Tag Archives: Labor Statistics

Restaurants Stocks Are Vulnerable As Consumers Remain Cash Strapped

By Christopher Versace, Contributor

One of the sectors that I have been cool if not cautious on over the last few months has been the restaurant industry. That view stems quite simply form the fact that the consumer, while no longer hurting per se, continues to see his or her income pressured. Perhaps one of the more illuminating statics I have come across in recent weeks was the following from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics – the median weekly earnings of the nation’s 104.2 million full-time wage and salary workers were $776 in the second quarter of 2013. While that figure climbed 0.6% year over year, it grew far less than the 1.4% gain in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers over the same period. In simple terms, we are making more but can afford less. …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Forbes Latest

Ex-DC Labor Statistics head: Jobs numbers don't provide accurate reading on economy

Think the economy is bouncing back quickly? Think again, says the former top number cruncher in charge of the Washington Bureau of Labor Statistics. Keith Hall tells the New York Post Thursday that the BLS, White House and media are wasting time focusing on an edited set of data and using it to paint an incorrect picture of the American jobs market on the mend. The current U.S. unemployment level is reported to be around 7.6 percent.

…read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox News – Politics

Surging Gasoline Prices Push CPI Inflation Higher, But Weak Core Fuels Taper Uncertainty

By Agustino Fontevecchia, Forbes Staff

With the market’s attention focused on Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and the possible tapering of quantitative easing this year, Tuesday’s inflation numbers must have been slightly disconcerting for investors.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced the consumer price index (CPI) jumped 0.5% in June, accelerating since May and breaking a dangerous deflationary trend that had been building up.  Most of the increase, though, came from a surge in gasoline prices, which directly affects consumers across the nation.  The more closely watched core CPI reading, which excludes food and energy, gained a more tepid 0.2%. …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Forbes Latest

The 5 Worst Jobs in America

By Alex Planes, The Motley Fool

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Few decisions will have as lasting an impact on your life as your choice of profession. You can pour your life into a career, only to see it taken away as technology and business attitudes render your specialty obsolete. On the other hand, if you discover that you happen to be great at a job that looks to be in high demand for decades to come, you can practically write your own meal ticket.

CareerCast.com, a targeted career site, recently put together its list of the best and worst jobs in America, which it ranks using a proprietary formula based on the general categories inherent to every job: environment, income, outlook, and stress level. The worst jobs in America combine an unpleasant physical and mental environment with high stress, low (or negative) growth, and weak earning potential to create a job that leaves you overworked, underpaid, and just plain burned out. The five jobs you’re about to see offer the worst overall combinations of these four general factors, which makes them the worst jobs in America (ranked from fifth-worst to the very worst), according to CareerCast.

5: Oil rig worker

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook.

  • Median pay: $37,640 per year 
  • Entry-level education: Less than high school
  • Number of jobs: 134,800
  • Expected new jobs by 2020: 11,200 (8% growth)

Forget about what you hear of the Bakken boom or the huge paydays offered to men (nearly all of the oil industry’s front-line work is done by men) willing to leave family and friends behind to work on the oily frontier. This is hard, tiring, dangerous work. Despite the perception of high pay, many rig employees don’t actually make all that much. The risk of death, though remote, is very real — just think back to the 11 dead men who went down with the Deepwater Horizon. While the payoff can be great in the near term, there isn’t often a lot of long-term job security working on rigs. If you don’t get burned out from the grinding schedule and the job’s physicality, you might find yourself unemployed when the well’s production drops to a trickle.

4: Actor 

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook.

