The Labor Department is scheduled to release its monthly gauge of the American labor market on Friday morning. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expect only small improvements, estimating a gain of 182,000 jobs and no change in the unemployment rate at 6.3 percent.
Roughly 10 million fewer jobs exist today than a year ago, and the January report showed a gain of only 49,000. While economists have offered increasingly optimistic forecasts for growth later in the year, millions of workers are still relying on unemployment benefits and other government assistance. First-time jobless claims also rose last week.
Federal Reserve and top administration officials have emphasized that the Labor Department’s figures understate the extent of the damage. More than four million people have quit the labor force in the last year, including those sidelined because of child care and other family responsibilities or health concerns. They are not included in the official jobless count.
To carry struggling households and businesses through the coming months, Congress is considering a $1.9 trillion package of pandemic relief.
In recent weeks, recruiting sites have had an increase in job postings, but demand remains lopsided. The warehouse, transportation, health care, finance and professional services sectors have shown particular strength. But the parts of the economy hit hardest by the pandemic, like restaurants, travel, salons and entertainment, are still floundering.
The February report is also expected to show a decline in state and local government payrolls.
“The dominant driver of the labor market right now is the Covid situation and the status of reopenings,” said Robert Rosener, a senior U.S. economist at Morgan Stanley.
He added that unusually harsh weather, particularly in the first half of February, right before the government conducted its surveys, could also have depressed hiring last month.
Newsmax, the conservative news outlet trying to compete with Fox News in a post-Trump era for viewers skeptical of mainstream media and the Democratic administration in Washington, has a new on-air talent: Andrew H. Giuliani, son of Rudolph W. Giuliani.
The younger Mr. Giuliani, who worked as an aide for former President Donald J. Trump, started this week as a political analyst and correspondent, he said Thursday on a radio show hosted by his father.
“When you walk out of the White House for the last time,” the 35-year-old son said, you wonder “if you’re ever going to do anything in your life that’s going to have the meaning of that.” The Newsmax job is, he added, “obviously a way to continue the meaning that I had found.”
His father, working as a lawyer for Mr. Trump, helped promote the debunked claim that the 2020 presidential election was rigged. The elder Mr. Giuliani has been targeted in defamation lawsuits filed by Dominion Voting Systems and another voting technology company, Smartmatic.
Newsmax already employs Sean Spicer, Mr. Trump’s first White House press secretary, as well as the pro-Trump social media stars Diamond and Silk. One of Mr. Spicer’s successors as press secretary under Mr. Trump, Kayleigh McEnany, has appeared recently on Fox News as a commentator.
Tribune Publishing, which owns The Chicago Tribune, The Daily News and seven other metropolitan dailies, added substantially to its digital subscribers and digital revenue last year, the newspaper chain said on Thursday in its first earnings release since it announced a deal last month to be purchased by the hedge fund Alden Global Capital.
Tribune also said that it had increased its cash holdings over the year by $36.7 million, to nearly $100 million, and lowered its total operating expenses by more than $138 million.
In the fourth quarter, Tribune’s advertising revenue dipped more than $32 million compared with the same quarter of 2019, a stark decline partly attributable to the coronavirus pandemic, while its overall subscription revenue fell $3.1 million even as revenue from digital subscriptions grew by $5.4 million.
Last month, Tribune and Alden announced that Alden would buy the 68 percent of the company’s shares it did not already own at a valuation of $630 million, assuming two-thirds of Tribune’s remaining shareholders approve the deal. Alden already owns dozens of papers across the country through a subsidiary, MediaNews Group.
Terry Jimenez, who was named Tribune’s chief executive in February 2020, pointed in a news release to the company’s digital gains as part of its effort to mitigate “the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic” and position Tribune “for a successful future.”
Tribune gained approximately 102,000 digital subscribers in 2020, a 30.5 percent rise, bringing its total to 436,000, the company said. Digital revenue, including both digital advertising and subscriptions, grew by $16.5 million, or 57 percent.
“The steps we took over the course of the year to rationalize our cost structure, significantly reduce future obligations, pursue digital growth and invest in high-quality content enabled Tribune to create a platform to succeed for years to come,” Mr. Jimenez said.
Alden already owns a 32 percent stake in Tribune, which it acquired in late 2019. The hedge fund, which is based in Manhattan, is known for cutting costs at newspapers it owns in order to increase profit margins. In January 2020, Tribune offered buyouts widely. After the pandemic arrived in the United States, it permanently cut some employees’ pay, instituted furloughs and also shuttered several of its papers’ offices.
Tribune said that, in deference to the Alden deal, it would not hold a conference call to discuss the earnings announcement.