All Articles Tagged "recession"
Labor Department Report Shows Decrease In Unemployment Rate to Four-Year Low, Contradicts ADP Report
The latest jobs report from the US Labor Department shows a decrease in the unemployment rate, from 7.9 percent to 7.7 percent, with 146,000 jobs added in November. Experts had predicted that 85,000 jobs would be added.
However, the report indicates that 350,000 people have stopped looking for work, and the number of people who said they had a job decreased by 122,000.
“Add it all up, and the conclusion is this: The trend that we thought was underway — of a U.S. economy growing steadily but at an unspectacular pace — remains underway, and was not undone either by the hurricane or by anxiety over looming austerity — the tax hikes and spending cuts scheduled to take effect Jan. 1 if Congress and the White House can’t agree on a deal,” The Washington Post says.
This contradicts Wednesday’s ADP National Report, which fell below forecaster predictions. Sandy was directly tied to the less-then-expected showing. ADP draws on information from its customers to calculate its figures.
The Labor Department says the biggest gains were made in retail (53,000 jobs), professional and business services (43,000), and leisure and hospitality (23,000).
Still, for the black population, the unemployment rate is well above average. Labor Department numbers put the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate at 13.2 percent for African Americans, a decrease from 14.3 percent in November. Not seasonally adjusted, the unemployment rate is 12.7 percent, down from 13.8 percent.
James Glassman, a senior economist at JP Morgan Chase, told Bloomberg that the rate of payroll growth “is too slow to make much of a dent into the pool of unemployed, but it’s steady and persistent.” The newswire says Thanksgiving retail hiring at places like Macy’s and Toys ‘R Us were up.
People are feeling so good about the economy, they are celebrating by having a little wine with dinner. It seems there has been a boost in liquor sales at restaurants and bars and it’s all due to the economic recovery, speculates to a new study.
Having just come through the deepest U.S. recession since World War II, more Americans are drinking. Beer, wine, and spirits sales in restaurants, bars and other licensed locations increased 4.9 percent in 2011, according to a study by restaurant research firm Technomic. In dollars, this equals $93.7 billion in sales last year. And there are more drinks to go around. Beer imports into the U.S. also increased 6.5 percent this year, writes The Huffington Post.
Even in hard times Americans tend to continue to enjoy alcoholic beverages. But they tend to enjoy them at home. While alcohol sales fell in restaurants and bars, liquor sales at stores and supermarkets increased 1.2 percent, found a report by consumer research firm Mintel. CNNMoney data shows that in 2010, when unemployment grew to be as large as 9.6 percent, alcohol sales jumped 9 percent.
Black-owned banks once offered financial credit and stability to the African American community. The Huffington Post found that the number of black-owned banks across the nation has decreased drastically. “In 1994, 54 such banks were identified by the FDIC; now there are just 28,” reports HuffPo.
One city where minority banks have been hit hard is Chicago. According to Chicago Business
Among those that have already failed are ShoreBank, which had $2 billion in assets and was one of the city’s most active lenders catering mainly to African Americans, and $1.6 billion-asset Mutual Bank of Harvey, an Indian-American-owned bank.
Besides the recession, other experts say minority banks are failing because they aren’t needed. “While most bankers and business leaders in minority neighborhoods of Chicago believe that loans are hard to obtain in those areas, both for businesses and consumers, they don’t all see the minority banks moving aggressively to provide that credit,” notes Chicago Business. During the 1960s and 1970s, non-white borrowers had trouble obtaining loans, so minority banks cropped up to fulfill these financial needs. But because of the federal Community Reinvestment Act, a 1977 law that requires banks to lend in less-advantaged areas of their communities, this is not as of much an issue anymore.
But Monique Morris, NAACP Vice President for Economic Programs, argues that black-owned banks are still necessary. “The role for black-owned financial institutions is the same as it has always been — to support the financial needs of the communities in which they are located. They leverage deposits and support the formation and development of emerging enterprises that will produce jobs and improve the economic landscape of our communities,” she writes in The Grio.
Zagat, the restaurant rating guide, finds that Americans are tipping more than they used to. In 2000, the average tip was 18.2 percent. In 2011, that figure is 19.2 percent.
However, Americans are also dining out for fewer meals, on average; from 3.3 per week in 2006 to 3.1 in 2011.
A Wake Forest business school professor, Sherry Jarrell, tells Business Insider that sympathy is to blame. More people feel bad for a hard-working server. And with the bill for eating out on the decline, tips increase. There could be some empathy mixed in as well. Former servers may feel they should tip a little more.
