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Thread: Unemployment Rate Dips to 4.5 Year Low of 4.7 Percent

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    Default Unemployment Rate Dips to 4.5 Year Low of 4.7 Percent


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    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Average hourly earnings rose 0.2 percent to $16.49 in March rather than the 0.3 percent expected by economists. Over the 12 months through March, wages rose 3.4 percent, down from 3.5 percent in the 12 months through February
    I would like them to stop using unemployment paychecks as an indicator of unemployment.

    Seems like everything is still flat. Some jobs lost, some created.

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    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Way Upstairs, Downstairs


    Mark Peterson/Redux


    By WALTER KIRN
    NY TIMES
    Sunday Magazine
    The Way We Live Now
    April 16, 2006

    LINK

    There are studies that prove it, but I don't need to read them. I've seen the prices on the menus. I've also seen the pay stubs of the cooks. I've stood in the mansions, let in by the maids, and listened to the string quartets, whose players I've met in the coat aisle at Goodwill. I know what's going on. As predicted, but much faster than anticipated, the rich in America are getting richer (at rates that favor the very rich and the superrich). And at the same time, as wasn't quite predicted but still seems faster than anticipated, the nonrich are getting almost nowhere.

    What I didn't know was that my knowledge shouldn't bother me.

    Not according to John Snow, still, at this writing, secretary of the U.S. Treasury, who nonchalantly told a journalist recently, "What's been happening in the United States for about 20 years is" a "long-term trend to differentiate compensation." "Long-term," when used this way by this sort of official, tends to mean "fundamentally unstoppable." And, in this case, inexplicable, like a sort of financial global-warming process that may be man-made or (who knows?) a natural cycle that we would welcome if only we knew its function. Snow, a trained economist and former corporate C.E.O., doesn't pretend to be able to explain what's causing this whole compensation differential. Nor does he seem tortured by his ignorance. "We've moved into a star system for some reason," he said, "which is not fully understood."

    As a nonrich noneconomist, I don't know why what's happening is happening either. But I can remember when it wasn't happening, at least not so rapidly and spectacularly. Time: The 1970's. Place: The countryside north of Minneapolis. I'm attending public grade school and junior high, watching what little TV there was to watch then and bumping into rich folks on occasion. At school, in my social-studies classes, I'm learning about a condition known as "poverty," which mainly exists, my textbooks indicate, in two obscure locations: "Appalachia" and "the ghetto." (It's a terrible situation, but it's improving some.) From television, on "Gilligan's Island," I'm learning about tycoons. (They wear blazers and speak in nasal voices.) And from actual rich people, whom I know are rich because I've heard my parents whisper about them, I'm learning that having lots of money means driving renamed Fords and Chevys called Lincolns and Cadillacs. They possess more leg room than Fords and Chevys, but mechanically they're the same, my father says.

    Such innocence. Such miniature wisdom. Poverty: Bad, related to geography and something we're rightly trying to end. Tycoons: A ridiculous species of the rich. The rich: What Lincolns are to Fords. Conclusion: We're all Americans, mechanically.

    But then came the dawning of the long-term star system, a phenomenon so extensive and mysterious (even to educated Treasury secretaries) that I sense it may soon become immune to human cognition in the manner of the vastest things. Gravity. Time. The national debt.

    It doesn't help that the vocabulary of wealth and poverty hasn't been adjusted for inflation since the heyday of dimwitted 1960's TV comedy. We still call the very rich among us millionaires, even though lots of them are closer to billionaires. Words fail reality at the other end too. In 1974, I knew exactly what the grown-ups meant when they called a person "poor." They meant he could barely feed or clothe himself. Today that's still what I think poor means, but to friends of mine in their 20's and early 30's, it seems to mean something more like "short on cash." Their favored terms for passers-by who appear to be living on the edge are "practically homeless," "doomed" and, sometimes, "psycho" — words that refer less to having less than to somehow being less. The condition once described by "poor" — having nothing in a chronic fashion and not because of a temporary money crunch caused by lavish spending; and having nothing for many possible reasons, but not necessarily or chiefly because the person is damned or insane or a social untouchable — has been orphaned by ordinary speech. It's a simple idea without a simple word now.

    Meanwhile, the nonsimple words are taking over. The words with 11 bedrooms and 7 baths that are larger and finer than rich folks needed before the "differentiation" — which isn't merely an economic trend but a style, an aesthetic. "Since the early 1980's on," Secretary Snow said, "we've seen a rise in inequality, but we've also seen parallel to that a continuous rise in living standards." To know what he means, you would have to read the studies, but to know how he feels, you just have to hear his diction.