  • Median pay: $17.44 per hour (regular schedules are nearly impossible to find)
  • Entry-level education: Some college, no degree
  • Number of jobs: 66,500
  • Expected new jobs by 2020: 2,600 (4% growth)

If you can make it to the top of the acting profession, you can command fantastic paydays and gain worldwide renown. However, very few actors will ever make it that far, and competition is absolutely brutal in this entertainment profession that has long drawn starry-eyed dreamers from around the world. The Bureau of Labor Statistics may not count the number of people who work as actors on a part-time basis, as the Screen Actors Guild has more than 160,000 members. A number of actors wind up working other low-paying, stressful jobs to supplement their income. The intense competition, low pay, and

Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

6 Legal Requirements For Unpaid Internship Programs

By Young Entrepreneur Council, Contributor

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate is especially high among college students and recent graduates. For those unable to find paid work, an unpaid internship might seem like a useful method of gaining valuable experience, recommendations and even future job placement. Likewise, for cash-strapped startups, the idea of getting labor without having to trade  liquidity or valuable equity can be too appealing to ignore.

From: http://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2013/04/19/6-legal-requirements-for-unpaid-internship-programs/

Admit It: No One Has Any Idea What's Going On

By Morgan Housel, The Motley Fool

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They call economics “the dismal science.” We got a good example why this week.

Three years ago, Harvard economists Ken Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart published a paper based on solid history and rigorous statistics showing that when a country’s debt-to-GDP ratio breaches 90%, its growth plunges into negative territory. As highly respected economists, the paper influenced policymakers around the world.

“[I]t is widely acknowledged, based on serious research, that when public debt levels rise about 90% they tend to have a negative economic dynamism, which translates into low growth for many years,” said EU Commissioner Olli Rehn in 2010.

“Economists who have studied sovereign debt tell us that letting total debt rise above 90 percent of GDP creates a drag on economic growth and intensifies the risk of a debt-fueled economic crisis,” said Congressman Paul Ryan in 2011.

“It’s an excellent study,” said former Treasury secretary Tim Geithner two years ago.

But it wasn’t an excellent study. A separate group of economists tried replicating Rogoff and Reinhart’s results, and couldn’t. Stumped, they asked for the actual spreadsheet used in the seminal study, and found it littered with data omissions and Excel coding errors. Rogoff and Reinhart showed economies with debt-to-GDP above 90% experience average GDP growth of negative 0.2%. Fix the math errors, and the real figure is positive 2.2%. Oops.

Economists and pundits have been floored at the discovery all week. As they should; it was a flagrant error.

But these kind of “now-you-know-it-now-you-don’t” moments are more common than people think in economics.

Take the monthly jobs report. Almost every initial report is revised in subsequent months, often by a lot.

In September 2011, the initial report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed zero jobs were created that August. “Zero Job Growth Latest Bleak Sign for U.S. Economy” wrote The New York Times. “Hiring Grinds to a Halt” wrote CNNMoney. “President Zero.” Wrote the Republican National Committee. “THE ECONOMY ADDED ZERO, ZIP, NADA JOBS IN AUGUST.”

Except that, yes it did. Revisions later showed the economy added 132,000 jobs in August 2011, not zero. It was actually the third-best August jobs report in the previous decade. Few seemed to care about the revisions, or even notice. By then, the damage had been done.

Or take productivity. For most of the last decade, it was assumed that the American manufacturing sector became more productive, as employment shrank by output grew. “The decline in U.S. manufacturing employment is explained by rapid growth in manufacturing productivity over the past 50 years,” said Columbia Business School dean Glenn Hubbard.

But maybe not. As The Washington Post pointed out, many economists now think the productivity numbers are grossly inflated, since determining whether, say, a car assembled in Ohio with Japanese parts should be counted as domestic or foreign manufacturing is a messy subject. Cost savings from outsourcing can mistakenly show up as domestic output. Adjust for that bias, and as much as half of manufacturing output growth between 1997 and 2007 melts

From: http://www.dailyfinance.com/2013/04/18/admit-it-no-one-has-any-idea-whats-going-on/

What Is Inflation?

By Selena Maranjian

Filed under: ,


April is Financial Literacy Month, and our goal is to help you raise your money IQ. In this series, we’ll tackle key economic concepts — ones that affect your everyday finances and investments — to help you make smarter choices with every dollar decision you face.