The story goes into further detail about tipping practices according to where you live and economic status. For African Americans, tipping has become one more topic of cultural significance: Do black people tip less? It’s a topic we’ve covered here on Madame Noire. Our writer talked about her days as a waitress, being run ragged and then stiffed by a table of four African Americans.
Over on The Root, the author suspects that her African-American customers simply didn’t know that 20 percent is standard. Moreover, the writer thinks that frustrations about racism are to blame.
“I found that the tables that demanded the most tipped the worst,” the author says. “It became painfully clear that I gave my distressed guest an opportunity to feel superior.”
Not tipping because service was poor is justified. But not tipping just because is not. If you’re going out to dinner, budget a tip into what you expect to spend.
Are you a decent tipper? And if not, why?
Huzzah! Gas prices are dropping. If I had a car, I’d be even happier. Gas prices! Can someone do something about the Metrocard price now?
Gas prices are falling at the fastest rate in years, going down 12 cents in the past week. The national average is now about $3.65 a gallon with AAA expecting prices to go down to possibly $3.25 per gallon by Thanksgiving. Gas prices typically fall this time of year as demand drops; summer travel pushes the need for gas up. “[S]upply shortages and refinery woes on the West Coast and Midwest” actually kept gas prices high from the summer and through autumn, says USA Today.
Also falling are stock prices, which were driven down by earnings reports from major companies that indicate economic problem here and abroad. The Dow Jones was down 245 points, the S&P 500 down 24 points, and the Nasdaq was down 39 points this morning following news from a number of companies that are considered “bellwethers” for the economy. 3M, which makes everything from tape to construction products to items used for medical care said “current economic realities” were giving them pause. Dupont is cutting jobs. And Xerox stock is down 19 percent for the year.
Yesterday, Caterpillar lowered it profits projections for the year and predicted unchanged demand in its earnings report, though the company is moving forward with plans to build new plants. “As we’ve moved through the year, we’ve seen continued economic weakening and uncertainty,” said the company chairman and CEO Doug Oberhelman in this Wall Street Journal article. The company has already shut down plants and laid off workers. Caterpillar is so important because, as a construction and machines company, its sales reflect the health of a number of industries including mining and building.
The AP reports that the recession in Europe is playing a big role in the bad news, which is exactly why the region should’ve been a topic of discussion during last night’s debate. Also, companies are playing it cautious over fears about an increase in taxes due to the new healthcare law and the Great Recession.
Still… gas prices.
I’m friends with an older woman who by a wing and a prayer seems to singlehandedly carry the financial burden of her family on her back while her husband passively (and when I say passively, I’m being generous) looks for work. One might say that due to the tough economy there are many husbands who are out of work; however that isn’t the case in this particular situation seeing as her husband hasn’t been gainfully employed for the last 15+ years. I always look at the situation a bit confused and I have to occasionally ask her what is keeping her around. Her response is always “Someday, when you’re married you’ll understand.”
I get it. Marriage is a bridge that I haven’t had the privilege of crossing, yet. But, something about the thought of a man who refuses to assist in financially supporting his family leaves me somewhat perplexed. I realize that in most wedding vows the couple promises to stick together for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, but most brides would imagine that this is in reference to unforeseen and unfortunate events such as sickness, a lay-off, etc., not that her groom flat out makes the conscious decision to bail on his responsibility to financially support his family. As frustrating as this situation may seem from the outside looking in, I suppose she does have a valid point. Matrimonial vows don’t have built in employment clauses.
I am well aware of the serious weight that marriage holds in the sight of God. I hope to be married someday, but I feel a bit torn when it comes to this subject. It seems that the logical and biblically correct thing to do would be to stick around since unemployment doesn’t seem to be grounds for divorce, but something in me still wonders what women would actually do when put in this situation. How is this fair to the woman struggling to carry the financial load of her family on her own without the help of her perfectly capable partner, especially in this economy? I was certain that I wouldn’t be able to reach an unbiased conclusion on this matter for two reasons. One, I am not and have never been married and two, witnessing my friend carry such a heavy a burden may make me a little partial on the subject. So, I allowed a few ladies who are either married or have been married at some point to weigh in on this highly debatable topic. When asked if they would leave their mate if he refused to get a job, here is how they responded:
Absolutely. Positively. Affirmative.. Yes, yes, and yes. We would get divorced. He refuses to get a job? I refuse to be married to a man that won’t work.