    To my ear, the man sounds satisfied. And convinced that his listeners should be satisfied too.

    But my ears are small, predifferentiation ears, their canals wide enough for only simple words and simple ideas. "Rich." "Poor." "Unfair." My eyes have a similar limitation. I see a person wearing jeans, and I can't imagine that he's a millionaire. I see a person I'm told is worth a billion and wonder why he's not wearing a tie. I see his Bentley and mistake it for a Lincoln, which is really just a Ford, and then out of that Ford steps a major movie star. I see a Cadillac, and I find out that it belongs to an immigrant gypsy-cab driver who shares it with his two brothers-in-law and parks it in the garage where all of them live.

    The Treasury secretary may have a point, though. It's all mysterious.

    In the limited sense of confusing, it sure is. But on "Gilligan's Island," if the Skipper or the Professor deemed some occurrence "mysterious," what I remember him doing next was to quiver and then run off and warn the others.

    Walter Kirn, a frequent contributor, is the author, most recently, of "Mission to America," a novel.

    Copyright 2006The New York Times Company

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    I read somewhere that economic parity was at it´s closest in the US in 1968. And in fact, as a boy growing up there, I remember that there were ghettos (somewhere out there) but nearly everyone that you knew was living at pretty much the same standard. Even "rich" people like doctors or big business owners lived in homes that were basically like the homes of everyone else.....just bigger. I had an aunt and uncle living on the Mainline outside of Philadelphia, which was about as fancy as it got back then. I don´t remember people flaunting money. Owning a Lincoln... a color television....a pool... was the big deal....can you imagine? "Old money" America was actually rather modest. The new superrich were the "jet set", the "beautiful people" ...but that was something very far away... few of those names were known to most....and in the era of the hippie, showing your wealth was un-cool.

    Ancient history now.

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    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    It is our own progression to the same socioeconomic standard that mankind has had everywhere else in the world since man could stand.

    Money and Power are the controlling factors. Nepotism factors into it a well. But when you realize that the people that make the money also write all the rules (when was the last time you saw a poor congressman?) you realize that no matter how benevolent they all may be, they still have the biological imperative to protect and serve their own interests.

    So, you will always get that disparity to evolve no matter how "equal" everyone is.

    Also, the new thing that they are omitting is that in todays age, travel and communication are unrivaled. The doctor from your home town may have been "rich" by your standards, but you never went into the old-money towns on the east coast (Hell, Upper Saddle River will give you a clue of some of the bigguns!).

    We are more aware now of what EVERY person in the US has. There is also an added impetus involving the fact that even the poor have more now than they ever did. Our standards for monetary scale and rating have changed through the years to become rather exponential rather than linear.

    When a poor family can have 2 cars and 3 TV's (with cable), we lose sight with the absolute markers. (Don't get me wrong, there are those that do not, or can not afford even this, but for the most part we still see a lot of privilege that was not afforded 50 years ago).

    So, how can we change this? I don't see any real way to do so until the people in charge realize that this "long term" trend will go the same way most have in the past. It will either reach a balance point OR it will continue to gain speed, jumping the stable point, and lead to social and political restructuring.

    We have done everything else in the US faster than any other country in terms of politics and development, if we are not careful we will also generate our own "restructuring" (to put it nicely) unless steps are taken to buffer this demographic trend.
    Last edited by Ninjahedge; April 19th, 2006 at 11:11 AM.

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    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ninjahedge
    ... even the poor have more now than they ever did...
    Including DEBT. But not limited to the "poor" --

    Debt has become the stone around everyone's neck and will drag us all down at some point.

    Great article in the latest HARPERS on that subject. Not yet online, but I'll post when it's available.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ninjahedge
    Money and Power are teh controlling factors. Nepotism factors into it a well. But when you realize that the people that make the money also write all teh rules (when was the last time you saw a poor congressman?) you realize that no matter how benevolent they all may be, they still have the biological imperitive to protect and serve their own interests.
    I disagree with only one point here. Any given congressman may be rich, but he has to write laws that will satisfy his voters or he'll be out in the next election. I don't think you will see a congressman that represents a poor district supporting large tax cuts for the top 5% because his voters will turn on him. In other words, he can be rich himself, but he/she is forced to represent the interest of his voters. Also, there are really rich congressmen who don't care about money any more and have only public service in mind - which is a great thing. Schwarzenegger, Bloomberg and Kennedy are good examples. Schwarzenegger and Bloomberg don't even get paid for doing their jobs. Just because the are wealthy, does not mean that they cannot and will defend the interests of those who are in need. Bloomberg made the education reform a centerpiece of his first term. Obviously, his children and grandchildren won't benefit from an improved public school somewhere in the Bronx.

