Tag: Percentage

Hiring picks up, unemployment falls to 4.8 percent in Pittsburgh region

Hiring picks up, unemployment falls to 4.8 percent in Pittsburgh region

The Pittsburgh region’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dipped slightly to 4.8 percent in February as strong hiring picked up in 2018, according to the monthly workforce report released on Tuesday by the state.
The labor force has gained 4,900 people through the first two months of this year after shrinking by as many as 19,000 in 2017, according to the monthly reports.
But it is clear that while many residents retired and gave up looking for work last year, the workforce appears more confident so far in 2018.
The region’s annual job growth stood at 1.4 percent, with employers adding 14,400 jobs since February 2018, according to seasonally adjusted figures.
That matched the statewide annual job growth of 1.4 percent in February.
(Those numbers are not seasonally adjusted for the gains and losses normally seen throughout the year, making it hard to compare monthly changes.)
Education and health services gained 4,700 positions over the year, for about 2 percent job growth, and professional and business services gained 1,000 positions, a less than 1 percent job growth.
The sector added 1,300 jobs for a total employment of 10,400 in February.
The Pittsburgh metro area, which encompasses Allegheny and six surrounding counties, has the 11th lowest jobless rate among 18 metro areas across the state.
Daniel Moore: dmoore@post-gazette.com, 412-263-2743 and Twitter @PGdanielmoore

German interior minister rejects union’s six percent wage demand

German interior minister rejects union’s six percent wage demand

Thomson Reuters BERLIN (Reuters) – German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said on Saturday he would press for “reasonable results” in the next round of pay talks with more than two million public sector workers, but he rejected the Verdi union’s demand for a six percent increase.
Wage talks are due to resume on Sunday after 150,000 public sector employees staged warning strikes and walkouts last week that left thousands of passengers stranded at airports, and hit hospitals, childcare centres and waste depots.
Seehofer, the federal government’s top negotiator in the talks, underscored the importance of public sector workers and said it was “self-evident” that they should benefit from the country’s economic growth.
Verdi said 17,000 people participated in walkouts on Friday, bringing the total for the week’s labour actions to 150,000.
He said public sector workers should benefit from surging German tax revenues.
The federal government and municipalities have rejected the union’s demands, but the head of the VKA association of local employer organisations last week said he expected an agreement to emerge from the next round of talks.
Inflation edged up to 1.5 percent in March.
Falling unemployment, inflation-busting pay rises and low borrowing costs are fuelling a consumer-led upswing.
The European Central Bank (ECB) is keeping a close eye on the German pay talks for any sign that wage growth is picking up, potentially lifting inflation and giving the ECB added leeway to start winding down its massive stimulus programme.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Helen Popper)

Puerto Rico warns of 11 percent GDP drop in new fiscal plan

Puerto Rico warns of 11 percent GDP drop in new fiscal plan

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Puerto Rico’s governor submitted a revised fiscal plan Thursday that estimates the U.S. Caribbean territory’s economy will shrink by 11 percent and its population drop by nearly 8 percent next year.
The proposal doesn’t set aside any money to pay creditors in the next five years as the island struggles to restructure a portion of its $73 billion public debt.
The original plan had set aside $800 million a year for creditors, a fraction of the roughly $35 billion due in interest and payments over the next decade.
The five-year plan also assumes Puerto Rico will receive at least $35 billion in emergency federal funds for post-storm recovery and another $22 billion from private insurance companies — figures still far below the $95 billion in damage officials estimate was caused by Hurricane Maria, which hit in September.
Some analysts view the assumption of that much aid as risky given that the U.S. Treasury Department and U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency recently told Puerto Rico officials that they are temporarily withholding billions of dollars approved by Congress last year for post-hurricane recovery because they believe the island currently has sufficient funds. “There’s great uncertainty in that sense, and especially with a Republican government that cares little to nothing about what is happening in Puerto Rico.”
The plan also projects a brief burst of 7.6 percent GDP growth for 2019 — a figure Caraballo said is overly optimistic.
Nearly half a million people have fled for the U.S. mainland in the past decade in search of jobs and a more affordable cost of living.
Rossello also called for reducing several taxes, including an 11.5 percent sales-and-use tax to 7 percent for prepared food.
A federal control board overseeing Puerto Rico’s finances has to approve of the plan, which it envisions doing by Feb. 23.

