Afternoon Coffee: Foxconn to Go Forward on Wisconsin Plant; U.S. Hiring Rises to 304,000 Jobs

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Taiwan-based Foxconn Technology Group, a major supplier to Apple, got over its cold feet about building a giant liquid-crystal display (LCD) factory in Wisconsin and announced Friday that it is going forward with the project, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The company said its CEO spoke with President Donald Trump about the Wisconsin facility, which got $4 billion in public money and which was expected to create 13,000 jobs, the Journal reports. Foxconn pledged to invest $10 billion.

Jobs, Unemployment Both Up?

For January, U.S. employers hired more people than any other month for almost a year, adding 304,000 jobs, according to government numbers released Friday, the Associated Press reports.

“The overwhelming conclusion from today’s numbers is that the U.S. labor market remained incredibly strong at the start of 2019,” Leslie Preston, senior economist at TD Economics, told the AP.

In Afternoon Coffee yesterday, we reported that unemployment was up. So how does that make sense when the job numbers are up too? The AP has this explanation, related to the government shutdown:

“The unemployment rate did rise in January to 4 percent from 3.9 percent, the Labor Department said, but mostly for a technical reason: Roughly 175,000 federal workers were counted as temporarily unemployed last month because of the shutdown.”

After Trade Talks, China Buying U.S. Soybeans

A day after high-level trade talks, China has agreed to buy at least 1 million tons of U.S. soybeans, according to traders, Reuters reports.

“It certainly is good to see some concessions and more buying interest from China, but this is a concession in terms of a larger trade agreement. Brazilian offers are cheaper than we are so it’s just part of the negotiation,” said Terry Linn, an analyst with Chicago-based brokerage Linn & Associates, according to Reuters.

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