Today’s term: inflation.

You probably think you’ve got the term down pat: Inflation means prices rising over time. Well, yes, that’s pretty much right. But there’s much more to inflation, and it’s much more relevant to your life than you might think. Inflation can go in the opposite direction, for example, and it can spiral out of control.

First, a quick review.

Inflation is about purchasing power. It’s a way to measure the changing purchasing power of our currency by tracking changes in the prices of things we buy. The national banks of various countries try to keep inflation under control through their actions and policies (such as via the interest rates they set); many aim for an annual inflation rate of about 2 percent to 3 percent.

If inflation is at our long-term national average rate of about 3 percent, you can expect that something that costs you $100 today will cost you $103 next year, and $116 in five years. Plenty of online inflation calculators can give you a peek into the past, too. For example, per the U.S. Department of Labor’s calculator, it would cost you $62 in 1993 dollars to buy what costs you $100 today.

It’s not as simple as it seems

While the concept of inflation seems simple, as in the examples above, it’s actually a bit more complicated. For one thing, prices of various goods and services tend to grow — and sometimes shrink — at significantly different rates.

Think of college tuition, room and board, for example. Between the 2000-2001 and 2010-2011 school years, that cost has grown by an annual average of 5.5 percent overall, at both private and public schools combined. Meanwhile, the average selling price of a new vehicle rose just 1.7 percent, on average, annually between 2001 and 2011, and the price of gas averaged 8.9 percent annual growth during that same period.

Changes can be quite different in different time periods, for different items, and even in different regions — think of the housing market, for example.

Inflation is calculated in different ways, too. Its most basic form, as calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is the Consumer Price Index or CPI, which reflects the changes in prices of a basket of goods and services, such as food, gasoline, newspapers, postage, lodging, furniture, dental services, socks, cigarettes, pet food and more. There’s also the “Core CPI,” which excludes energy and food prices, as they can be especially volatile.

Another key thing to understand is that each of

From: http://www.dailyfinance.com/2013/04/17/inflation-definition/

Want To Bring The Economy Back To Life? Pass Tax Reform

By Breaking News

WASHINGTON — No single labor statistic speaks more loudly, or more painfully, than the announcement that the Obama economy created a puny 88,000 jobs last month.

Even more shocking was the Bureau of Labor Statistics report that 500,000 long-suffering Americans gave up looking for work and thus were no longer counted among the unemployed, falsely shrinking the jobless rate to 7.6 percent.

A stunned White House had little to say about it. Gene Sperling, assistant to the president for economic policy, blamed the minuscule numbers on the budget cuts, and by implication the Republicans, but could not bring himself to admit the dearth of new jobs was due to chronically weak economic growth under the president’s harmful policies.

The embarrassed silence from Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill was palpable and shameful — though some privately grumbled that if Obama didn’t turn the economy around soon, their party was going to get clobbered in next year’s midterm elections.

The network news anchors, who’ve been telling us for months that the economy was picking up, gloomily reported the dreary statistics, then dropped the story from their later broadcasts.

Read more at Human Events . By Donald Lambro.

Photo credit: terrellaftermath

From: http://www.westernjournalism.com/want-to-bring-the-economy-back-to-life-pass-tax-reform/

Nearly 100 Percent Of American Women Stuck In Jobs That Typically Pay Men More: Analysis

By The Huffington Post News Editors

If you insist on celebrating Equal Pay Day, just admit it’s in name only. Because as late as 2011, 97 percent of full-time working women were stuck in jobs that typically paid men more, an analysis by the Center For American Progress revealed today.

Certain professions exhibit particularly drastic gender pay gaps. Take female chief executives, who earn only 69 percent as much as their male counterparts. These 245,000 female chief executives end up earning an average of $658 less per week than the 745,000 men in their profession.

Indeed, of the 534 professions listed by the the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women on average earn more than men in only seven of them, a group composed of 1.5 million working women, or only 3 percent of the full-time female work force.