The GOP Won Its Tax Cut For The 1 Percent, But The Battle To Stop It Will Help Progressives Win The War
Social Security Disability

The GOP Won Its Tax Cut For The 1 Percent, But The Battle To Stop It Will Help Progressives Win The War

The non-partisan Tax Policy Center has found that when all of the provisions of the Republican tax bill are in full effect by 2027, 82.8 percent of the bill’s benefits will go to the top 1 percent ― and 53 percent of Americans would actually pay more in taxes.
The GOP was successful at teeing up its next campaign – to cut Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and education in order to offset the rising federal deficits that will result from their tax cuts for the very rich.
They have won that battle.
The Republican Party will pay a huge political price for their tax “victory.” Granted that the rulers of the Party may not care.
The most recent NBC poll found that by a margin of 63 percent to 7 percent, Americans believe the GOP tax plan was designed to help corporations and the wealthy, not the middle class.
The forces opposing the tax bill wanted to brand it as a tax cut for millionaires, billionaires and wealthy corporations paid for by cutting Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and education – and by raising taxes on the middle class.
A recent CNN poll found that only 33 percent of Americans supported the bill and 55 percent opposed.
The tax battle has already changed the perceptions of the Republican and Democratic brands.
Now, they prefer Democrats by 4 points.
And when asked about the Presidential election in 2020 in an NBC poll, 52 percent said they would definitely or probably vote against Trump while only 36 percent said they would definitely or probably vote for his re-election.

Japan economy gains momentum, grows 2.5 percent in July-Sept

Japan economy gains momentum, grows 2.5 percent in July-Sept

TOKYO – Japan’s economy is gaining momentum, expanding at a 2.5 percent annual pace in July-September, the government said Friday.
In quarterly terms the world’s third-largest economy expanded at a 0.6 percent pace, twice the original estimate, the report said.
Private demand rose 0.3 percent from the previous quarter; the earlier estimate had it flat.
A revival in demand across the region and in other major markets has helped breathe new life into Japan’s recovery.
However, annual growth in net exports was unchanged in this latest report, at 0.6 percent.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has announced plans for longer-term efforts to support growth and productivity as the nation ages and its population declines — a trend that is causing alarm but also creating new business opportunities in automation and services for Japan’s fast growing population of senior citizens.
The economy is in its longest expansion in years, with unemployment below 3 percent, but growth remains meager and inflation is still well below the 2 percent official target.
Economists say that wages are rising too slowly to ignite faster price increases, and Abe and other officials have urged companies to use huge cash piles that have accumulated over the past few years to help spur growth through investment and wage hikes. “However, the economy is running into capacity constraints and firms face increasingly severe staff shortages.
The upshot is that the expansion should slow again before long,” he said.

Combining the Tax Exemption of Private Activity Bonds with 4 Percent LIHTC is Not ‘Double-Dipping’

Combining the Tax Exemption of Private Activity Bonds with 4 Percent LIHTC is Not ‘Double-Dipping’

In particular, the tax exemption for private activity bonds (PABs) provides a stark contrast on what a post-reform tax code might mean for affordable housing.
As noted in this space, the House tax reform bill would repeal the tax exemption for PABs, while the Senate bill would not.
Some policymakers have questioned the need for both the federal subsidy associated with the tax exemption for PABs and the 4 percent low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) authority that those PABs generate.
However, even if it did not, many activities benefit from more than one form of federal support–and affordable rental housing is no exception.
Alone each source would not be able to finance most affordable rental housing properties and so should not be considered “double-dipping” when combined.
Congress also imposed limitations on the type of development costs that PAB can finance.
The annual amount of tax credit is this floating percentage, multiplied by certain development costs, for a decade.
For example, a rate of 3.25 percent applied to $10 million in costs would generate $3,250,000 in tax credits over 10 years.
), the 4 percent LIHTC may result in subsidizing as little as a quarter of the development costs.
This table breaks down the capital sources of a typical PAB-financed 4 percent LIHTC development: Despite the shallow subsidy, PABs and 4 percent LIHTCs are an extremely important resource.

