The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, July 21, 2017

News Briefs

By The Building Tradesman

Jobless rate falls to 20017 level 

WASHINGTON (PAI)—The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.4 percent in June, up 0.1 percent from the month before, but down 0.4 percent from January, according to numbers released July 7 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The number of unemployed people, 6.97 million, was little changed from May, but has declined by 658,000 since the beginning of the year.

“While we have a ways to go before we reach genuine full employment, this trend” in job creation “is exactly what we want to see as we get closer” to that goal, said Economic Policy Institute unemployment analyst Elise Gould.

Gould also noted that job growth has been slowing. Monthly job growth this year – before June -- averaged 162,000, down 25,000 monthly compared to January-May 2016 and down 64,000 monthly compared to January-May 2015.

“While the pace of job growth should be expected to slow as the economy approaches full employment, it’s not clear we should rest easy that this is the explanation for the recent slowdown. After all, many indicators seem to be telling us we have not yet reached full employment,” Gould said.

The nation's jobless rate has declined fairly steadily since October 2009, when the rate reached its height in recent years, 10.0 percent. The rate now matches where it was in 2007, before the onset of the Great Recession.

Pope gives blessing to world's unions

ROME (PAI)--Reflecting his own principles and Catholic social thought teachings, Pope Francis I is speaking out strongly for unions -- again. But this time, he's also warning them of "epochal challenges" and particularly not to become complacent, to advocate for all workers, and not to abandon their watchdog role over the corporate class. 

"There is no good society without a good union, and there is no good union that is not reborn every day...that does not transform the discarded stones of the economy into its cornerstones," Francis declared in a June 28 speech.

The Pope's latest endorsement, in an audience in Rome with Italian Confederation of Trade Unions (CISL) delegates, is in line with his prior pro-union statements.  And he again, as in the others, also strongly criticized unbridled, unchecked capitalism, which he says degrades workers and people. 

His remarks are also in line with more than 125 years of church teachings, which back the dignity of work and workers, the right to organize and society’s need for strong unions. 

In his prior addresses, Francis also criticized Catholic politicians and business executives who ignore those teachings. This time, he omitted the politicians from his critique. 

"The union is an expression of the prophetic profile of society,” the pope declared. “The union is born and reborn every time that, like the biblical prophets, it gives a voice to those who have none, denounces those who would 'sell the needy for a pair of sandals,' unmasks the powerful who trample the rights of the most vulnerable workers, defends the cause of the foreigner, the least, the discarded."