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August jobs and Europe refugee crisis — 5 things to know today

Hello friends and Fortune readers.

Wall Street stock futures are set to open lower before the all-important release of September’s employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The boost to sentiment from a doveish-sounding ECB President Mario Draghi Thursday appears to have given way to deeper-seated fears for the global growth outlook.

Today’s must-read story is from Fortune‘s Claire Groden and it looks at the challenges facing the U.S. recycling industry and how the industry leader, Houston-based Waste Management, can turn things around.

Here’s what else you need to know today.


1. August jobs report

The Labor Department is expected to report that the U.S. workforce added 222,000 jobs last month, topping July’s gain of 215,000 positions while knocking the unemployment rate down from 5.3% to 5.2% — the lowest rate in more than seven years. The markets will be watching the report closely, as another strong month of employment growth could weigh heavily on the Federal Reserve’s decision of whether to raise interest rates this month or delay the hike.

2. Europe inches toward ending stand-off on refugee crisis

A climbdown by U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron may pave the way for an E.U.-wide solution to Europe’s refugee crisis. Cameron changed course under public pressure Friday, saying that the U.K. will take in “thousands” more refugees. The U.K. had been holding out against German and French proposals for a mandatory quota for distributing refugees across the 28-country bloc. Cameron’s retreat increases the possibility of a more equitable deal on burden-sharing.

3. Star Wars ‘Force Friday’

Today marks the Walt Disney’s (DIS) release of toys and other merchandise tied to the highly-anticipated new Star Wars movie, which hits theaters at the end of the year. A variety of products — from Star Wars Lego sets to character-based action figures and even a remote-controlled ball-shaped droid toy — went on sale just after midnight this morning at Disney stores across the country, along with some Walmart (WMT) and Target (TGT) locations. Amazon (AMZN) is also selling new Star Wars merchandise online.


4. Boeing opens space center facility

Aircraft manufacturer Boeing (BA) today opens its processing facility in Florida at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The facility will be used for commercial space taxis the company has modernized and dubbed CST-100, which will be used to transport crew and cargo on space missions.

5. Holiday weekend begins

Many Americans will be making an early break for their office exits today as they look to get a head start on their Labor Day weekend travel plans. And, they’re right to rush, because plunging commodity prices have resulted in cheap gas and airfare deals that will likely inspire an uptick in the number of people traveling this weekend. According to AAA, 35.5 million people in the U.S. will travel at least 50 miles from their house this weekend, which is up from 35 million last year. If you’d rather not deal with the holiday crush on the roads, it might be more relaxing to stay home and barbecue!


— Reuters contributed to this post.