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    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lofter1
    Including DEBT. But not limited to the "poor" --

    Debt has become the stone around everyone's neck and will drag us all down at some point.

    Great article in the latest HARPERS on that subject. Not yet online, but I'll post when it's available.
    I do agree with you on that.

    I see so many people riding with "bling" in the city it is not funny.

    In Hoboken, where you KNOW the kids are coming from the projects (Most of the others have moved out before school age) they are running around with cell phones that cost $100-$200, new designer clothes, and all the latest that I DREAMED of having when I was a kid.

    But thankfully, due to the hard work of my parents (and smart work/spending) we were able to get out of the Blue-Collar demographic and work our way up to "Cheif National Taxpayer" of the upper, but stil not top, middle class.

    It is kind of sad to think that Debt is one of the biggest instruments that institutions like Banks make money off of. Not any service besides lending you money. Making money off of nothing but the movement OF money.

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    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrSpice
    I disagree with only one point here. Any given congressman may be rich, but he has to write laws that will satisfy his voters or he'll be out in the next election. I don't think you will see a congressman that represents a poor district supporting large tax cuts for the top 5% because his voters will turn on him. In other words, he can be rich himself, but he/she is forced to represent the interest of his voters. Also, there are really rich congressmen who don't care about money any more and have only public service in mind - which is a great thing. Schwarzenegger, Bloomberg and Kennedy are good examples. Schwarzenegger and Bloomberg don't even get paid for doing their jobs. Just because the are wealthy, does not mean that they cannot and will defend the interests of those who are in need. Bloomberg made the education reform a centerpiece of his first term. Obviously, his children and grandchildren won't benefit from an improved public school somewhere in the Bronx.
    But you ignore the fact that they advertise themselves as doing somthing magnanimous, but hiding things such as debt refinancing (Arnie) PILOT programs and the like.

    they do not giev a blatant 5% INCOME tax break to the rich, but offer a PILOT program for "Encouragement of Urban Development" to a contractor to build a place in a town where the profits and tenant occupation are not even in question (Hoboken is the worst for this).

    Although Hoboken gets more $$ in the deal (sometimes) the ammount paid by the developer is still less than taxes. So they pay less taxes, but it is never shown as "income".

    But the general voting public does not see this. They see Medicare having a perscription plan that increases the amount given, but does nothing to control the price of pharmeceuticals that that money is being spent on.

    It is like giving someone a 400% raise, but then letting the grocery stores in the area charge $100 for a bananna......

    It is only a matter of time. We can only hope that something like the Dot Com buble makes another showing to try to give some of the rest of us a chance of jumping the widening gap between working class and upper class.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ninjahedge
    But you ignore the fact that they advertise themselves as doing somthing magnanimous, but hiding things such as debt refinancing (Arnie) PILOT programs and the like.

    they do not giev a blatant 5% INCOME tax break to the rich, but offer a PILOT program for "Encouragement of Urban Development" to a contractor to build a place in a town where the profits and tenant occupation are not even in question (Hoboken is the worst for this).

    Although Hoboken gets more $$ in the deal (sometimes) the ammount paid by the developer is still less than taxes. So they pay less taxes, but it is never shown as "income".

    But the general voting public does not see this. They see Medicare having a perscription plan that increases the amount given, but does nothing to control the price of pharmeceuticals that that money is being spent on.

    It is like giving someone a 400% raise, but then letting the grocery stores in the area charge $100 for a bananna......

    It is only a matter of time. We can only hope that something like the Dot Com buble makes another showing to try to give some of the rest of us a chance of jumping the widening gap between working class and upper class.
    That is a very good point. First of all, no system is perfect. You cannot expect all voters to understand all the issues and all the ramifications of any complex financial transaction. Secondly, in many of those deals, developers get rich, but regular people also benefit. Even if the deal means less than taxes for Hoboken in the example you gave, Hobeken still benefits from having more housing and more development. It's the responsibility of the press and active political groups of voters and other organizations to shed light on those kinds of issues. And some of these issues are more complex that it would seem on the surface. For example, controlling the price of pharmeceuticals is not a trivial matter and is not as easy as some critics of the government imply. These medicare prescr. drug saving plans already mean there's an insentive on the part of the insurance companies to offer generic versions of the drugs which can lead to significant savings for the government. People can choose the plans based on cost and co-pay which can also lead to competition and savings. It's not as bad as some people say. It's confusing - that's for sure. I know it first hand because I spent a lot of time helping my father to choose one of those plans...