Rhode Island unemployment remains steady at 4.3 percent

Rhode Island unemployment remains steady at 4.3 percent

Rhode Island unemployment remains steady at 4.3 percent.
The state Department of Labor and Training said Thursday that the jobless rate for August was the same as in July.
The state’s unemployment rate was below the national rate of 4.4 percent in August, which was up one-tenth of a percentage point from July.
Rhode Island’s rate was down one percentage point from a year ago.
The number of jobs remained unchanged in August from the revised July employment figure, 499,700.
The number of jobs overall was up 9,300 from a year ago, including 3,200 jobs in construction.
Democratic Gov. “There is a lot of encouraging news in this jobs report, but also clear signals that we have to keep working to strengthen the middle class,” she said in a statement.
The southern New England retail chain Benny’s announced last week that it’s closing its 31 stores.
Rhode Island’s labor force totaled 556,400 in August, down 600 from July and up 3,900 from August 2016.

Decreases seen in long-term opioids for injured workers

Decreases seen in long-term opioids for injured workers

Decreases seen in long-term opioids for injured workers.
The prevalence of long-term dispensing of opioids to injured workers has decreased in several states, sometimes by double-digit percentages, according to study released Thursday by the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Workers Compensation Research Institute.
The decreases may be due to the number of “opioid policies and initiatives that were aimed at addressing issues related to prescribing and chronic opioid management,” said WCRI.
In New York and Kentucky, the number of claims that received opioids on a longer-term basis decreased more than 4 percentage points from 11% in Kentucky and 11.3% in New York.
In Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota and Tennessee the decreases were in the 2% to 3% range.
The percent reductions were 25 to 35%.
In California, Florida, and Texas the decrease was 1%-2%.
The study looked at data comprising over 400,000 nonsurgical workers comp claims, which represents 36% to 69% of workers comp claims with more than seven days of lost time.
“Research finds that high doses and prolonged use of opioids may lead to addiction, increased disability or work loss, and even death,” Ramona Tanabe, Boston-based WCRI’s executive vice president and counsel, said in a Thursday statement.
“The information in this report can help policymakers and other stakeholders compare the trend of longer-term dispensing of opioids in their state to other states and learn what policy tools are available to reduce unnecessary opioid use.”

Brazil’s Central Bank Cuts Selic Rate Another Percentage Point — Update

Brazil’s Central Bank Cuts Selic Rate Another Percentage Point — Update

BRASÍLIA — Brazil’s central bank cut borrowing costs to single-digit levels for the first time in nearly four years, as a sluggish economic recovery has kept a lid on consumer prices.
The bank’s monetary policy committee said Wednesday it cut the benchmark Selic rate to 9.25% from 10.25%, the third consecutive cut of a full percentage point. “The pace of easing will continue to depend on the evolution of economic activity, the balance of risks, possible reassessments of the extension of the cycle, and on inflation forecasts and expectations,” the bank said. “This lets us imagine that they may keep the pace given slow activity and low inflation.”
Economists polled weekly by the central bank forecast the Selic will end this year at 8%.
As of May, government spending was outstripping tax revenue at a pace equal to 9.2% of gross domestic product.
Most government spending is mandatory, leaving policy makers with few options to tackle the deficit aside from cutting public investments or raising the already high tax burden.
Last week, the government raised fuel taxes to meet its already low fiscal targets.
Those concerns haven’t materialized so far, thanks mainly to tame conditions in international markets and high unemployment in Brazil.
Brazil’s currency also has recovered ground over the past year or so.

Australia Unemployment Rate Slips To 5.5 Percent In May

Australia Unemployment Rate Slips To 5.5 Percent In May

Australia Unemployment Rate Slips To 5.5 Percent In May.
(RTTNews) – The jobless rate in Australia came in at a seasonally adjusted 5.5 percent in May, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday.
That beat forecasts for 5.7 percent, which would have been unchanged from the April reading.
The Australian economy added 42,000 jobs to 12,152,600 in May – well above forecasts for 10,000 following the upwardly revised 46,100 added in the previous month (originally 37,400).
Full-time employment increased 52,100 to 8,287,400 and part-time employment decreased 10,100 to 3,865,200.
Unemployment decreased 18,600 to 711,900.
The number of unemployed persons looking for full-time work decreased 23,000 to 489,300 and the number of unemployed persons only looking for part-time work increased 4,400 to 222,700.
The participation rate was 64.9 percent – topping expectations for 64.8 percent, which would have been unchanged.
The labor force underemployment rate decreased 0.1 points to 8.8 percent.
The underutilization rate decreased 0.4 points to 14.4 percent.