- Celeste M., New Jersey
Well, acccording to the word of God I would not have the right to divorce him because he does not get a job. The words “get a job” are not in the marriage vows; however we all agree that if he don’t work he won’t eat …LOL. But, that is not grounds for divorce.
- Latisha M., New Jersey
A relationship is supposed to be 50/50. Where and what is his 50? That’s the real question! He has to bring something to the table or go!
- Dameisha D., New York
It seems that there is no “right” answer to this question, as it is all contingent upon one’s own personal affirmations and beliefs. Although the thought of a husband who is fully capable of supporting his family choosing not is very troubling to me, I can’t say for sure that I’d be so quick to give to my husband the axe either. Since marriage should be based on an unconditional love, choosing to leave due to the husband’s unemployment may actually make it conditional after all.
What do you think? Would you leave your mate if he refused to work ?
All photos are courtesy of ShutterStock
Let’s start with the obvious — Joe Biden killed it six ways to Sunday in last night’s debate. The media’s reporting on polls showing a draw, but seriously. No.
Showing that one shouldn’t underestimate Joltin’ Joe, he came armed with a “You’ve got to be kidding me” laugh, a lifetime of experience and facts. #FactsMatter was actually one of the popular hashtags of the night, and with good reason. Biden has been in the White House for the past four years, witnessing all that the Obama administration has accomplished. He has more than 30 years in Congress. And he wasn’t afraid to talk it up and call a spade a spade.
On foreign policy and military matters, he spoke plainly and with authority. Explaining the policy in Syria versus the one in Libya, he started by stating simply, “They are two completely different countries.” In other words, I understand the nuance of the dynamics across that region. It’s not a monolith. Ryan was clearly overwhelmed by the topic. On healthcare, Biden discussed the dollars and cents of what people will spend and save. On women’s issues, he made it clear that despite his religion, he believes in a woman’s right to determine what’s best for her own body.
And without letting too much time pass, he jumped all over Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” comment. On MSNBC, a commentator made the point that VP Biden speaks the language of populism well, a good point. Much of the criticism of Biden comes from those who thought his laughing was over the top or downright rude. It was noticeable and maybe even a touch too much, but it didn’t overshadow his words.
So a big topic, of course, was the economy. On the issue of small business, Ryan said that letting tax cuts expire on high earners (they would remain for the middle class) would mean big trouble for job creators and VP Biden said it would only impact a small portion of small businesses (defining small businesses and those earning less than $250,000 per year, which is the vast majority). The Washington Post‘s analysis shows that both of them have a point. Ryan continued to be vague about the loopholes and tax breaks for the super-wealthy that they would cut.
Moving on, Ryan criticized the rate of economic growth the country is experiencing now and even went so far as to say joblessness is increasing, a claim that is in stark opposition to the unemployment numbers we’ve gotten over the past two weeks. And then both candidates fiercely debated about Medicare and other entitlements, going back and forth about whether the GOP side is advocating for vouchers. Here’s a good breakdown of the economic issues that were discussed. And here’s full video along with issue-by-issue clips.
Two final notes: ABC’s Martha Raddatz did a bang up job last night, gained thousands more Twitter followers as a result of her work, and launched the #MoreMartha hashtag, with people requesting that she moderate the remaining two presidential debates.
And Joe Biden may single-handedly bring back one of my favorite words: “malarkey.” The word was erased from proper parlance last year when the AP Style Guide removed it. They should rethink that.
Well now. That was… enlightening.
In case you haven’t seen this video of Mitt Romney speaking at a fundraiser in Boca Raton a few months back, here it is in full on Mother Jones. Few people get away without a remark from the presidential candidate, but the comment that has gotten the most play is about the “47 percent” who don’t pay income taxes. These people are “victims” that he “doesn’t have to worry about,” characterized as freeloaders on society.
When you dig down into the numbers, that “47 percent” (about 76 million people) is mostly elderly people who don’t have to pay taxes on things like Social Security; the indigent, who have so little, you’d have to be cruel to suggest taking anything more; and members of the military and veterans, who are putting their lives on the line for us. Even among the people who don’t pay income tax, there’s a big chunk (two-thirds) who are paying payroll tax. ABC News offers a full breakdown here. A small sliver of the non-income tax payers are actually wealthy people who managed to rack up enough deductions to get out of paying. Go figure.
