brewer tells us.
“Put that as the very very very last thing you do,” Brewer says.
And more generally, actively better planning your schedule and working in time to attend to your mental health can help you cope and thrive in the new gig economy.

Will Self-Driving Trucks Steal Jobs?
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Will Self-Driving Trucks Steal Jobs?

It’s not quite a yes or no answer.
There’s a lot of excitement surrounding the concept of autonomous driving, but there’s also a lot of fear.
On top of skepticism about security and safety, there’s public concern that autonomous commercial trucks are going to put truck drivers out of work.
I recently spoke with Chuck Price, the vice president of product for TuSimple, a startup that is developing technologies for self-driving trucks.
I asked Price what he’d tell someone concerned about safety and widespread job-loss as they relate to the autonomous technology his company is working on.
“We’re driving in the near-term with supervising drivers in the vehicle so this is not a matter of something coming out next month that will ‘steal jobs’,” said Price on the topic of potential job loss for human truckers.
“We actually have drivers in vehicles supervising for a significant period of time until we are assured we can do this with higher levels of safety than you can do with a human driver.” “In terms of job loss, I don’t think it’s quite the same situation as factory automation coming in and eliminating jobs.
I think jobs are going to transition.
As autonomous vehicles become more mainstream, the job of the driver is going to change.
I think we’re going to see drivers move to more local operation, more supervisory operation, and there are going to be some high-level jobs that are very appropriate for drivers to take.

Text of the Fed’s statement after its meeting Wednesday
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Text of the Fed’s statement after its meeting Wednesday

On a 12-month basis, both overall inflation and inflation for items other than food and energy have declined this year and are running below 2 percent.
Hurricane-related disruptions and rebuilding have affected economic activity, employment, and inflation in recent months but have not materially altered the outlook for the national economy.
Consequently, the Committee continues to expect that, with gradual adjustments in the stance of monetary policy, economic activity will expand at a moderate pace and labor market conditions will remain strong.
Inflation on a 12-month basis is expected to remain somewhat below 2 percent in the near term but to stabilize around the Committee’s 2 percent objective over the medium term.
Near-term risks to the economic outlook appear roughly balanced, but the Committee is monitoring inflation developments closely.
In view of realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation, the Committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 percent.
In determining the timing and size of future adjustments to the target range for the federal funds rate, the Committee will assess realized and expected economic conditions relative to its objectives of maximum employment and 2 percent inflation.
The Committee expects that economic conditions will evolve in a manner that will warrant gradual increases in the federal funds rate; the federal funds rate is likely to remain, for some time, below levels that are expected to prevail in the longer run.
However, the actual path of the federal funds rate will depend on the economic outlook as informed by incoming data.
Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were Janet L. Yellen, Chair; William C. Dudley, Vice Chairman; Lael Brainard; Patrick Harker; Robert S. Kaplan; Jerome H. Powell; and Randal K. Quarles.

America’s long-running economic expansion
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America’s long-running economic expansion

Wages are growing in real terms with some of the biggest gains going to low-paid workers.
The unemployment rate fell from a peak of 10% to 4.7% under Barack Obama and then to 4.1% on Mr Trump’s watch.
They warn that the stockmarket is dangerously overvalued and that America’s expansion, which is in its 102nd month, must soon falter.
And the maturity of the business cycle cuts both ways (see article).
America is not the only economy doing well.
Inflation has trended lower this year.
The proposed tax cuts are paid for by bigger budget deficits, a fiscal stimulus that is ill-timed given the business cycle.
Indeed, nothing Mr Trump does is likely to have a bigger effect on the economy than his choices to fill Fed vacancies.
Investment has also followed a surge in profits, reflecting stronger GDP growth, as it tends to.
America is not about to return to pre-2005 rates of productivity growth, whatever Mr Trump tweets.

U.S. retail sales surge; weekly jobless claims fall
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U.S. retail sales surge; weekly jobless claims fall

FILE PHOTO: Shoppers look over items on sale at a Macy’s store in New York Thomson Reuters By Lucia Mutikani WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. retail sales increased more than expected in November as the holiday shopping season got off to a brisk start, pointing to sustained strength in the economy that could pave the way for further Federal Reserve interest rate hikes next year.
Data for October was revised to show sales gaining 0.5 percent instead of the previously reported 0.2 percent increase.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales increasing only 0.3 percent in November.
Last month’s increase in core retail sales suggested a strong pace of consumer spending in the fourth quarter.
Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, is being supported by steady wage gains as the labor market tightens.
Last week marked the 145th straight week that claims remained below the 300,000 threshold, which is associated with a strong labor market.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen told reporters on Wednesday that the central bank expected the “labor market to remain strong, with sustained job creation, ample opportunities for workers, and rising wages.”
Receipts at clothing stores rose 0.7 percent in November.
Sales at online retailers soared 2.5 percent last month.
Receipts at restaurants and bars gained 0.7 percent and sales at sporting goods and hobby stores shot up 0.9 percent.

Asian shares edge up, on track for weekly gain
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Asian shares edge up, on track for weekly gain

Traders work on the floor of the NYSE in New York Thomson Reuters By Lisa Twaronite TOKYO (Reuters) – Asian shares edged higher on Friday, on track for weekly gains, though sentiment was kept in check by Wall Street’s weakness on concerns about the progress of U.S. tax reform.
On Thursday, U.S. retail sales increased more than expected in November and the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits dropped to near a 44-1/2-year low last week.
That pointed to sustained strength in the economy that could pave the way for further Federal Reserve interest rate hikes next year.
The Fed hiked interest rates on Wednesday but left its rate outlook for the coming years unchanged even as policymakers projected a short-term jump in U.S. economic growth from the Trump administration’s proposed tax cuts. “That keeps our expectations around three rate hikes for 2018.”
But the bill has yet to get needed support of some key Senators, and investors worry about downward pressure on stocks if the bill were to fail.
The euro was steady at $1.1779 .
U.S. crude added 0.1 percent, or 8 cents, to $57.12 a barrel, after gaining 0.8 percent overnight.
Brent crude futures had yet to trade on Friday after settling up 1.4 percent, or 87 cents, at $63.31 a barrel on Thursday.
(Reporting by Lisa Twaronite; Editing by Sam Holmes)