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    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    The main problem comes when you factor in skim and graft, most of the benefits from some of these developments goes right out the window.

    PILOT being the example. Hoboken has infrastructure problems. Not enough sewerage, water, electrical lines, you name it. It needs tax money to foster this development, but some of the largest developments in the city have not garnered this. They get more money in the short term, which is not being spent on things like infrastructure, and they have a 30 year or more abatement of taxes on the structure.

    You think Wiley needs to have a place w/o taxes?

    I think it helped develop places like Jersey City, but once we start widening the comparison, all direct relations go right out the window.

    Needless to say, Mankind, on average, may be getting better, but the STANDARD DEVIATION of economic strata is becoming larger and is starting to split.

    The challenge comes in finding ways to either slow this so that the small tears have ways of healing themselves, or so that certain stable points are found that allow everyone to catch their breath (Kind of like finding a convergent solution in Matehmatics... The little valley in the graph)....

    Otherwise we will hit a breaking point and suffer any one of a number of fiscal analogies (top falling over, bottom revolting, whatever).

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    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    How the stats have changed since 2006.

    This is...words fail me...


    'Unemployed need not apply': Discrimination dominates job market

    by David A. Love

    They say you need a job to get a job. It is an unfortunate reality for many in this bad economy. And some say it is a form of discrimination that should be stopped.

    The new national unemployment figures are coming out for July, and it is no surprise that the economy is going nowhere fast. America's official jobless rate stands at 9.1 percent. However, when the underemployed and those who stopped looking are factored in the mix, the real unemployment rate these days is well in the double digits, hovering somewhere between 16 percent and upwards of 20 percent.

    Black official unemployment last month came in at a typically high 15.9 percent. The average unemployed worker must wait over nine months to find his or her next paycheck. Plus, to make things worse, most of the jobs lost to the recession were mid-wage, while the new jobs created are low-wage.

    Moreover, with nearly five job seekers chasing every job, it is a seller's market. That means employers can be picky, maybe too picky. And the message to the jobless from many businesses is "unemployed need not apply."

    According to a new report from the National Employment Law Project, hiring bans on the unemployed are commonplace, despite high public disapproval and increased scrutiny regarding the practice. And the report -- called "Hiring Discrimination Against the Unemployed: Federal Bill Outlaws Excluding the Unemployed from Job Opportunities, as Discriminatory Ads Persist" -- points out that many qualified candidates are missing out solely because of their employment status.

    "A snapshot sampling of recent online job postings disclosed a large number of ads explicitly limited to those who are 'currently employed'," said Christine Owens, executive director of NELP.

    "This perverse catch-22 requires a worker to have a job in order to get a job, and it means highly qualified, experienced workers who want and need work can't get past the starting gate in the application process simply because they lost their jobs through no fault of their own. As a business practice, this makes no sense, and as a way to rebuild the economy, it only debilitates workers, particularly the long-term unemployed."

    And a number of the reasons employers use to discriminate fail to pass muster. There is a misconception that if you're unemployed there must be something wrong with you, since employers keep their top performers, and let their subpar workers go. The currently employed are viewed as harder workers, and the jobless are stereotyped as lazy.

    Further, some employers are concerned that the skills of the unemployed atrophy with time and are rendered obsolete, thereby increasing an employer's training costs. This creates a stigma. But in reality, with the massive amounts of people out of work, many qualified individuals are simply out of luck and out of a job through no fault of their own.

    And aside from the fact that a bias toward hiring the employed has existed long before the economic downturn, the practice allows companies who are inundated with resumes to cut through the number of applicants and streamline the hiring process.

    A sampling of discriminatory job postings from 72 businesses in the NELP report tells the story. Typically, the ads use language such as "currently employed," "must be currently employed," "actively employed," "fewer than two terminations in 5 years," "must currently be working,"

    Recently, when Sony Ericsson announced 180 new jobs in Buckhead, Georgia, the company posted an ad for a marketing position on The People Place, a job recruiting website. The ad stressed: "NO UNEMPLOYED CANDIDATES WILL BE CONSIDERED AT ALL." A posting on the website for a Quality Engineer with another electronics company based in Angleton, Texas, emphasized that "Client will not consider/review anyone NOT currently employed regardless of the reason."

