National / International News

Towns' EU regeneration funds on hold

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-04 06:51
EU funding for a scheme to refurbish shops and business premises in two Pembrokeshire towns is suspended.

House of Fraser set for China sale

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-04 06:51
Department store chain House of Fraser is poised to be sold to Chinese company Sanpower, the BBC understands.

Walking through the latest jobs numbers

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-04-04 06:39

The good news:  The U.S. added 192K jobs in March and the unemployment rate is 6.7%!

The bad news:  The U.S. added only 192K jobs in March and the unemployment rate is still 6.7%. 

More jobs, but fewer than expected

“We were looking for a higher number, maybe 230k,” says ITG chief economist Steve Blitz.  “It’s a spin your wheels economy; it is expanding and that’s better than contracting, but we’re not seeing anything to suggest the economy is going to accelerate to a faster pace of growth beyond 2, 2.5%.”

The new jobs don’t pay a lot

The new jobs include a lot of temp positions (29,000),  in sectors that don’t necessarily pay super well:  Restaurants (30,000), ambulatory health care (20,000) including home nursing, Construction (19,000). 

“It’s a great thing that people are finding employment,” says Blitz, “but they’re not the kind of high wage jobs that are going to generate the kind of spending that many are anticipating.”  Including, he says, people at the Federal Reserve.  

Some nice things

The number of long term unemployed (people out of work for 27 weeks and over) is down over the month, and the year. In March of 2013 there were 4.576 million long term unemployed people, in March of 2014 there were 3.739 million.  In February of 2014 we were at 3.849 million.

The long term unemployed are also making up a smaller percentage of all unemployed people.  (35.8% this March compared with 39.1% last March, and 37% in February)

Some major revisions

The Bureau of Labor Statistics adjusted some of its previous estimates.  In January the economy added 144,000 jobs (not 113,000 as originally estimated), and in February the economy added 197,000 jobs (not the 129,000 the BLS originally reported).

A milestone and a mile off

By one measure, we have now surpassed the number of private sector jobs we had at the pre-recession peak in January 2008.  Back then, the private sector was employing 115.977 million people.  In March the private sector employed 116.087 million people. 

But that misses some major points. 

If you look at ALL employment throughout the entire economy - including the public sector - there’s not nearly as much to celebrate.  The pre-recession peak for TOTAL non-farm payroll employment was 138.365 million people back in January of 2008.  In March of 2014, we were tentatively at 137.928 million people with fulltime jobs. So we have 437,000 more to go.

Slow to catch up.  

Nor should we be happy with reaching the number of jobs we had in 2008.  We’ve had lots of new people join the workforce since then. The Hamilton Project (affiliated with the Brookings Institution) keeps track of the “jobs gap,” which is the number of jobs that the U.S. economy needs to create in order to return to pre-recession employment levels while also absorbing the people who enter the labor force each month.  Their estimate for when we'll truly catch up to where we would've been? 2020.

Was it the weather after all?

Remember December and January weren’t so hot... neither in temperature nor in jobs.  Whereas in November we added 274,000 jobs,  in December we added 84,000 and in January we added 113,000 144,000.  February wasn’t great either at 129,000 197,000 jobs created.   (Strikethroughs represent the original BLS estimates, they revised their numbers in the March jobs report).   When those initial numbers came out, a lot of people suspected/hoped the weather was behind the drop in new hires. 

Well, after the revisions, it looks like Old Man Winter didn’t slam job growth as much as it looked like at the time.  Weather was certainly a part of the dip, but looking at the overall trend it would appear that the economy was growing at a very lukewarm pace to begin with.   For the foreseeable future, that's what we're going to be stuck with: 2-2.5% growth, estimates Blitz.

Nama NI portfolio is sold for £1bn

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-04 06:33
Nama, the Republic of Ireland's state-controlled "bad bank", sells its entire Northern Ireland loan portfolio for around £1bn.

US urges Mid-East 'reality check'

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-04 06:31
US Secretary of State John Kerry says it is time for a "reality check" in the Israel-Palestinian peace process amid a deep crisis in the talks.

Jailed toddler killer 'lost temper'

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-04 06:26
A man who inflicted "catastrophic" brain injuries on his partner's 22-month-old boy is jailed for eight years.

AUDIO: Pupils tell off parents over parking

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-04 06:21
A group of young pupils have written a joint letter to their parents telling them to stop arguing about school car parking spaces.

Top tax rate cut 'raises billions'

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-04 06:14
John Redwood says the 45% top tax rate is raising billions, as Chancellor George Osborne faces calls for further cuts.

Guilty pleas over girl's gate death

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-04 06:05
Two companies plead guilty to breaching safety laws over the death of a five-year-old girl crushed by an electric gate.

Clashes at Brussels march for jobs

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-04 06:03
Clashes erupt near EU headquarters in Brussels as anti-austerity protesters confront police - Chris Morris reports.

The life and times of Margo MacDonald

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-04 06:02
The life and times of MSP Margo MacDonald

Mama may have, Papa may have...

