The Current, delivered daily.
The monthly jobs report on December 2022 from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics showed continued strength in the labor market.
The economy added 223,000 jobs for December. That’s down from 263,000 in November, but caps off a year of growth in the job market, despite 40-year-high inflation and fears of a downturn. In all, payroll employment rose by 4.2 million in 2022, which is an average monthly gain of 375,000 jobs.
Unemployment edged down to 3.5%, keeping it in the historically low and narrow range of 3.5%-3.7% where it sat since March.
Average hourly earnings rose 0.3% or 4.6% for the year.
Job gains were driven by growth in leisure and hospitality, health care, construction, and social assistance. Retail trade employment remained essentially unchanged from the month prior.
It’s a sign that the tight job market of 2022 continued into the final month of the year. On Thursday, the Bureau also reported that job openings showed little change in November, staying at an elevated level of 10.5 million.
The job market is typically a primary indicator of consumer demand, as stable employment brings discretionary dollars. On the other hand, Federal Reserve officials say a cooling of the job market could be necessary to bring 40-year-high inflation all the way down to its 2% level. But there has been little evidence of that happening, even as the Fed keeps raising rates. December's report shows that jobs are still being added and unemployment ticked down, continuing the trend on view throughout 2022. While that's a welcome sign for retailers watching consumer demand, it will give the Fed more reason to keep its campaign of rising interest rates in place.
"On the one hand, the Fed appears on the verge of preventing labor market imbalances from widening further, which could be realized if employment growth slows more toward 100K, if not below," Bank of America economists wrote in a research note. "On the other hand, this just means labor market imbalances stop widening. Imbalances have yet to reverse."
Nonfarm payrolls, 2018-2022 (FRED)
Trending in Economy
The virtual store was built by Emperia.
As it opens a new boutique, Italian women’s fashion brand Pinko is opening a virtual store that is designed to create a personalized experience for customers to browse handbags digitally.
Pinko's virtual shopping experience powered by the platform Emperia, which allows users to access metaverse environments through commonly-used devices such as laptops and mobile phones. The launch of the store, which is dubbed Pinko Galleria, is timed with the opening of the brand’s boutique in the exclusive Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in Milan.
The store has exclusive offerings that allow the brand to cross the physical and digital worlds:
- New handbags that are specifically designed for the experience, and displayed through 3D modeling that offers education and
- NFTs from Pinko called Meta Love Bags.
- Communities for women that are designed for empowerment and independence.
The opening comes on the heels of last week’s closing of a $10 million Series A investment round for Emperia, which has also worked with Bloomingdale’s and Dior. Founded in 2019 by fashion and retail expert Olga Dogadkina and VR technologist Simonas Holcmann, Emperia’s platform provides the technology and visual infrastructure that architect the virtual stores, as well as data and analytics that provides key insights to retailers about how shoppers interact with the store and what is needed to personalize experiences.
The virtual store is designed to complement the physical store. It presents new opportunities for brand-building that is untethered from physical parameters. It also makes the exclusive more accessible. Shoppers anywhere in the world can now enter the store, even as the physical location is only in Milan.
“The new experience allows audiences, worldwide, to experience the unique, bold design that Pinko is so well-known for, wherever they choose to,” says Olga Dogadkina, Co-founder & CEO at Emperia, in a statement. “Our 3D technology ensures a high merchandise-viewing quality, which complements its real-life twin product, to the smallest detail, allowing Pinko to present and directly-sell its exclusive capsule collection in a way that simulates a realistic shopping experience.”
Inside the virtual store, shoppers have the opportunity to browse and navigate through a space that is laid out and merchandised in 3D with all the hallmarks of a Pinko physical store, right down to a full layout of the brand's signature pink. They’re also greeted by music. A sign that the store is not in the physical world arrives upon turning toward the front. Look out the window, and a shopper will find that they are high above the clouds.
That’s a new way to elevate the experience.
Here are more photos of the Pinko virtual store:
Handbags in Pinko's virtual store. (Courtesy photo)
Hands holding handbags. (Courtesy photo)
NFTs in Pinko's virtual store. (courtesy photo)
Looking out the window at Pinko's virtual store.