    Employment advocates maintain that unemployment discrimination could be illegal if there is a disparate impact on groups such as blacks, Latinos, women and the disabled.

    The protracted level of black unemployment in America is often ignored, and it continues despite the presence of a black man in the White House. African-Americans, who typically suffer from an unemployment rate double their white counterparts, are especially susceptible to cuts in government jobs.

    According to a report from United for a Fair Economy earlier this year, blacks are 30 percent more likely to work in the public sector, and 70 percent more likely to work for the federal government. Nearly 21 percent of black adults hold government jobs, as opposed to 17 percent of whites and 15 percent of Latinos. More black men are employees of public agencies than any other employers. For black women, such agencies are the second largest employer.

    "With 42 percent of blacks and 37 percent of Latinos lacking the funds to meet minimal household expenses for even three months should they become unemployed, cutting public assistance programs will have devastating impacts on Black and Latino workers," said Brian Miller, Executive Director of United for a Fair Economy.

    In addition, as was revealed at a July 26 EEOC public hearing, the disproportionate representation of blacks and Latinos in the criminal justice system translates into more unemployment for minority groups. As of 2008, over 92 million people had a criminal background, including one-third to one-fourth of all adults. And there are 14 million new arrests every year. One in 54 men and 1 in 265 women is imprisoned.

    Although 1 in 106 white men is currently behind bars, 1 in 15 black men and 1 in 36 Latino men is incarcerated. Further, 1 in 9 young African-American men between ages 20-34 is in locked up, and 40 percent of black men are unemployed when prisoners are included.

    The New York Times reported on a 2005 study by two Princeton professors, which revealed that white men with prison records received far more entry-level job offers than black men with identical records. Moreover, these white ex-cons were offered jobs as often or more than black men with a clean record. While over 7 white men with prison records got a callback or job offer for every 10 white men without convictions who received an offer or callback, only 3 black men with prison time got offers or callbacks for every 10 black men with clean record.

    For the most part, despite the chronically high unemployment -- the worst jobs crisis since the Great Depression-- the issue has been conspicuously absent from the public policy debate in Washington.

    Moreover, as jobs took a backseat to the deficit, the recent debt ceiling deal will likely increase unemployment by reducing government jobs, and fail to extend emergency unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed.

    However, the Congressional Progressive Caucus is in the middle of a nationwide "Speak Out for Good Jobs Now" tour to highlight the problem of long-term unemployment in America. New Jersey has passed legislation prohibiting the exclusion of the unemployed in advertisements for job openings, providing for a $1,000 fine for first-time offenders, $5,000 for repeat offenders, and $10,000 for three or more violations. Other states such as New York and Michigan could follow with similar laws.

    Meanwhile, bills have been introduced in Congress to address the issue on a national level. In the House, Rosa DeLauro (D-Connecticut) and Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Georgia) introduced the Fair Employment Opportunity Act of 2011 (H.R. 2501). The purpose of the legislation is to prohibit employment discrimination based on an individual's employment history or status.
    In March, Rep. Johnson drafted another bill, the Fair Employment Act of 2011, H.R. 1113, that would amend the Civil Rights Act to make it illegal for an employer to refuse to hire an individual or to lower compensation for a person based on employment status.

    "Discrimination against the unemployed smacks of days gone by when signs read, 'women need not apply,' 'Irish need not apply' or 'no blacks allowed.' I'm going to do all I can to fight for the unemployed," Johnson said in a statement.

    In the Senate, a companion bill, also the Fair Employment Opportunity Act of 2011 (S. 1471) -- sponsored by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) -- would prohibit employers and employment agencies from excluding or screening out applicants solely because they are unemployed.

    High unemployment imposes high social and economic costs for this nation, destroying individuals and weakening families and communities. Those of us who have experienced joblessness--whether for a number of months or a year or more -- can attest to the isolation and erosion of self-esteem that it brings.

    Sadly, as over 14 million Americans are kept out of the job market through discriminatory hiring practices, they find themselves trapped in a cruel catch-22. Unemployed, they are told they need a job to get a job. Their suffering is magnified.

    http://www.thegrio.com/money/unemplo...ork.php?page=1

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    Between offshoring and automation, how many workers do the really need?

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    ^ Why BBMW, I did not know you were a Marxist!

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    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Groucho, Chico or Harpo?

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