News Day: Unemployment up to 8.9 percent / T-Paw starts the veto engine / World and national headlines

Unemployment up again The unemployment rate rose to 8.9 percent in April, as the economy shed another 539,000 jobs. Looking for the bright side – that’s the smallest number of jobs cut since October. But it’s pretty hard to see much of a bright side in the highest unemployment rate in more than 25 years.

The Department of Labor also notes:

About 2.1 million persons (not seasonally adjusted) were marginally attached to the labor force in April, 675,000 more than a year earlier. These individuals wanted and were available for work and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.

and:

In April, the number of persons working part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was essentially unchanged at 8.9 million; however, the number of such workers has risen by 3.7 million over the past 12 months.

And the Daily Kos takes on the concept of “natural” unemployment, in a readable and important analysis of employment/unemployment in “what has just became the longest running downturn since the Great Depression, [and] probable long-term effects of this crash.”

T-Paw vs. St. Paul T-Paw vetoed the entire $262 million economic development bill, reports the PiPress, blaming his veto on the bill’s inclusion of forgiveness for $32 million of a state loan to St. Paul to help build the Xcel Energy Center. T-Paw scolded St. Paul for plans to build a new ice arena across fromthe Xcel for Wild hockey practices, amateur hockey and figure skating. T-Paw said he would only approve funds for St. Paul if the city promised to use this particular pot of money for police and fire hiring. Now that’s real conservative respect for local government decisions.

Veto, veto, veto That’s the likely near future forecast at the Capitol, as the House and Senate send their omnibus tax compromise to T-Paw. The bill would raise $992 million to help fix the state’s massive budget deficit. MPR reports:

The plan would create a new income tax bracket of 9.0 percent on joint filers earning more than $250,000 a year. It would also increase alcohol taxes and creates a surtax on any credit card company that charges an annual percentage rate above 15 percent. …

“For the record, it needs to be noted that the House has offered more cuts this year than the Governor and the Senate has offered more cuts than the House so if we want to talk about that whole budget then we should,” Lenczewski said.

Spotlight on the Sheikh MPR’s Laura Yuen has a fascinating interview with Sheik Abdirahman Ahmad, who has been at the center of a media storm around the Abubakar As-Saddique Islamic Center in Minneapolis.

World/National headlines

BBC: Colombia’s growing military human rights scandal:

The “false positives” scandal has revealed that the army murdered civilians, who were then dressed in rebel uniforms or given guns. They were then presented as guerrillas or paramilitaries killed in combat.

These allowed units to fabricate results, and officers to gain promotion.

A new survey shows that European Muslims have much more loyalty to the countries they live in than is generally believed — sometimes more than native-born citizens.

NPR: President Obama has identified $17 billion in budget cuts.

NYT: According to the results of the “stress test,” some of the nation’s biggest banks –led by Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup — need $75 billion more in capital. Should we feel reassured? Probably not so much, says Paul Krugman:

… while the Federal Reserve and the Obama administration continue to insist that they’re committed to tighter financial regulation and greater oversight, Wall Street insiders are taking the mildness of bank policy so far as a sign that they’ll soon be able to go back to playing the same games as before.

So as I said, while bankers may find the results of the stress tests “reassuring,” the rest of us should be very, very afraid.

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