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US adds 263,000 jobs in November as unemployment rate stays at 3.7%

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The US added 263,000 jobs in November, the labor department announced on Friday, another strong month of jobs growth. The unemployment rate remained at 3.7%, close to a 50-year low.

Employers hired 284,000 new positions in October and 269,000 in September and the latest figures show hiring has remained resilient despite rising interest rates and the announcement of a series of layoffs at technology and real estate companies.

The jobs market has remained strong even as the Federal Reserve has imposed the biggest series of rate rises in decades in its fight to tame inflation. This week, the Fed chair, Jerome Powell, indicated that the continuing strength of the jobs market – and rising wages – were likely to trigger more rate rises in the coming months.

The US had been expected to add 200,000 jobs in November. The latest jobs numbers – the last before the Fed meets to decide its next move later this month – will strengthen the central bank’s resolve to keep raising rates.

This phenomenal labor market is showing little sign of slowdown,” said Becky Frankiewicz, president and chief commercial officer of ManpowerGroup. “Despite recurring headlines of deep cutbacks – primarily in tech – other sectors have scaled up; and while we’ve been bracing for a downturn, the broader labor market has barely flinched.”

Economists expect rate hikes will eventually dampen hiring, potentially leading to a recession and job losses next year. But so far, the jobs market has shaken off the Fed’s interventions.

The government figures follow a downbeat report from ADP, the US’s largest payroll supplier. On Wednesday, ADP said the private sector had added just 127,000 positions for the month, well below the 190,000 forecast by economists and a steep reduction from the 239,000 jobs ADP recorded in October.

ADP’s chief economist, Nela Richardson, said it was still too early to say but it seemed the rate rises were filtering through to hiring decisions.

“Turning points can be hard to capture in the labor market, but our data suggest that Federal Reserve tightening is having an impact on job creation and pay gains,” said Richardson. “In addition, companies are no longer in hyper-replacement mode. Fewer people are quitting and the post-pandemic recovery is stabilizing.”


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Evergrande halts share trading as woes mount for China property giant

Embattled Chinese property giant Evergrande has suspended share trading on the Hong Kong stock exchange only a month after it resumed trading after a 17-month suspension.

Trading in its two other units – the property services and electric vehicle groups – also stopped at 9am on Thursday, according to notices posted by the stock exchange.

The halt in trading comes a day after reports that the chair of Evergrande had been put under police surveillance. Hui Ka Yan, who founded Evergrande in 1996, was taken away earlier this month and is being monitored at a designated location, according to Bloomberg.

It is not clear why Hui might have been placed under residential surveillance, which falls short of a formal detention or police arrest and does not mean a criminal charge follows.

Evergrande had only resumed trading on 28 August after the company was suspended for 17 months for not publishing its financial results. Earlier this month, several employees of Evergrande’s wealth management unit were arrested in Shenzhen on unspecified charges.

Two former executives were also reportedly detained recently. Pan Darong and Xia Haijun had resigned last year after it emerged that 13.4bn yuan (£1.5bn) of deposits had been used as security for third-party loans.

Earlier this week, Hengda Real Estate, Evergrande’s primary unit in mainland China, missed principal and interest payments on a 4bn yuan bond. Hui resigned from his position as Hengda chair in 2021.

On Sunday, Evergrande said it was unable to issue new debt as Hengda was being investigated.

And on Friday it said meetings planned this week on a key debt restructuring plan would not take place, adding it was “necessary to reassess the terms” of the plan in order to suit the “objective situation and the demand of the creditors”.

China’s property sector is a key pillar of growth – along with construction, it accounts for about a quarter of GDP – and has experienced a dazzling boom in recent decades.

The massive debt accrued by the industry’s biggest players has, however, been seen by Beijing in recent years as an unacceptable risk for the financial system and overall economic health.

Authorities have gradually tightened developers’ access to credit since 2020 and a wave of defaults has followed – notably that of Evergrande.

Another Chinese property giant, Country Garden, narrowly avoided default in recent months, after reporting a record loss and debts of more than $150bn.

Agence France-Presse contributed to this report

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Musk ditches X’s election integrity team ahead of key votes around world

Elon Musk, owner of X, has confirmed he has ditched his team working to prevent disruption to elections, just days after the EU announced the platform, formerly known as Twitter, had the highest proportion of disinformation in three European countries.

Ahead of 70 elections around the globe in the coming year, the controversial businessman confirmed on X: “Oh you mean the ‘Election Integrity’ Team that was undermining election integrity? Yeah, they’re gone.”

According to reports, several staff working out of the Dublin office including the co-lead of election disinformation team, Aaron Rodericks, have left the company.

Overnight Musk appeared to give his first reaction to EU claims that X had the highest ratio of disinformation of the large social media platforms with a picture of three penguins bearing the logos of Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube saluting another penguin bearing the X logo.

Rodericks had recently secured an injunction against the company restraining the company from taking disciplinary action after he had posted information about the company’s recruitment of staff for his team on his personal account.

He claimed the company did nothing after he had been subjected to a barrage of abuse from people who accused him of trying to suppress freedom of speech on X.

Last month he posted an advert on LinkedIn for eight new roles revealing he was seeking people with a “passion for protecting the integrity of elections and civic events, X is certainly at the centre of the conversation”.

Sweeping new laws came into force in August, compelling social media platforms to remove fake accounts, disinformation and hate speech, with X rivals Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, Google and Microsoft all taking action and reporting back to the EU.

While Twitter quit the code of practice designed by the EU to help the companies comply with the new laws, Musk promised earlier this year he would comply with the rules.

Concerns over the platform’s approach to content moderation under Musk’s leadership have triggered an advertising boycott of the company, which relies on ads for the majority of its income.