Read More…

…read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Huffington Post

Dow Waffles as Tech Sector Gains Momentum

By Jessica Alling, The Motley Fool

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After spending most of its time in negative territory yesterday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average made a late rally, ending the day up 48 points. So far this morning, the index has been up and down, trading 10 points higher as of 11 a.m. EDT. Economic news hasn’t helped the index so far this morning, as three reports showed little positive growth.

First up was the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index, which fell 1.3 points from Februrary’s results to 89.5. The survey of small business owners found that very few felt as if the current environment presented a good time to expand, another jab to the recovery. March’s results put the end to a three-month streak of gaining optimism, with 75% of business owners expecting conditions to be roughly the same in the next six months. This isn’t a good sign for the drooping labor market, as small businesses won’t hire if the conditions aren’t right.

Speaking of hiring, the number of job openings rose in February to 3.9 million from January’s 3.6 million — this is the highest number of job openings since May 2008 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Despite the openings hike, hiring and firing remained at the same levels as seen in the previous month.

Last up was wholesale inventories data, which fell unexpectedly in February as petroleum stocks fell and overall sales gained strength. The drop of 0.3% was the largest recorded in a year and a half, according to the Commerce Department. Economists had expected a 0.5% increase after the revised 0.8% jump in January.

Tech leads the way
The standout sector so far this morning in Dow trading has been the techies. Microsoft is one of the stocks leading the way, with a 1.75% gain. Microsoft is also leading a group of 16 other companies in a EU complaint against Google , claiming that the competitor is giving away its Android OS to smartphone manufacturers, as long as its software applications such as Google Maps are installed and at the forefront of the phone’s display. The group filing the antitrust complaint believes that such action corners customers into using Google products, which not only controls customer data, but also dominates the mobile market. The European Commission, the EU‘s antitrust authority, is not required to do any more than reply to the group’s complaint, though Google is already under scrutiny in Brussels and other countries for various reasons.

Intel is also up this morning, with a 1.94% gain. The tech giant is riding the exciting news that its next-generation Thunderbolt will provide double the speed of its current form. Set to begin production in 2014, the new Thunderbolt will allow 4K video transfer with simultaneous display in addition to running at 20 Gbps — the current version runs at 10 Gbps. Intel is also enjoying its head start on competitor ARM , with its new Avoton — …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

The Fight Between Wages and Profits: When Will It End?

By Morgan Housel, The Motley Fool

Filed under:

Wages and salaries have been growing slower than the overall economy for decades. After-tax profits have been growing much faster than the economy. 

It’s time for an update of a chart we’ve posted before:

Source: Federal Reserve, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The drift between these two adds up to an enormous sum. Peter Orszag wrote last year: “If labor compensation hadn’t fallen so much as a share of national income, American workers would be enjoying about $750 billion more in take-home pay.”

Now, this chart isn’t as simple as it looks. Part of the reason wages take up a smaller share of the economy is because benefits like health insurance take up a larger share of workers’ total compensation. And part of the reason corporate profits have grown as a share of the economy is because of a shift from industrial-commodity corporations to technology firms that naturally have higher margins.

But there is no doubt that part of the swing between wages and profits is explained by one growing at the expense of the other. This is natural — we’ve been through two other cycles since 1900 — but I wonder how long the current cycle can last. Take this recent story about Wal-Mart :

Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer and grocer, has cut so many employees that it no longer has enough workers to stock its shelves properly, according to some employees and industry analysts. Internal notes from a March meeting of top Walmart managers show the company grappling with low customer confidence in its produce and poor quality. “Lose Trust,” reads one note, “Don’t have items they are looking for — can’t find it.”

There comes a point where it is in capital’s best interest to increase labor’s share of output. If Wal-Mart is any indication, we’re probably pretty close to that point. 

The article The Fight Between Wages and Profits: When Will It End? originally appeared on Fool.com.

