Friday, September 4, 2009

I applied to 8 jobs in 48 hours.... then I read something like this

Unemployment Hits 9.7%, but Job Loss Slows in August

Employers eliminated 216,000 jobs in August even as the larger American economy showed signs of turning around, suggesting that while the pace of job losses continues to slow, workers will still be among the last to benefit from a recovery.

The unemployment rate, calculated in a separate survey, resumed its climb last month after a dip in July, rising to 9.7 percent from 9.4 percent, the Labor Department reported on Friday in its monthly snapshot of the job market.

As factories slowly begin to ramp up production and businesses start to restock their shelves, economists anticipate that losses will dwindle and that employers could begin creating jobs by late this year or early 2010. But most forecasters — and White House officials — still expect the unemployment rate to reach 10 percent or higher.

“The job market is in for a slog,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s “It’s going to be slow, incremental improvement, and it’s the reason why the broader recovery’s going to be very fragile.”

Signs of weakness filled the report. Overtime hours were unchanged from a month earlier, and the length of the workweek was flat. Temporary employment services, among the first to hire after a recession, cut 6,500 jobs. And the rate of manufacturing job losses increased from a month earlier.

Still, Obama administration officials greeted the lower number of job losses as more evidence that the $787 billion stimulus was making a mark on the economy.

“The overall message in these numbers is that we’re headed in the right direction but we’re far from out of the woods,” said Jared Bernstein, an economic adviser to Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. “There are simply too many Americans seeking work, and that means too many families struggling with a job market that remains well behind the curve.”

Economists had foreseen 230,000 job losses for the month, and expected the unemployment rate to hit 9.5 percent. The government also revised monthly job losses for July higher, saying the economy had shed 276,000 jobs compared with the 247,000 that had originally been reported. The June number was revised to 463,000 job losses from 443,000.

Over all, the figures evinced a dreary landscape.

Average hourly earnings rose by 6 cents in August, to a seasonally adjusted $18.65 an hour, and average weekly earnings edged up to $617.32 from $615.33 in July. And the median time workers are unemployed fell slightly, to 15.4 weeks.

Economists said the slower pace of job losses provided another sign that the recession was losing steam. The nation’s economic output is expected to rebound over the rest of the year after four quarters of contraction, and the housing market is gradually getting back onto its feet.

But economists say employers must create 300,000 to 400,000 jobs a month to bring unemployment rates back to pre-recession levels — a difficult hurdle after such a prolonged downturn.

“High unemployment rates are going to be with us for quite a while,” Michael Feroli, an economist at JPMorgan Chase, said. “It’s going to be a long, long time before we see 6 percent or 7 percent unemployment.”

Months — or years — of a lackluster job market could further strain the finances of the country’s approximately 15 million unemployed, constraining their spending and putting them at greater risk of home foreclosure or default on credit cards or auto loans.

Some 128,000 manufacturing and construction jobs evaporated in August, and businesses ranging from financial companies to retailers to restaurants appeared poised to continue cutting positions through the end of the year, economists said.

And some 20 months into the recession, people like Ginny Hoover of Williamsburg, Va., are beginning to use up their unemployment benefits, their extended benefits and even their emergency payments from the government.

Ms. Hoover, 49, said she had been unable to find any work beyond the offer of a commission-only job selling life insurance door to door since she lost her job at a pharmaceutical company in November 2007, a month before the recession began. To get by, she maxed out her credit cards, borrowed money from friends and broke her apartment lease and moved into a free rental unit owned by her boyfriend.

“It’s hard for me to believe that it’s been almost two years,” said Ms. Hoover, who is now pursuing certification as a legal assistant. “I thought maybe a month or two and I’d have another job. I never would have guessed that it would be as brutal as it was out there.”

But the loss of 216,000 jobs in August, while grim by normal standards, underscored how far the economy had come from its worst days, when an average of 691,000 jobs were lost each month in the first quarter. Economists credited the stimulus plan and other rescue efforts by the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve with stabilizing the economy and slowing job losses.

“They ended the credit crisis,” Robert Barbera, chief economist at ITG, said. “Banks are functioning. You’re got some pop from the clunker program. They get high marks in those areas. It’s a real tough labor market, one of the toughest in the postwar period, but it simply looks better than it did six months ago.”

But struggling workers like Donna Angelillo, 49, of Del Ray Beach, Fla., say they have not seen any signs of improvement. Ms. Angelillo lost her job as a property manager in May and burned through her savings in two months. Her $1,000 monthly unemployment check does not even cover her $1,030 monthly rent, and Ms. Angelillo said her late bills were reaching a critical stage.

“‘I don’t have September rent, but right now I’m more concerned about the electricity,” she said. “Either today or tomorrow, they’re going to shut it off. I’m getting desperate.”

Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Less sex, more TV idea aired in India

"Not tonight honey the sham-wow guy is trying to sell me a chop-matic"

By Sara Sidner

UTTAR PRADESH, India (CNN) -- On World Population Day this year India's new health and welfare minister came out with an idea on how to tackle the population issue: Bring electricity to every Indian village so that people would watch television until late at night and therefore be too tired to make babies.

That statement raised eyebrows across this vast country -- but what are the realities and reactions from families who make up the second largest population in the world?

At 80-plus years old Omar Mohammed has never heard of population control.

He lives in India's most populous state Uttar Pradesh and has certainly done his part in contributing to India's burgeoning population.

"Now you see I have 24 children, 13 boys and 11 girls," Omar says.

Omar believes only God can decide how many children you should have. He lifts his hands to the sky and says: "This is His command. It's not my doing, it's His doing."

On the other hand there's the Arora family in the capital city of Delhi. They have two children.

"You can't even get enough water or electricity now. So its advisable that people have only two children and then they should stop having more kids." mother Anjana Arora says.

The Aroras know a little something about population issues; their daughter was given the official title of India's one billionth citizen when she was born in 2000.

With family planning and free contraceptive programs the Indian government has long tried to encourage families to have only two children.

Overall government statistics show the birth rate is coming down. The numbers show 14 of India's 35 states have reached the two child per family target.

But the push is failing in other states, especially in villages and among the poor and illiterate where the fertility rate is as high as 3.5 children per woman.

There are all kinds of reasons -- from the desire to continue having children until a son is born to lack of access to contraceptives.

The government's concern is that a booming population will further test already scarce resources, greatly impact the environment, and make life even harder for the poor.

According to the United Nations, India is home to 50 percent of the world's poor and on current projections, India will become the most populous country on earth sometime in the next 50 years, overtaking China.

Upon hearing about the latest idea to use electricity and television to give people something else to do besides procreate, mom Anjana Arora scoffed.

"That's a stupid thing" she said in English then switched to Hindi "The only way to change people's mentality is through education."

But not everyone is writing the idea off. "It's an idea that can really work." says A.R. Nanda.

Years ago Nanda helped draft some of India's population stabilization policies and he now runs the Population Foundation of India.

He says while education and access to health care is paramount, electrifying villages is not a bad idea.

"It gives a message loud and clear that we need to do something for the people which is people-friendly and which in a way will keep their minds from taking irrational decisions about producing more babies," Nanda says.

He says there are studies that prove it. One such survey done in 2006 by an Italian sexologist reveals couples with televisions in their bedrooms had sex half as much as those without it.

That being said Omar Mohammed, the man with 24 children had a different take.

"After watching TV," he says, "when we look at scintillating things we will probably want to make more children."

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" "The difference between a madman and a professional is that a pro does as well as he can within what he has set out to do and a madman does exceptionally well at what he can't help doing.” ― Charles Bukowski