MSNBC characterized Romney’s comments as a fundamental misunderstanding of how our society works; the “social compact” of who pays taxes, who doesn’t and why. Republicans who are supposed to be on his side have even ripped him for the speech. “This is not how big leaders talk, it’s how shallow campaign operatives talk…It’s time to admit the Romney campaign is an incompetent one,” wrote columnist Peggy Noonan in The Wall Street Journal. Moreover, President Obama reminded us on Letterman last night that the President is meant to represent all of the country.
So today, Romney is trying his darnedest to keep from apologizing for the comments, twisting and turning them into a pretzel of epic proportions in order to show how these thoughtless and awful statements are actually a part of his big economic plan. In a USA Today opinion piece published this morning, he says, “Efforts that promote hard work and personal responsibility over government dependency make America strong. When the economy is growing and Americans are working, everyone involved has a shared sense of achievement, not to mention the basic sense of pride that comes with the paycheck they earn.” Given a little more time (and a lot of help from his campaign, no doubt), he’s gone back to talking about “everyone” and how great everyone is/can be. The column is short on actual policy and long on rah-rah-rahs, but here it is nonetheless.
The question is whether Romney’s campaign is officially sunk. Your thoughts?
Are you finding the cost of living keeps going up, but your salary remains the same? Well, in some U.S. cities that’s just not the case. A new study conducted by a think tank in Canada revealed which American cities had the biggest wage increases between 2010 and 2011.
According to the University of Toronto’s Martin Prosperity Institute (MPI), which looked at wage data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the most lucrative salary increase occurred in the remote Alaskan city of Fairbanks. It seems workers in Fairbanks received an average annual wage increase of $2,700. The average salary in that city was $53,050.
MPI broke down the findings into two categories: the cities with the largest overall increases and the largest U.S. metros (cities with more than one million people) that saw the biggest wage increases.
Following Fairbanks on the overall list were: Bloomington, IN ($2,460 increase, average salary $38,110) and Iowa City, IA ($2,330 increase; $44,170 average).
In the largest metros, the top three includes: San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($2,030 increase; $69,880 average salary); Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA ($1,680 increase; $56,390 average); and Oakland-Fremont-Hayward, CA ($1,540 increase; $57,900 average).
The Yahoo News story also notes the report from the National Employment Law Project that we reported on, showing the growing number of low wage jobs that have come in to replace the middle-wage positions that have disappeared in the recession. According to MPI, the places with greater concentrations of college graduates — thus a more skilled workforce — and professionals in the science, tech, business and management professions are the ones who ranked higher on the lists.
-Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is one of the first women ever to be admitted to the He Man Women-Haters Club a.k.a. the Augusta National Golf Club. The other woman to be admitted is Darla Moore, a South Carolina financier who was the highest paid woman woman in the financial industry in the 1980s and 90s and married a billionaire in 1991. The club, which has been around for 80 years, issued a statement yesterday saying, “These accomplished women share our passion for the game of golf and both are well known and respected by our membership.” The issue of admitting woman became major earlier this year. IBM was a big sponsor of the Masters tournament (held at Augusta) but wouldn’t let its CEO, Virginia Rometty, join. The four previous men had. It’s reported that the club also sees the admittance of women as an opportunity for growth — of the game and its own roster.
-Travel is getting trickier. A number of regional airlines, such as Pinnacle and Comair, are shutting down or headed to bankruptcy court. These smaller carriers are responsible for half of the flights that take off and land in the U.S. This means longer drive times to the nearest airport for many across the U.S. At the same time, airfares are going up. Southwest is fixing to charge $5 more on one-way fares for trips that are 500 miles or less. Other airlines will likely follow in their footsteps. But if it’s any consolation, fares to Europe have gone down for the fall now that the Olympics are over. Still, the prices can be steep ($750 to London) because of fuel costs.
-This New York Times article says that President Obama wasn’t aggressive enough with his policies to help homeowners facing foreclosure. “Mr. Obama and his advisers were convinced that even in the depths of an unyielding crisis, most Americans did not want their neighbors rescued at public expense,” the article says. Thoughts?
-The Beloit College Mindset List, which details the reference points for the incoming class of 2016, has been released. Guess what? Most of us are old. Some of the items on the list: they’ve never seen an actual airline “ticket”; the Jacksons (as in Tito, Janet and Jermaine) rather than the Kennedys are “American royalty”; and they have very little use for a radio.
-Missouri Rep. Todd Akin has apologized (again) for his absurd and outrageous comments about “legitimate rape” in this online clip. Some Republicans are urging him to drop out of the race.