Morgan Housel has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Copyright © 1995 – 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Slow Job Growth Puts Brakes on the Dow

By Matt Thalman, The Motley Fool

Filed under:

Market participants have been hit with poor jobs data three days in a row this week, and each seemed to be worse than the one before. On Wednesday, ADP released their report, which indicated that the private sector added only 158,000 jobs. Thursday, the Labor Department published weekly jobless claims that rose to 385,000 initial claims last week. And today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that only 88,000 new jobs were created in the month of March.

The three reports combined paint a really bad picture of the jobs marke,t and caused the market, in general, to decline today. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 40 points, or 0.28%, while the S&P 500 performed slightly worse, losing 0.43%. The NASDAQ, unfortunately, took third place, after it lost 0.65% of its value.

Technology stocks really took it on the chin today, and to read about a few of the big losers, click here. Or to learn about some of the other Dow losers, continue reading below.

Shares of American Express fell 2.14% today on the heels of the poor jobs data. When the country is in a state of high unemployment and a poor jobs market, consumers tend to spend less money or, at the very least, borrow less money. That means credit cards are often put in the back of the wallet, and cash is used more frequently. With lower transaction counts, and less borrowed money to charge interest on, the credit card company may likely post lower revenue, resulting in lower profits.

The Home Depot was also hit hard by the jobs report today. Shares lost 0.89% of their value after the report indicated that retail trade employment declined by 24,000 in the month of March, and 10,000 of that came directly from building material and garden supply stores. Although Home Depot announced that it was planning to hire 80,000 seasonal workers this year, the cold weather throughout the country during the month of March has surely pushed the hiring dates back.  

Another big loser today was Coca-Cola , as shares fell 1.13%. The soft drink king is up 10.57% since the start of 2013, but lagging behind the Dow’s 11.15% gain year to date. Shares recently set a new 52-week high, and are still within striking distance of that mark, even after today’s decline. Shares remain reasonably priced at 20 times past earnings, or 17 times expected earnings, and some consider the company’s 2.8% dividend yield just as safe as treasury yields.

Coca-Cola’s wide moat has helped provide its shareholders with superior gains in the past, but the company faces some new threats to its continued market dominance. The Motley Fool recently compiled a premium research report containing everything you need to know about Coca-Cola. If you own or are considering owning shares in the company, you’ll want to click here now and get started!

…read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

March's Jobs Report in 4 charts

By Morgan Housel, The Motley Fool

We are living through the worst employment disaster since the Great Depression. After every monthly jobs report, analysts parse the numbers and pick apart the details, but that one sentence is really all that matters. 

The article

Filed under:

March’s jobs report showed that a net 88,000 new jobs were added last month and the unemployment rate fell to 7.6% — the lowest level in more than four years.

That was the good news. The bad news is that this is, by most accounts, a dismal result. 

Theoretically, at least. Any given employment report has a margin of error of plus or minus 100,000, and nearly all initial reports are revised in subsequent months. Indeed, March’s jobs report revised January and February’s figures up by 61,000 jobs. One of the only things we are reasonably assured of is that the economy didn’t create 88,000 jobs in March — a truth that never quells the hyperventilating when initial employment reports are released.

To smooth out month-to-month volatility, I look at a rolling six-month average change in monthly jobs:

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics.

For the last three years, we have created enough jobs to keep up with population growth — maybe a bit more — and that’s about it. There has been almost no deviation from this trend, too. 2011 saw average monthly jobs growth of 175,000. 2012’s average figure was 183,000. In the first three months of 2013 we’ve averaged 168,000. Statistically, these numbers are almost indistinguishable. It has been one of the dullest recoveries on record.

The unemployment rate, however, is in decline — and not just the standard unemployment rate most often cited in the media. The Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates unemployment several different ways, with some measures counting not just the unemployment, but those who have given up looking for work and those working part-time but desiring full-time hours. Importantly, all show the same trend: downward.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics.

