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19 Jan 2012 13:56


Biz: More on Eastman Kodak’s filing for bankruptcy protection

  • 131 years in the making: As we mentioned a couple weeks ago, the former film titan, whose  business put cameras in the hands of millions of people, now enters a new phase in its long history, bankruptcy proceedings. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called it “difficult and disappointing news,” which is understandable; their company was headquartered in Rochester, NY. Since 2003, Kodak has laid off about 47,000 employees, and now in bankruptcy protection their already weak stock price has plummeted to 34 cents per share. If you want to get really depressed about this story, read Alexis Madrigal’s great piece on the company’s historysource

20 Dec 2011 22:16


U.S.: Unemployment fell in majority of states last month

  • 43 states have seen a decrease in unemployment since October source
  • » As goes the country, so go the states: Or maybe it’s the other way around? Well, either way, figures released today by the Department of Labor show that unemployment, in addition to falling to its lowest level in two and a half years at the national level, also decreased on a state-by-state basis in all but seven states. This is promising, as it suggests that the uptick in employment is a nationwide trend, and not the result of, say, five or ten states doing abnormally well for one reason or another. Note: The usual disclaimers about the problems with how unemployment is calculated apply.

15 Dec 2011 11:16


Biz: Christmas miracle? New unemployment claims hit 3.5-year low

  • 366,000 the number of people who filed for unemployment benefits last week — a number that’s been on the decline for months
  • 365,000 the number of people who filed during a week in May 2008, the last time that the jobless benefits numbers were quite this low source
  • » However: Don’t get too excited, guys. While the heavily-fluctuating number is certainly better than it’s been in a long time (and the unemployment number is at its lowest level in a long time), the comeback is far from here. Example: During the financial crisis, the U.S. lost roughly 8.8 million jobs; less than a third of those jobs have returned. On top of this, many are still unemployed, and their benefits could run out soon if Congress does not act on the extension for unemployment benefits. Yeah, sorry we have to be such downers, but let’s look in perspective here.

02 Dec 2011 12:39


Biz: Rosy, but not too rosy: Today’s jobs numbers show modest upswing

  • 8.6% jobless rate in November, the lowest since early ’09
  • positive The economy added many more private-sector jobs in November than in prior months — 120,000 new non-farm payrolls, to be exact. A sign of recovery?
  • positive On top of this, the revised jobs numbers from September and October show that things were rosier than first estimated, meaning it’s a more substantial upswing.
  • negative However, the drop in unemployment partly came from an overall shrinking of the labor force. In other words, fewer people are seeking jobs. Bummer. source
  • » Political ramifications: The jobs numbers aren’t at a point where people have reason to be dancing in the streets, but cautious optimism is the name of the game. The GOP’s election platform could waver if the numbers get any better. Hence this response from House speaker John Boehner: “Any job creation is welcome news, but the jobless rate in this country is still unacceptable.” What do you all think?

06 Oct 2011 16:50


Politics: Obama pressures Congress to take more action

  • If Congress does something, then I can’t run against a do-nothing Congress. [If they do nothing] then I think the American people will run them out of town.
  • President Barack Obama • Answering a reporter’s question whether he was pursuing a similar reelection strategy to that of Harry Truman’s 1948 campaign against a “do-nothing Congress.” Obama has used a tougher, more confrontational rhetorical style against Congress lately, and while this does have much to do with his push on his proposed jobs bill, you needn’t be a cynic to see this as a desirable campaign strategy. source

29 Sep 2011 10:32


Biz: Jobless claims fall to super-low level … but there’s a catch

  • good news Weekly jobless claims reached their lowest level in nearly six months, which seems like it’s a cause to celebrate, especially since it greatly beat analysts’ estimates. On the surface, it seems like a cause for dancing in the streets, folks.
  • catch However … the Labor Department claims that report is off because of some sort of weird anomaly regarding the calendar, making it harder to seasonally-adjust the numbers. So, things are still crappy for the workforce. source

03 Sep 2011 12:49


Politics: Obama presses Congress to pass job-saving transportation bill

  • Right away, over 4,000 workers would be furloughed without pay. If it’s delayed for just 10 days, we will lose nearly $1 billion in highway funding that we can never get back. And if we wait even longer, almost 1 million workers could be in danger of losing their jobs over the next year.
  • President Barack Obama • Speaking in his weekly radio address about the importance of passing the Surface Transportation Bill — a bill that funds the construction of highways, bridges and so on — before the end of the month. If not, he claims it could cost thousands of jobs, if not more. The AFL-CIO and Chamber of Commerce —a.k.a. unions and big businesses — both support the bill. But Republicans, of course, take issue with the way Obama is framing the debate. Sigh. JUST WORK, GOVERNMENT! source

03 Sep 2011 12:30


Biz, Politics: Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz planning political town hall next week

This is the CEO’s follow-up to his call for more corporate responsibility, and it’s sponsored by No Labels. All we know is that there had better be free coffee. source

02 Sep 2011 12:19


Biz, U.S.: August’s depressingly bad job numbers will depress you greatly

  • 17k number of jobs gained in the private sector in August — down significantly from July
  • 17k number of jobs lost in the public sector in August — see where this is going, guys?
  • 0k number of jobs created as a whole in August; unemployment stayed at 9.1 percent source
  • » Another month of 9-plus-percent unemployment: Of the past 28 months, 26 of them have sported unemployment above 9 percent. And here’s a number that will depress the crap out of you — 14 million people are currently unemployed, which makes job gains of 100,000 seem like not enough, let alone completely flat months like August.

29 Aug 2011 17:42


Politics: House Republicans plot major deregulatory push

  • Deregulation = jobs: A memo obtained by ShortFormBlog contains details of an upcoming Republican effort to push massive deregulatory legislation through the House of Representatives, in hopes of unshackling “costly bureaucratic handcuffs” faced by businesses. The letter, sent today by Eric Cantor to the House Republican caucus, details the “Top 10 Job-Destroying Regulations,” and how Republicans plan to address them. “By pursuing a steady repeal of job-destroying regulations,” Cantor wrote, “we can help lift the cloud of uncertainty hanging over small and large employers alike, empowering them to hire more workers.” Some key proposals:
  • Weakened emission limits  The TRAIN (Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation) Act, along with the EPA Regulatory Relief Act, would delay implementation of EPA standards intended to limit air pollution.
  • Limiting union power The Protecting Jobs From Government Interference Act would limit the National Labor Relations Board’s power, rescinding its ability to influence relocation of manufacturing plants.
  • Farm dust for all The Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act would, as expected, restrict the federal government’s ability to regulate farm dust, allowing it to do so only within state and local regulations. source
  • » In keeping with Republican orthodoxy, Cantor also proposes to two tax cuts (one for government contractors, another for small businesses), and the repeal of unspecified provisions of the Affordable Care Act. What do you all think of Cantor’s plan? Read the whole thing at the link. (AP Photo)