U.S. Unemployment Rate Remains at 4.1 Percent in March

Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg Editor, Press Associates Union News

The U.S. unemployment rate remained at 4.1 percent in March, the sixth straight month it has done so, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said. A separate survey showed businesses claimed to create a net of 102,000 new jobs,. Governments added 1,000 more, with 2,600 new local government jobs offsetting small losses elsewhere.

BLS said there were 6.585 million unemployed in March, down 121,000 from February. It added the combined total of the jobless, people toiling part-time when they really want full-time work and people too discouraged to seek jobs totaled one of every 12 workers.

Factories added 22,000 jobs, to 12.63 million, with 40 percent (+8,800) of the gains in fabricated metal products, including steel. That left 511,000 jobless factory workers (3.3 percent).

Construction firms shed 15,000 jobs, to 7.15 million. The losses were in specialty contractors (-16,200 jobs). Some 696,000 construction workers (7.4 percent) were jobless in March. But union leaders say that understates joblessness in their sector, since a worker toiling for one day in the survey period’s week is counted as being employed the whole month.

“Longer-term trends” in the economy “indicate continued movement in the right direction, but there’s still a ways to go before reaching full employment levels,” Economic Policy Institute analyst Elise Gould tweeted.

As usual, the lowest-paying sectors of service industries added the most jobs: Health care (+22,000), social assistance/home health care (+11,800), hospitals (+9,900) and janitors (+7,500). The one exception: Trucking (+6,700). Overall, services added 87,000 jobs in March, BLS reported.

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Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

Keeping Cancer Cures a Corporate Profit Center

Sam Pizzigati

Sam Pizzigati Editor, Too Much online magazine

Who knew fighting cancer could be so lucrative? Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center CEO Craig Thompson, for one. Last year, Thompson pulled down nearly $600,000 in cash and stock from his service on two for-profit drug company boards, all on top of his $6.7 million in Sloan Kettering pay the year before. No wonder Thompson looked the other way while his chief medical officer “failed to disclose” in medical journal articles that he had received millions from companies that could be banking on matters he was writing about. In September, that scandal went public, and Thompson at first insisted that working with for-profit companies must remain a priority. Last week, amid mounting public outrage, Thompson retreated and announced he would resign his corporate board seats. But the real scandal remains: a hospital-Big Pharma complex that focuses single-mindedly on patentable pharmaceuticals that generate huge returns for corporate execs and shareholders.

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Unions for All, Unions for 15

Unions for All, Unions for 15