But this poses a question: If jobs growth is so dull, why is the unemployment rate dropping across the board?

In part because fewer Americans are taking part in the labor force and thus aren’t counted in the unemployment statistics. The labor force participation rate, which counts working-age Americans who either are employed or are unemployed and looking for work, fell in March to the lowest level since the Carter administration:

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Part of this decline is due to a weak economy. But there’s more to it; the decline clearly began before the recession.

There are three big explanations for why so few Americans are in the labor force:

  • The country is aging.
  • Men have been leaving the labor force consistently for 60 years.
  • More people are in school.

As baby boomers retire, the demographic bulge of those born in the 1950s and 1960s exits the labor force. Demographers predicted a sharp decline in the labor force participation rate years before the recession began. Even if the economy were booming, the labor force participation rate would almost certainly be falling.

Second, men have been leaving the labor force consistently for more than half a century as women …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Third Time's the Charm: Jobs Data Hurts the Dow

By Matt Thalman, The Motley Fool

Filed under:

For the third day in a row, the markets have been hit with poor jobs data.

On Wednesday, payroll-processing company ADP reported that private employers only added 158,000 new jobs in the month of March, whereas economists were expecting 200,000 hires. Yesterday, the Department of Labor’s weekly jobless-claims report indicated that 385,000 initial claims had been filed the previous week, which was 28,000 more than the week before and 35,000 higher than what was expected. And today, the Department of Labor once again poured on the bad news with its March employment report. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that just 88,000 new jobs were created last month. Analysts were expecting a much higher number, which most had pinned around 200,000. 

Although the Dow Jones Industrial Average managed to post a strong gain yesterday despite the high jobless claims, as of 12:55 p.m. EDT today it’s down 111 points, or 0.76%. The other major indexes are actually performing worse: The S&P 500 has lost 0.95% of its value, and the NASDAQ is down 1.17%.

Some of the largest drags on the markets today come from the world of technology.

Shares of Cisco have fallen 2.5% after competitor F5 Networks released an earnings warning. Shareholders need to remember that poor performance by the competition can sometimes be good news. However, concerns that established companies are struggling to keep up with ever-changing technology have investors pulling out of the networking giant today. 

After falling 1.3% yesterday, shares of IBM are down a further 1.4% today. While Cisco is getting punished for a competitor’s weakness today, investors may be punishing IBM for its competition’s strength. A recently published independent study indicates that IBM‘s competitor Oracle now has chips and servers that outperform IBM‘s similar devices. 

The Dow’s darling stock of 2013, Hewlett-Packard , is down by 1.9% after chairman Ray Lane announced yesterday that he will step down from his position but still hold a seat on the board of directors. Only 59% of shareholders voted to re-elect Lane at the company’s recent shareholder meeting, so Lane’s move is something of a mixed bag. It likely makes 41% of shareholders happy that he’s no longer the chairman yet unhappy that he’s still on the board. On the other hand, 59% of shareholders voted to keep Lane, so they may be upset today that he gave in to the minority and decided to step down.

The massive wave of mobile computing has done much to unseat the major players in the PC market, including venerable technology names like Hewlett-Packard. However, HP is rapidly shifting its strategy under the leadership of CEO Meg Whitman. But does this make HP one of the least-appreciated turnaround stories on the market, or is this a minor detour on its road to irrelevance? The Motley Fool’s technology analyst details exactly what investors need to know about HP in our new premium research report. Just click here now …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

3.6 Percent Unemployment–for Government Workers

By Breaking News

us capitol building SC 3.6 Percent Unemployment  for Government Workers

There is a bright spot in the March jobless numbers, if government is your line of work.

The unemployment rate for civilian government workers dropped to 3.6 percent in March from 3.8 percent in February, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In February, there were 828,000 unemployed federal, state and local governments in the United States. In March, that declined to 786,000.

