Monthly Archives: March 2011

Investors Business Daily Poll Believes 30 Million People are Looking for Work

A poll by IBD /TIPP find that shocking 30 million Americans are looking for work: From Investors Business Daily:

Since November 2010, the unemployment rate has tumbled from 9.8% to 8.9% in February. That seems to signal a return to healthy job growth. But is it real?

While unemployment has fallen nearly a full percentage point, just 407,000 payroll jobs have been created — a mere 0.3% rise.

How can that be? Maybe it’s because the real jobless rate — which includes those unemployed Americans so discouraged they’ve stopped looking — is higher than 8.9%. Much higher.

“Though the official unemployment rate is improving, according to our poll, we still have at least 20% of able Americans looking for full-time employment,” said Raghavan Mayur, president of TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence, IBD’s polling partner. “Jobs will be the No. 1 issue in the next presidential election.”

Americans assume the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ unemployment rate is an indicator of the job market’s health. But as with other government data, it’s notable as much for what it doesn’t reveal as for what it does.

At one time, the jobless rate included all people without jobs.

But during the first Clinton administration, the BLS changed its definition to exclude long-term discouraged workers. As a result, the unemployment rate has looked far lower than it really is.

The labor-force participation rate, now 62.2%, is at a 27-year low. If you’re not in the work force, you can’t be “unemployed.”

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Housing Pricing Start their Downward Slide Again

Well here we go again  Housing prices are falling again which so the economy is struggling to grow. From AP via Yahoo Finance News:

Damage from the housing bust is spreading to areas once thought to be immune.

In at least 14 major U.S. metro areas, prices have fallen to 2003 levels — when the housing bubble was just starting to inflate. Prices will likely drop further this year, making many people reluctant to buy or sell. That would push down sales and prices more.

The depressed housing industry is slowing an economy that has shown strength elsewhere. And it’s starting to hurt those who bought years before the housing boom began. In some cities, people who have paid their mortgages for a decade have little or no home equity.

Prices have tumbled in familiar troubled spots, such as Las Vegas, Cleveland and Detroit. But they’re also at or near 10-year lows in Denver, Atlanta, Chicago and Minneapolis — cities that weren’t as swept up in the housing boom and bust.

“It’s been tough on the lower class but it’s filtering up,” said Paul Dales, senior U.S. economist with Capital Economics. “It may be only a matter of time before it hits the wealthy.”

And the only bring spot is Washington,D.C.:

Just about the only major market weathering the second wave of the housing downturn is Washington. Home prices there have risen 11 percent in the past two years.

It figures that DC housing bright spot thanks to government spending  and hiring but for the rest of the country nah.

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Wisconsin Governor Does End Run Publishes Collective Barganing Law Takes Affect

Wisconsin Governor  Scott Walker(R) has order the publishing of the new collective bargaining law on Friday so the law would take effect; despite an injunction by a Dane County Judge. From ABC News:

Wisconsin officials couldn’t agree Friday about whether an explosive law taking away nearly all public worker collective bargaining rights was about to take effect after a nonpartisan legislative bureau published it despite a court order blocking implementation.

The head of the Legislative Reference Bureau that made the move Friday afternoon, as well as a nonpartisan attorney for the Legislature, said the action was merely procedural. But Republican legislative leaders, who encouraged the bureau’s action, insisted it meant the law would take effect Saturday.

Gov. Scott Walker’s office, meanwhile, would issue only a vague statement saying simply that the administration planned to carry out the law as required.

Omaha Mayor Wants Federal Toliet Paper Tax

Are you ready for this A federal toilet paper tax. That’s what the Mayor of Omaha,NE wants. From the Omaha World-Herald:

Mayor Jim Suttle went to Washington Tuesday flush with ideas for how federal officials could help cities like Omaha pay for multibillion-dollar sewer projects.

Among the items on his brainstorming list: a proposal for a 10-cent federal tax on every roll of toilet paper you buy.

Based on the four-pack price for Charmin double rolls Tuesday at a midtown Hy-Vee, such a tax would add more than 10 percent to the per-roll price, pushing it over a buck.

The idea came from a failed 2009 House measure by an Oregon congressman to help cities and the environment.

“I heard about it and said, ‘Well, this is simple. Let’s put it on the table,’” said Suttle. “It doesn’t mean I endorse it.”

The mayor says Omaha needs help with the metro area’s $1.7 billion bill for federally mandated sewer improvements. The work must be done by 2024.

President Obama Defends Libya Policy

On Monday Night President Barack Obama  said the humanitarian crisis provoke the US and NATO involvement in Libya. From AP via Yahoo News:

Defending the first war launched on his watch, President Barack Obama declared Monday night the United States intervened in Libya to prevent a slaughter of civilians that would have stained the world’s conscience and “been a betrayal of who we are.” Yet he ruled out targeting Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, warning that trying to oust him militarily would be a costly mistake.

Obama announced that NATO would take command over the entire Libya operation on Wednesday, keeping his pledge to get the U.S. out of the lead but offering no estimate on when the conflict might end.

AT&T Buys T-Mobile , AT&T to Become Largest Cellphone Provider

A surprise announcement by AT&T rocked the telecommunications industry. On Sunday the bought T-Mobil from Deutsche Telekom for $39 billion .This will catapult AT&T to the largest cellular phone company. From Wall Street Journal:

The former Baby Bell, which built itself up through a decade of acquisitions into the country’s largest telecommunications company, was planning to buy T-Mobile USA, a deal that would test its skilled regulatory team in Washington.

The combination would bring together the second and fourth largest U.S. wireless operators by revenue, creating a giant in an already concentrated market. People familiar with the matter said AT&T executives, fearing a leak could build regulatory opposition even before the two sides agreed on a deal, kept the number of banks involved strictly limited for weeks. It leaned on J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. alone to provide a $20 billion loan.

In the end, the secret held, ushering in a $39 billion acquisition that is as much a wager on the political environment in Washington as it is a bet on the future of the wireless market.

Gaddafi Lives and Defiant as Ever

On Tuesday Muammar Gaddafi President of Libya reappear after his compound was bombed on Sunday by British Forces jets. From The Independent:

Just as the world had started to wonder why the Libyan leader had not been seen in a week, Muammar Gaddafi appeared on the balcony of his encampment near Tripoli and made a defiant speech to his supporters, saying that Western intervention in his country was “unjust” and would be defeated in the end.

Appearing on Libyan state television and displaying the same fiery temperament that has become a signature trademark of his recent addresses, the Libyan leader denounced the coalition’s bombing attacks, saying that the country would “never surrender” and that they would be beaten whether in the “long or short term”.

The three-minute broadcast – brief by Colonel Gaddafi’s usual standards – beamed onto Libyan television screens and filtered out across the world as a fourth night of anti-aircraft fire lit up the night skies in Tripoli.

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