July 29, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - When historians look back on 2014, they will note not just how flagrantly Vladimir Putin disregarded international law or how stubbornly Gaza and Israel kept firing missiles at each other. They also will be puzzled at how poorly the United States handled its economy. They undoubtedly will conclude that 2014 was a year of missed opportunities. The world's record in dealing with bullies and tyrants has not been good; it remains to be seen if economic sanctions work with the lawless Putin, whose takeover of Crimea has led to a series of disasters for scores of innocent people.
October 2, 2013 |
YOUR SOCIAL Security check will still be in the mailbox this afternoon - but just don't try to log into the Library of Congress website, or go for a hike in a national park. The long-predicted shutdown of the federal government came at midnight as Washington's never-ending spat over the Affordable Care Act - a/k/a ObamaCare - prevented Congress from passing a budget bill that both houses could agree on and that President Obama would sign. The result is a bizarre mix of what's open, and what's not, of which government employees get paid, and which don't.
June 18, 2013 |
New Jersey public employees are bracing for what their union leaders say is the latest anti-worker onslaught by the Christie administration. The New Jersey Civil Service Commission, all of whose members are Gov. Christie's appointees, has proposed sweeping changes it says would streamline the promotion process, making it easier to advance top-notch people. That's not how the unions see it. They say the changes would invite cronyism and political favoritism, discouraging state, county, and municipal workers who don't want to play politics.
April 25, 2013 |
TACARIGUA, Venezuela - The razor-close vote to replace late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has sparked what opposition leaders and human-rights groups say is a government crackdown on public employees who either didn't back Chavez's handpicked successor or failed to show sufficient support for the ruling party. The April 14 election had revealed a major shift in public support away from the Chavez program as problems such as food shortages, soaring inflation and crime, as well as the absence of the late leader's famous charm, led hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans to back the opposition for the first time since Chavez took power 14 years ago. It was an ominous start for successor Nicolas Maduro's government, which is struggling to write the second chapter of the country's socialist transformation amid deepening economic problems and widening divisions in a bureaucracy and public that once solidly backed Chavez.
March 11, 2013 |
Wall Street liked what it heard from Washington, as the stock market responded positively to an upbeat jobs report Friday from the U.S. Labor Department. February's unemployment rate edged down to 7.7 percent from 7.9 percent, while payroll jobs grew by 236,000, with broad hiring in nearly every sector. The report sent the Dow Jones industrial average up 67 points, and the S&P gained nearly seven points. "The number was up more than expected," said PNC Financial Services chief economist Kurt Rankin.
March 9, 2013 |
The nation's payrolls added 236,000 jobs in February, and the unemployment rate dropped to 7.7 percent, down from 7.9 percent, the U.S. Labor Department reported Friday morning. Stocks rose as the news was released. Except for 10,000 government jobs lost, there was hiring in nearly every broad industry sector, including manufacturing, construction, retail, business and professional services and health. Education, typically a job generator, saw a decline, both in the private and public sectors.
January 24, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Union membership plummeted last year to the lowest level since the 1930s as cash-strapped state and local governments shed workers and unions had difficulty organizing new members in the private sector despite signs of an improving economy. Government figures released Wednesday showed union membership declined from 11.8 percent to 11.3 percent of the workforce, another blow to a labor movement already stretched thin by battles in Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, and other states to curb bargaining rights and weaken union clout.
December 26, 2012
IN HIS STORY ON unemployment in Pennsylvania ( Daily News , Dec. 21), Will Bunch reveals a fundamental lack of understanding when it comes to free-market economies. Recovering from a recession is best accomplished by growing private-sector employment - something the Corbett administration has done to the tune of 109,000 new jobs. These are the jobs that spur economic recovery, support other sectors through spending and investment and provide revenue for government services. Government jobs, on the other hand, consume public dollars, and the taxes public employees pay return only a fraction of money to the same treasury from which their salaries came.
December 9, 2012 |
The bell kept ringing at the Be a Hero, Hire a Hero job fair for veterans at the National Constitution Center on Friday - each ring signaling a tentative job offer or a second interview. Maybe it's a reflection of Friday's news from the U.S. Labor Department that the nation's payrolls expanded by 146,000 jobs in November or that the unemployment rate dropped to an unanticipated low of 7.7 percent - a five-year low. Or maybe it's just another confusing signal in a confusing job market.