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-04-04 05:57

 From the Marketplace datebook, here's a look at what's coming up April 7:

Chad troops 'fired into CAR market'

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-04 05:57
Chadian soldiers in the Central African Republic killed at least 30 civilians in an unprovoked attack on a market last weekend, a UN inquiry says.

Racing's Michael Schumacher Has 'Moments Of Consciousness'

NPR News - Fri, 2014-04-04 05:56

The Formula One driving legend suffered a severe head injury while skiing in December. Doctors started to bring him out of a medically induced coma in late January. He is hospitalized in France.

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Stage set for 167th Grand National

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-04 05:55
Aintree gears up for the 167th Grand National, with 40 runners set to compete in the world's most famous steeplechase.

Kidnapped Iranians freed in Pakistan

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-04 05:47
Four Iranian soldiers seized by a Sunni militant group and taken to Pakistan are freed after a request from Iranian clerics, but a fifth is reportedly killed.

Torres has Chelsea future - Mourinho

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-04 05:46
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho says Fernando Torres has a future at the club despite speculation linking him with a move.

Mystery foam spreads down river

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-04 05:46
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency is trying to establish why a large expanse of foam has appeared on the River Clyde in Glasgow.

VIDEO: Assange's support for European internet

BBC - Fri, 2014-04-04 05:43
In a rare interview, Julian Assange - founder the whistle-blowing website Wikileaks - speaks to the BBC's technology programme Click.

Walking through the latest jobs numbers

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-04-04 05:40
Friday, April 4, 2014 - 09:39 MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

U.S. President Barack Obama walks with an employee in Fred's Pro Hardware, June 3, 2011 in Toledo, Ohio.

The good news:  The U.S. added 192K jobs in March and the unemployment rate is 6.7%!

The bad news:  The U.S. added only 192K jobs in March and the unemployment rate is still 6.7%. 

More jobs, but fewer than expected

“We were looking for a higher number, maybe 230k,” says ITG chief economist Steve Blitz.  “It’s a spin your wheels economy; it is expanding and that’s better than contracting, but we’re not seeing anything to suggest the economy is going to accelerate to a faster pace of growth beyond 2, 2.5%.”

The new jobs don’t pay a lot

The new jobs include a lot of temp positions (29,000),  in sectors that don’t necessarily pay super well:  Restaurants (30,000), ambulatory health care (20,000) including home nursing, Construction (19,000). 

“It’s a great thing that people are finding employment,” says Blitz, “but they’re not the kind of high wage jobs that are going to generate the kind of spending that many are anticipating.”  Including, he says, people at the Federal Reserve.  

Some nice things

The number of long term unemployed (people out of work for 27 weeks and over) is down over the month, and the year. In March of 2013 there were 4.576 million long term unemployed people, in March of 2014 there were 3.739 million.  In February of 2014 we were at 3.849 million.

The long term unemployed are also making up a smaller percentage of all unemployed people.  (35.8% this March compared with 39.1% last March, and 37% in February)

Some major revisions

The Bureau of Labor Statistics adjusted some of its previous estimates.  In January the economy added 144,000 jobs (not 113,000 as originally estimated), and in February the economy added 197,000 jobs (not the 129,000 the BLS originally reported).

A milestone and a mile off

By one measure, we have now surpassed the number of private sector jobs we had at the pre-recession peak in January 2008.  Back then, the private sector was employing 115.977 million people.  In March the private sector employed 116.087 million people. 

But that misses some major points. 

If you look at ALL employment throughout the entire economy - including the public sector - there’s not nearly as much to celebrate.  The pre-recession peak for TOTAL non-farm payroll employment was 138.365 million people back in January of 2008.  In March of 2014, we were tentatively at 137.928 million people with fulltime jobs. So we have 437,000 more to go.

Slow to catch up.  

Nor should we be happy with reaching the number of jobs we had in 2008.  We’ve had lots of new people join the workforce since then. The Hamilton Project (affiliated with the Brookings Institution) keeps track of the “jobs gap,” which is the number of jobs that the U.S. economy needs to create in order to return to pre-recession employment levels while also absorbing the people who enter the labor force each month.  Their estimate for when we'll truly catch up to where we would've been? 2020.

Was it the weather after all?

Remember December and January weren’t so hot... neither in temperature nor in jobs.  Whereas in November we added 274,000 jobs,  in December we added 84,000 and in January we added 113,000 144,000.  February wasn’t great either at 129,000 197,000 jobs created.   (Strikethroughs represent the original BLS estimates, they revised their numbers in the March jobs report).   When those initial numbers came out, a lot of people suspected/hoped the weather was behind the drop in new hires. 

Well, after the revisions, it looks like Old Man Winter didn’t slam job growth as much as it looked like at the time.  Weather was certainly a part of the dip, but looking at the overall trend it would appear that the economy was growing at a very lukewarm pace to begin with.   For the foreseeable future, that's what we're going to be stuck with: 2-2.5% growth, estimates Blitz.

What we look for in a monthly jobs reportby Sabri Ben-AchourStory Type: BlogSyndication: PMPApp Respond: No
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