With the House of Representatives and the president once again butting heads over the federal budget, a government shutdown is looking more likely by the day.
On Tuesday's Up to Date, Bob Bixby of the Concord Coalition joins Steve Kraske to talk about the economy, the effect a shutdown could have on the country if Congress doesn’t pass a new budget and how the debt ceiling debate figures into the equation.
In the next two installments of Solve This, NPR's series on the major issues facing the country, we'll examine each presidential candidate's approach to boosting employment. First, President Obama's strategy, then Mitt Romney's.
Job creation is the centerpiece of President Obama's campaign speeches.
Job seekers fill out applications Aug. 21 at a construction job fair in New York. Polls show voters want the presidential candidates to provide more details on how they would reduce unemployment, change tax policy and alter government spending.
As this presidential election year was kicking off, strategists were saying the focus would be on the economy. But now — even as absentee ballots are being filled in — the candidates are still dodging details about how to improve growth.
"President Obama doesn't have a plan," says Kevin Hassett, an economic adviser to Republican candidate Mitt Romney.
Jeffrey Liebman, an economic adviser to President Obama, says Romney has revealed no plan other than "going back to the failed policies of the past decade."
The school year's winding down, meaning teenagers around the country will soon be trying to pull in some extra cash scooping ice cream or manning those kiosks at the mall.
But with the job market still weak, teens are facing stiff competition landing summer jobs. And while the downturn has hit young job seekers particularly hard, it's not just the lingering effects of the Great Recession working against them: the drop-off in teen summer hiring actually began long before 2007.
Mary Slaughter, an employee of Southwest Technologies for 19 years, says this time of year is usually slower for business. But that hasn't been the case in the last few years. Southwest recently signed three new contracts and wants to expand its facility.
As the election year began, conventional wisdom was pretty well set about the outcome of the presidential race. If the economy improved, President Obama would win. If not, he'd be a one-termer.
So what does it mean that many big economic indicators are moving sideways?
"Obama seems to be in that gray area," says Paul Pierson, a political scientist at the University of California, Berkeley. "The numbers are neither so good nor so bad that they give you a definitive answer."
The AP analyzed government data and came up with this stunning figure: "Half of young college graduates [are] either jobless or underemployed in positions that don't fully use their skills and knowledge."
The whole story is worth a read, so we encourage you to click over, but here is the meat of the AP's analysis:
Later this week, we get some key data to help judge the state of the nation's housing market. There are some early signs of recovery, but home prices are still falling in many areas, as NPR's Chris Arnold reports.
CHRIS ARNOLD, BYLINE: Tomorrow, we'll get the latest word on home prices from what's called the S&P Case-Shiller index. That keeps showing price declines in many areas. Though those price drops have been leveling off, so things definitely aren't as bad as they were.
Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 10:26 am
Food stamps have long been a favorite whipping boy of politicians looking to beat up on government spending. But the massive food-assistance program does help keep people out of poverty, according to new research.
Food stamp benefits led to a decline of 4.4 percent in poverty from 2000 to 2009, according to a new report from the USDA's Economic Research Service.
The nation's unemployment rate edged down to 8.2 percent in March from 8.3 percent in February, but only 120,000 jobs were added to private and public payrolls the Bureau of Labor Statistics said this morning in a report that was less positive about the labor market's health than economists had expected.
Prior to the news, forecasters had predicted BLS would say about 200,000 jobs were added to payrolls last month.
Job seekers attend a career fair in New York City. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says the quick drop in unemployment might have been a reversal of overzealous cutbacks during the financial crisis.
The monthly employment report Friday could help answer a key question about the economy: Will the recently strong job growth slow once employers finish replacing the people they fired during the depths of the recession?
Jobs at U.S. businesses increased by 209,000 in March, according to a report released Wednesday by the payroll processing firm ADP. That's in line with expectations for the monthly jobs report due out Friday.
Analysts expect Friday's official employment report from the Labor Department to show that employers added 215,000 in March and that the unemployment rate remained at 8.3 percent, according to Bloomberg News.
On the plus side, the ADP National Employment Report issued this morning estimates there were 209,000 jobs added to private employers' payrolls in March. And ADP's data often are something of a predictor for what the Bureau of Labor Statistics will have to say when it issues its monthly numbers. Those March figures are due on Friday at 8:30 a.m. ET.