Coronavirus latest: US private sector jobs recovery more sluggish than forecast


Wall Street kicked off September with a strong rally as the S&P 500 closed at a record high on the heels of its biggest August gain in decades. The S&P 500 closed up 0.7 per cent at 3,526.68 on Tuesday, led by technology and materials stocks. The rise followed the best August gain for the benchmark index since 1986. The Nasdaq Composite rose 1.4 per cent to 11,939.67.

A split among US scientists over using convalescent plasma to treat Covid-19 deepened on Tuesday, when a panel said there was insufficient evidence. “There are currently no data … that demonstrate the efficacy and safety of convalescent plasma for the treatment of Covid-19,” the National Institutes of Health panel said, contradicting the Food and Drug Administration.

Brazil’s economy has officially entered a recession following the swingeing impact of the coronavirus crisis, which has killed more than 120,000 Brazilians and pushed millions into unemployment. According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, gross domestic product shrank 9.7 per cent quarter-on-quarter, reflecting the effect of widespread shutdowns.

Classes in New York City’s public schools, scheduled to begin September 10, will now start on September 21 after the city and a union agreed on a plan for more safety measures related to coronavirus, including random testing. The deal averted a strike vote scheduled for Tuesday by the United Federation of Teachers. “This is a great day for every public school student,” said mayor Bill de Blasio, pictured.

US manufacturing sector activity expanded for the third consecutive month and climbed to its highest level since 2018, data from the Institute for Supply Management showed. Its purchasing managers’ index rose to 56 in August, from 54.2 the previous month. That was the highest reading since November 2018. Economists had forecast the index would be little changed at 54.5.

Eurozone consumer prices have slipped year on year for the first time since 2016, putting pressure on the European Central Bank to do more to support the faltering economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Consumer prices fell 0.2 per cent in August from the same month in 2020, down from an increase of 0.4 per cent in July.

The number of international tourists visiting Spain collapsed 75 per cent in July compared with the same month in 2019 in an indication of how hard the pandemic has shaken the country’s economy. Just 2.5m foreign visitors arrived in Spain during the month, spending about €2.45bn. The average expenditure of €994 per tourist also represented an 18 per cent fall on last year.

Low-cost carrier Wizz Air has warned it could cut its flight schedule and park part of its fleet this winter after Hungary added to the travel restrictions in place across parts of Europe. Hungary, Wizz’s home market, shut its borders to foreign nationals on Tuesday after recording 292 new coronavirus cases on Sunday — its highest daily count.

The number of unemployed people in Germany fell for the second consecutive month as its labour market rebounded from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The Federal Employment Agency said the number of jobless people fell by about 9,000 in August, adding to signs that Europe’s largest economy is steadily shaking off the disruption of the pandemic.

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