In July 2012, the unemployment rate for government workers was as high as 5.7 percent, according to the BLS, and the rate has been in a steady decline since. The current unemployment for government workers at 3.6 percent is the lowest rate since April 2011.

Since July, times have been very good for government in the United States, with governments managing to add 618,000 workers to their payrolls. In March, there were 20,633,000 total government workers in the U.S. In July the government employed 20,015,000 people.

Read More at CNS News . By Elizabeth Harrington.

…read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Western Journalism

What the Jobs Report Means for You

By Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool

Filed under:

Today’s jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics painted a mixed but troubling picture of the U.S. labor market. Although the headline unemployment number fell by a tenth of a percentage point to 7.6%, the number of new jobs created outside the agricultural sector was just 88,000, far below what we’ve seen in previous months.

But hidden beneath those headline numbers are some interesting observations:

  • Almost 500,000 people dropped out of the officially measured labor force, showing that many unemployed workers have given up actively seeking work. Because unemployment rates are based on labor-force figures, a smaller labor participation rate can make the headline unemployment number fall even with weak job growth.
  • Job-growth figures from January and February were both revised upward, adding a total of 61,000 jobs compared to previously reported estimates.
  • Wage growth continued to be minimal, with average hourly pay of $23.82 rising just a penny from last month and at a 1.8% pace over the past year.
  • Average weekly hours worked rose by six minutes to 34.6 hours.

But how do all these numbers really affect you? Let’s look at three big impacts from the jobs report on ordinary Americans.

1. What industry you work in really does matter.
Throughout the past several years, different industries have had much different experiences. For those working in the health care field, for instance, the recession had very little impact on employment, as jobs growth continued nearly unchecked throughout the period in light of rising demand for health services from an aging population. In the construction and mining industries, however, unemployment remains at very high levels above 15%. Weakness in those industries has collateral impacts on related companies. Recent layoffs at Caterpillar and Joy Global , both of which rely on construction and mining activity to sell their machinery, reveal the extent to which the labor market is interconnected.

2. Don’t expect big raises.
Economists love the fact that wages aren’t growing quickly, as it helps keep inflation down. But for families facing higher costs for gasoline, food, and other necessities, weak wage growth is just one more challenge to overcome. Again, where you work matters for your earnings, as workers in the financial industry have seen larger wage gains over the past year than leisure and hospitality workers. That matches up with news from Wall Street, where Goldman Sachs has boosted pay for its workers and Bank of America recently rejected a call to cut pay for brokers in its Merrill Lynch division. Overall, though, few people are seeing strong wage growth, and companies seeking to keep their profit margins high will keep it that way if they can.

3. Be smart about investing in your career.
Weak employment has been especially hard for young adults coming into the workforce. With the unemployment rate among those ages 16 to 19 at a whopping 24.2%, counting on getting a job straight out of high school isn’t realistic, …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

The Real Reason the Dow Plunged This Morning

By Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool

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Employment has been a sticking point in the U.S. economic recovery for years, and today it showed its uglier side. With this morning’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showing nonfarm payroll growth of just 88,000 jobs — well short of the 200,000 that economists had expected to see — fears that consumers will rein in their spending and hurt businesses’ profits sent the stock market reeling. Moreover, the fact that the unemployment rate actually fell doesn’t necessarily bode well for the employment picture, as it suggests that the troubling trend of disillusioned job-seekers dropping out of the labor force has returned. As of 10:55 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrials are down 123 points, or 0.84%, while the S&P 500 is down 0.91% after climbing back from more precipitous drops earlier in the session.

As important as employment is, though, you have to look beyond this morning’s report to find the real reason why the Dow fell so much. For more than a year, volatility levels have indicated a complete lack of concern about the mounting problems facing investors around the world. Just a few weeks ago, the S&P Volatility Index , a popular measure of fear levels in the market, dropped to its lowest level since the bull-market days of early 2007. Even with today’s gains of more than 8% having pulled the index up 35% from those lows, investors still haven’t showed much fear in light of a triple-digit drop for the Dow. If new troubles continue building, any return to even normal fear levels could result in a significant correction.