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Musk has admitted that advertising revenues have fallen by about 60% since he bought the business last year and has blamed anti-hate speech campaign groups for the decline. He is suing the Center for Countering Digital Hate over its coverage of X and has also threatened to sue the Anti-Defamation League, which has raised concerns about antisemitic content on the platform.

Farhad Divecha, managing director of London-based digital marketing agency Accuracast, said: “The fact that Elon Musk seems to have disbanded the team that deals with election integrity sends a clear signal that preventing disinformation or maintaining a level of integrity isn’t a priority for X. This is one more factor adding to the concerns about brand safety, or ensuring brands aren’t associated with objectionable content.”

The company was approached for comment.

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Trump’s business empire could collapse ‘like falling dominoes’ after ruling

Donald Trump’s real estate empire could collapse “like falling dominoes”, experts believe, following a New York judge’s ruling that the former president’s business fortune was built on rampant fraud and blatant lies.

According to Michael Cohen, his former attorney and fixer, Trump is already effectively “out of business” in New York after Judge Arthur Engoron on Tuesday rescinded the licenses of the Trump Organization and other companies owned by Trump and his adult sons, Eric and Don Jr.

“Those companies will end up being liquidated … the judge has already determined that the fraud existed,” Cohen told CNN, hailing Engoron’s pretrial ruling in a civil case brought by Letitia James, the New York attorney general.

On Wednesday morning, in a confrontational post on his Truth Social website that branded the judge a “political hack”, Trump said Engoron “must be stopped”.

At a hearing on Wednesday afternoon, Trump’s legal team asked Engoron if his ruling meant Trump’s assets and businesses must be sold, or if they could continue to operate under receivership.

Engoron said he would address the issue at the non-jury trial beginning on 2 October, and extended to 30 days his original 10-day deadline for both parties to suggest names to act as receivers for the various companies.

The lawyers have said they will appeal the rescinding of the licenses, the appointment of receivers, and Engoron’s assertion that Trump and executives lived in a “fantasy world” of routinely, repeatedly and illegally overvaluing property values and his personal net worth to gain favorable loan terms and reduced insurance premiums.

But if the appeals are unsuccessful, the collapse of the Trump empire, upon which the former reality TV host staked his reputation as a successful business tycoon, could be imminent.

It would probably start with the sale of Trump’s most prestigious real estate assets, experts say, including Trump Tower in New York, golf courses and resorts around the US, and possibly his prized Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, if it is determined to be a business operation instead of his primary residential home.

In his post on Wednesday, Trump decried the judge’s $18m valuation of Mar-a-Lago, claiming it was worth “100 times more than he values it”.

William Black, a white-collar criminologist, corporate fraud investigator and distinguished scholar in residence for financial regulation at the University of Minnesota law school, said: “In finance, once the dominoes start falling, it becomes basically impossible to save it.

“These properties are even more damaged goods today because of the success in demonstrating they are massively overvalued. The most likely thing, if you get an honest agent or receiver, they’re going to sell the properties at a loss. And when you’ve got a whole bunch of properties, with the first one you just desperately need to get some action and that gets discounted the most.”

Black, who helped expose congressional wrongdoing in the Lincoln Savings and Loans scandal of the 1980s, in which the financier Charles Keating inflated his company’s worth to bilk taxpayers for billions, called Engoron’s ruling “devastating”. He believes Trump insiders and employees would have incentive to come forward with more information if he loses his wealth and influence.

“What we experienced in the Savings and Loan debacle, we would put in an honest manager and employees would start coming to that person over time and say, ‘You know, you really ought to look at this,’” Black said.

“Trump is monumentally, stupidly greedy in that he isn’t actually paying for a number of key lieutenants in terms of their legal needs, and they’re facing financial collapse of their own, [such as] the Rudy Giulianis of this world. But a lot of folks can sink Trump.

“Having this ability to control all these assets, even if they’re massively overvalued, meant hope springs eternal among the Trump folks that he can use that money and influence to help them, but if Trump instead ends up bereft of control over the overwhelming bulk of his assets, and has lots of liabilities, sugar daddy goes away.”

Engoron’s independent court-appointed monitor for the Trump Organization, the retired federal judge Barbara Jones, reported last month she had identified inconsistency and incompleteness in financial disclosures.

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Others also see the writing on the wall.

“Donald Trump is no longer in business,” David Cay Johnston, author of the Trump-themed book The Big Cheat, wrote in DC Report.

“Barring a highly unlikely reversal by an appeals court, Trump’s business assets eventually will be liquidated since he cannot operate them without a business license. The various properties are likely to be sold at fire sale prices and certainly not for top dollar when liquidation begins, probably after all appeals are exhausted.

“I give Trump’s chances of prevailing on appeal at somewhere between zero and nothing except perhaps on some minor procedural point, which you can be sure Trump will describe as complete vindication.”

Joyce Vance, a retired US attorney and University of Alabama law school professor, called Engoron’s ruling “justice”.

“This is New York’s corporate death penalty, applied to Trump because of years of misconduct,” she wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Black said Trump’s downfall would be self-inflicted.

“The key to these frauds is not genius, it’s audacity, but Trump never wanted to do it himself, he’s too lazy, right?” he said.

“And now he doesn’t control the people who have to actually do the deals. So they’re now forced into thousands of discussions, first with this judge, now this receiver, and that can’t work.

“You won’t be able to do the scams, and you won’t be able to do things quickly, either. That means a domino effect in credit failings and bankruptcies. As people start taking action against your properties, the liquidity you’re boasting isn’t going to be there and you’re going to get a bankruptcy.”

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