October Jobless Rate Falls to 4.1 Percent; 252,000 Jobs Created

Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg Editor, Press Associates Union News

The U.S. unemployment rate declined to 4.1 percent in October, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said. Businesses claimed to create a net of 252,000 new jobs last month, a separate survey said, but much of that came from restoring jobs lost to hurricanes. Governments added 9,000, all in local schools and the federal government.

The figures do not reflect the full impact of the hurricanes, as jobless numbers for the states don’t come out until later in November and BLS doesn’t survey Puerto Rico. But private surveys there, in data before two of the hurricanes smashed the commonwealth to smithereens, showed a jobless rate triple that of the mainland U.S.

On the mainland, the number of jobless declined by 281,000, to 6.52 million, BLS said. But other statistics were not as positive.

One of every four jobless workers has been out more than 26 weeks, meaning they’ve exhausted their unemployment benefits. The biggest job gains were in the lowest-paying sectors of the economy, all as usual in services: +88,500 in bars and restaurants, which is the lowest of all, followed by +22,000 jobs in health care and the hiring of 18,000 more temps.

“The black unemployment rate is at 7.5 percent, compared with 3.5 percent for whites,” Economic Policy Institute analyst Heidi Shierholz added in a tweet. “As usual, the black rate is around twice as high. There are huge disparities in our labor market.”

Factories added 24,000 jobs in October, mostly in computers and electronics (+4,700), fabricated metals such as steel (+4,000), chemicals (+4,000 each) and cars (+3,400). There were 12.481 million factory workers in October, and 501,000 jobless factory workers (3.2 percent).

Construction firms added 11,000 jobs in October, to 6.93 million, all in building new homes and at specialty trade contractors. There were 418,000 jobless construction workers (4.5 percent). But construction union presidents say the official figures understate joblessness in their industry, since a worker toiling for one day during the survey week is counted as working for the entire month.

Posted In: Union Matters

Union Matters

In New York, the Art of a Deal Gone Bitterly Bad

Sam Pizzigati

Sam Pizzigati Editor, Too Much online magazine

“If you gain fame, power, or wealth,” the philosopher Philip Slater once noted, “you won’t have any trouble finding lovers, but they will be people who love fame, power, or wealth.” Tell me about it, David Mugrabi might be thinking right about now. The billionaire art dealer and his wife Libbie Mugrabi are currently contesting a bitter divorce that has the New York couple in and out of the courts and the headlines. In July, the two tussled in a tug-of-war over a $500,000 20-inch-tall Andy Warhol sculpture. Libbie claims the incident had her fearing for her life, and a friend has testified that David angrily called her and Libbie “low-lifes” and “gold-diggers.” The latest installment: Last Tuesday, lawyers argued over how much Libbie should get for a vacation she and their two kids will be taking this Thanksgiving. Libbie’s lawyer asked for an amount commensurate with the couple’s “$3.5-million-a-year lifestyle.” The judge okayed $4,000, then added: “No one’s going to starve in this family.”

More ...

A Pattern of Poverty

A Pattern of Poverty