Looking closely at how various Dow stocks are moving this morning supports that conclusion. Cisco is one of the biggest decliners in the Dow: Networking rival F5 Networks‘ earnings warning helped pull Cisco’s stock down nearly 2%. But lately, one area where investors have been fearful is the tech sector as established companies struggle to adapt to changing conditions. That theme seems set to continue, especially if the broader market stops rising.

On the other hand, Caterpillar has performed fairly well, up 0.25%. Ordinarily, the industrial-machinery giant is highly sensitive to economic worries, making it a poor performer on days like this. But even with no news, the fact that Caterpillar is holding up well suggests a continuing lack of concern about troubling global economic trends.

Continue watching fear levels as a key indicator of what’s driving the market. If we see more negative economic data in the near future, a loss of confidence could be what sends stocks to their first major correction in a long time.

Once a high-flying tech darling, Cisco is now on the radar of value-oriented dividend lovers. Get the low down on the routing juggernaut in The Motley Fool’s premium report. Click here now to get started.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance

Stocks Break A New Record As S&P 500 Tops All-Time Closing High; Q4 GDP Up 0.4%

By Agustino Fontevecchia, Forbes Staff

The stock market is firing on all-cylinders, and about three weeks after the Dow topped its all-time high, the S&P 500 hit its highest closing price ever in early trading on Thursday.  Equities have performed amid tepid economic growth, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics releasing its third and final estimate for four quarter GDP, raising it to 0.4% and confirming the economy nearly stalled toward the end of 2012.  Buoyed by a strong housing sector, and a solid performance from sectors like healthcare and financials, stock market bulls seem to have left behind those speaking of a coming correction as investors look for equities to go even higher. …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at Forbes Latest

Becker Professional Education Extends Zero Percent Financing To Federal Government Employees &amp; Milit

By Business Wirevia The Motley Fool

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Becker Professional Education Extends Zero Percent Financing To Federal Government Employees & Military Veterans

Special pricing on four-part CPA Exam Review also available

DOWNERS GROVE, Ill.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Becker Professional Education, a global leader in professional education and a part of DeVry Inc. (NYS: DV) , recently announced that federal government employees and military veterans can now take advantage of Zero Percent Financing in addition to special federal government pricing on Becker’s CPA Exam Review, Final Review and Flashcards. Zero Percent Financing is an 18-month interest-free loan and all applicants are pre-approved.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for us to assist government employees and military veterans,” said John Roselli, president of Becker Professional Education. “The job outlook in the accounting and auditing professions is very positive. This outlook, combined with our special financing program, makes it the ideal time for federal government employees and military veterans to advance their careers in these high-demand professions.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment of accountants and auditors is expected to grow 16 percent from 2010 – 2020. The bureau adds that the best prospects are for those who have professional certification, especially CPAs. As the leader in CPA Exam Review, Becker students pass the CPA Exam at double the rate of non-Becker candidates, based on The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants-published pass rates.* This proven track record of success has earned Becker partnerships with 99 of the top 100 public accounting firms, including the Big Four, and more than 140 universities.

For more information on Zero Percent Financing, to order the 2013 CPA Exam Review course or receive additional information about Becker Professional Education please visit www.becker.com or call 1-877-CPA-EXAM.

About Becker Professional Education

Becker Professional Education, a part of DeVry Inc. (NYS: DV) , is a global leader in professional education serving the accounting, finance, project management, and healthcare professions. Nearly half a million professionals have advanced their careers through its CPA Exam Review, ACCA® Exam preparation, PMP® Exam Review, USMLE® Exam Review, COMLEX® Exam Review and Continuing Professional Education courses. Throughout its more than 50 year history, Becker has earned a strong track record of student success through world-class teaching, curriculum and learning tools that enable its students to …read more
Source: FULL ARTICLE at DailyFinance