Somewhat better.

Jobless claims fell by 9,000 to 282,000 in the seven days ended March 21, the lowest level since mid-February, a Labor Department report showed Thursday in Washington.

(snip)

The four-week moving average, a less volatile measure than the weekly numbers, declined to 297,000 last week, from 304,750. . . .

The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits dropped by 6,000 to 2.42 million in the week ended March 14. The unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits held at 1.8 percent, where it’s been all year. These data are reported with a one-week lag.

The Republican Party has not yet revealed its plans for reversing this trend. Oh, I forgot.

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24 March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

One thing about growing up in the Jim Crow South was this: Racists, along with their sympathizers and apologists, did not have to twist themselves into pretzels to pretend that they weren’t being racist. They just admitted it.

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23 March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

“Right to work” laws are not about the right to work. They are about the right to underpay for work. They are a fraud and a scam, dressed up in a three-piece suit.

If the Republican Party could have its way, it would bring back the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, because only regulations can prevent more Triangle Shirtwaist Factories from happening and, in Republican World, regulations are scarey and bad and impinge on the fee hand of the market.

After all, those Triangle Shirtwaist Factory ladies had the right to work. They were at work when they died, weren’t they?*

Martin Luther King, Jr. accurately captured the impact of right-to-work laws in undermining economic justice and genuine democracy back in 1961: “Wherever these laws have been passed, wages are lower, job opportunities are fewer, and there are no civil rights.”

While “right-to-work” advocates among business elites claim to be generously protecting the individual freedom of workers to avoid paying union dues, this display of concern is simply “a fraud,” King declared. “Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining by which unions have improved wages and working conditions of everyone.”

Recent data bear out King’s conclusions. The Congressional Research Service concluded in a December, 2012, report that states like Wisconsin, which permitting (sic) “fair-share” or “union-security” provisions showed sharply higher median wages: $50,867 compared with $43,641 in right-to-work states, a 16.5% differential amounting to $7,226 per year. Workers in “right-to-work” states are much less likely to have healthcare and pension benefits as well.

Follow the link. Read the rest.

_______________

*Yeah. I’m in a mood. But it’s a legitimate mood.

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19 March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Kimberly Garrison of The Philadelphia Daily News looks into the agricultural industry and is distressed by what she sees.

The new exploited group are the Mexican migrant workers who are paid, if we want to call it pay, a measly $40 per day for a sunup to sundown job. As difficult and physically demanding as I know this work is, they should probably be earning more like $40 an hour. Though, that’s not likely to ever happen.

But, at the bare minimum, shouldn’t the people who harvest our food earn enough to be able to afford to buy it? Whatever happened to fair pay for honest work?

I bet most Americans couldn’t last an hour, let alone an entire day, picking. I’m not even going to front like I could do it; I could barely survive the hayride and the fun farm day picking apples at the orchard. Yeah, right, live healthy and happily on a measly $10,000 a year. Honey, please.

When I was in college, I worked for three summers with a project providing basic health care to migrant workers, many of whom had been kidnapped or entrapped into joining a migrant crew. In their world, the company store was still a very real thing, used to keep them in servitude and penury.

It looks as if not much has changed.

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19 March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

About the same.

Jobless claims rose by 1,000 to 291,000 in the seven days ended March 14, from a revised 290,000 in the prior period, a Labor Department report showed Thursday in Washington.

(snip)

The four-week moving average, a less volatile measure than the weekly numbers, increased to 304,750 last week, from 302,500. . . .

The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits declined by 11,000 to 2.42 million in the week ended March 7. The unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits held at 1.8 percent, where it’s been since early January.

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19 March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

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12 March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Better.

Initial jobless claims dropped 36,000 to a three-week low of 289,000 in the period ended March 7 from a revised 325,000 in the prior week, a Labor Department report showed Thursday in Washington. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for 305,000 new applications.

(snip)

The four-week average of claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, fell to 302,250 from 306,000 the week before,

The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits declined by 5,000 to 2.42 million in the week ended Feb. 28, while the unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits held at 1.8 percent. These figures are reported with a one-week lag.

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10 March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Cartoon:

Via Job’s Anger.

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05 March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Snowed out right out of work.

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose last week to the highest level in more than nine months, a sign harsh winter weather may be stalling the job market’s progress.

Jobless claims increased by 7,000 to 320,000 in the week ended Feb. 28, the most since May, from 313,000 in the prior period, a Labor Department report showed Thursday in Washington.

(snip)

The four-week average of claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, climbed to 304,750 from 294,500 the week before.

The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits increased by 17,000 to 2.42 million in the week ended Feb. 21.

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01 March 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy, Republican Hypocrisy

Alfred Doblin doesn’t think Chris Christie is serious about his attempts to “reform” (Christie’s term, not mine–ed.) New Jersey’s pension laws.

You have to hand it to Christie for making the most of his brand. He made bad manners a sign of leadership. He strolled the boardwalk with an ice cream cone to the enjoyment of YouTube addicts keen for an everyman. He told critics to shut up and sit down. But when the smartphone cameras weren’t on, he hopped on private planes to live like the king of Jordan.

But the facade is cracking, and that explains the pension war. The governor may say he intends to win this battle, but his actions say otherwise. He doesn’t need to win it, only to declare it to grab the attention of conservatives.

The overarching problem in pension-world is not retirees who expect to receive the pensions that they were promised. It’s companies and governments who promised the pensions, then failed to provide for them.

Employees kept their promises to come to work and do their jobs. Employers broke their promises and now would penalize employees for daring to expect a solvent retirement, while the companies and governments face no penalties for their pension lies.

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27 February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

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26 February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Back over 300k.

Jobless claims increased by 31,000 to 313,000 in the week ended Feb. 21 from a revised 282,000 in the prior period, a Labor Department report showed Thursday in Washington.

(snip)

The four-week average of claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, gained to 294,500 from a revised 283,000 the week before.

In the one constant in a changing world, Bloomberg’s experts again missed the mark.

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Dick Bauman wants to know.

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22 February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

The idea that casino gambling could replace honest taxation to support state and local governments has always been a mug’s game. The state mark might win in the short-term, but, in the long-run, the mark always looses.

In the last several states to open casinos — Ohio, Maryland and Pennsylvania — overall revenue is coming in below baseline forecasts, according to a review of state tax data. Officials blame miscalculations of spending habits and competition, but some also question how much the projected numbers reflected wishful thinking.

The casino industry has grown exponentially over the last decade as revenue-hungry states have moved to claim business that once went across state lines to Atlantic City, New Jersey, or the tribal-owned megaresorts in Connecticut. After Nevada, Pennsylvania has emerged as the country’s No. 2 gambling marketing, overtaking Atlantic City, where four of 12 casinos closed last year.

As long as politicians are too chicken to fund public needs through honest taxation, they will remain marks for the privatization scam of the day.

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15 February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Culture Warriors, Political Economy

Reactions to Fifty Shades of Grey:  Roy Moore:

More »

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09 February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Robert Reich asks,

How would you like to live in an economy where robots do everything that can be predictably programmed in advance, and almost all profits go to the robots’ owners?

Meanwhile, human beings do the work that’s unpredictable — odd jobs, on-call projects, fetching and fixing, driving and delivering, tiny tasks needed at any and all hours — and patch together barely enough to live on.

Follow the link for his answer.

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05 February 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

A little higher, but still under 300k.

Applications for unemployment benefits increased by 11,000 to 278,000 in the week ended Jan. 31, from a revised 267,000 in the prior period, a Labor Department report showed Thursday in Washington.

(snip)

The four-week moving average, a less volatile measure than the weekly figures, declined to 292,750 last week, the lowest in more than a month, from 299,250.

The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits climbed by 6,000 to 2.4 million in the week ended Jan. 24. The unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits held at 1.8 percent. These data are reported with a one-week lag.

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31 January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Republican screaming

Via Job’s Anger.

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29 January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Encouraging.

Jobless claims plunged by 43,000 to 265,000 in the week ended Jan. 24, the lowest since April 2000, a Labor Department report showed Thursday in Washington.

(snip)

The four-week average of claims, a less-volatile measure than the weekly figure, dropped to 298,500 from 306,750 in the prior week.

The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits declined by 71,000 to 2.39 million in the week ended Jan. 17. The unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits held at 1.8 percent during that period, today’s report showed. These data are reported with a one-week lag.

In related news, Bloomberg’s experts were wronger than usual. Bloomberg really needs to trade them in for new experts.

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22 January 2015 · Comments Off · Categories: Political Economy

Down a bit.

Jobless claims decreased by 10,000 to 307,000 in the week ended Jan. 17, from a revised 317,000 in the prior period, a Labor Department report showed on Thursday in Washington.

(snip)

The four-week moving average, a less volatile measure than the weekly figures, climbed to 306,500 last week, the highest since mid July, from 300,000.

The number of people continuing to receive jobless benefits increased by 15,000 to 2.44 million in the week ended Jan. 10. The unemployment rate among people eligible for benefits held at 1.8 percent. These data are reported with a one-week lag.

The number of filings was higher than Bloomberg’s “experts” predicted. Bloomberg implies that this is somehow a commentary on the unemployment figures, when it is actually a commentary on their “experts.”

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