Census Shows Continued Economic Suffering From Recession

Map of the 21 counties of the State of New Jersey

Map of the 21 counties of the State of New Jersey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The typical New Jersey household’s income dropped again last year, the fifth consecutive decline, according to new data released yesterday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Not surprisingly, as incomes fell, the ranks of the poor rose.

“The latest federal statistics show there are more people in our state struggling in poverty than during any period in half a century,” says Melville D. Miller Jr., president of Legal Services of New Jersey. “That can cripple the development of our children and our state’s economic and social future.”

The latest Census estimates put the median household income in the state at $67,458. When adjusted for inflation, that was 3.4 percent less than in 2010 and 8.1 percent less than in 2008, the first full year of the recent recession. It’s also less than the actual, unadjusted, median incomes for the prior three years and only slightly above 2007’s actual median income of $67,035 — $72,666 in 2011 inflation-adjusted dollars.

Read more: http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/12/09/20//

Rural Food Banks Struggle To Meet Need

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Greene County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Greene County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Like the people they help, food pantries throughout southwestern Pennsylvania are struggling — and in some cases, failing — to make ends meet as skimpy federal food supplies, a tighter state budget, higher food prices and more needy clients strain resources.

Food banks around the region are reducing the number of fruits and vegetables they distribute, trimming or even eliminating expensive protein sources such as eggs and peanut butter from the boxes given to their clients, and in some cases, must consider scaling back their operations.

In Greene County, for instance, board members of the Waynesburg-based food bank, The Corner Cupboard, were spared Monday from slashing their food box distribution from monthly to bimonthly only after a last-minute $10,000 donation from natural gas drilling company EQT, according to board member John Jenkins.

“I don’t want to tell people we don’t have food for them, my God, but there’s just nothing we can do right now,” Mr. Jenkins said. “We’ve robbed Peter to pay Paul to try to stay afloat as it is.”

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/region/rural-food-banks-struggle-to-meet-need-653436/#ixzz26bApTVGG

Lehigh Valley Unemployment Rate Spikes

he Lehigh Valley‘s unemployment rate spiked again in July as the number of people looking for work continues to grow faster than businesses add jobs.

The unemployment rate hit 8.8 percent in July, up from 8.5 percent in June, according to data released Tuesday by the state Department of Labor and Industry.  It is the second straight month the unemployment rate increased even though the number of Valley residents working grew.

A total of 395,300 Valley area residents had jobs in July, the highest that number has been since November 2008, just as the Great Recession was taking hold.  But the workforce is growing at a faster pace.

From May to July, 6,700 new workers entered the labor pool, but fewer than half of them — 3,200 — found jobs.  When the workforce grows faster than businesses add jobs, the unemployment rate goes up.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/business/mc-lehigh-valley-jobs-july-20120828,0,386387.story

Target Steals Title Of ‘Cheapest’ From Wal-Mart

English: Logo of Target, US-based retail chain

English: Logo of Target, US-based retail chain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  There is a very good video to watch if you click on the link below.

For the first time since October, Target gas reclaimed the title  of  “cheapest” from its fellow big-box retailer, Bloomberg reported, and the gap was the biggest its been in the two years the difference has been tracked.

That’s especially important in today’s economy, as cheap is exactly what consumers are looking for.  High unemployment, coupled with rising gas and food prices, means customers are as cash-conscious as ever.  And while retail sales finally improved in July, that was one of the first good signs for the sector in months.

Both companies have thus been trying to lure in those penny-pinching customers with discounts and slashed prices. The key to Target’s success in the pricing department  came from the addition of groceries to many stores, which cut into Wal-Mart‘s advantage on food prices.  The company has also added discount incentives through its REDCard.

Read more: http://money.msn.com/top-stocks/post.aspx?post=84caede6-927a-488e-842c-322ae9654306

General Dynamics To Lay Off One-Quarter Of Workers At Scranton Munitions Plant

General Dynamics will lay off about one-quarter of the workers at its Scranton munitions plant by the end of the year.

The defense conglomerate, which is based near Washington, D.C., reported it will reduce its workforce from 245 to 185 in three increments between October and December. The 60 layoffs will take place as work is completed on two contracts for production of 120mm mortar shell bodies, said Laurie Van Brocklin, a General Dynamics spokeswoman.

“We regret the impact that the action has on employees,” Ms. Van Brocklin said. “We are hopeful, with successful bids on mortar bodies contracts, that we will be able to rectify that.”

The layoffs will leave the 500,000-square-foot plant with fewer than half the employees it had when General Dynamics acquired it six years ago.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/general-dynamics-to-lay-off-one-quarter-of-workers-at-scranton-munitions-plant-1.1359821

PhillyInc: Reports See Slow Recovery For Philadephia Area

English: Philadelphia skyline

English: Philadelphia skyline (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The construction cranes that now dot Philadelphia are a welcome sign that some business is getting done, but the steel structures tend to distract the eye from the local economy’s challenges closer to the ground.

The latest quarterly reading of Select Greater Philadelphia‘s leading economic indicators points to mid-2014 as the earliest point when employment in the 11-county region will return to its prerecession level.

A separate analysis of the Philadelphia market by PNC Financial Services Group Inc. recently concluded that the region will continue to lag behind the nation in economic growth, job growth, and income growth.

What’s going on here? Don’t we have an emerging entrepreneurial tech community, a growing business professional services sector, and an enviable cluster of top-notch higher education and health-care institutions?

Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20120810_PhillyInc__Reports_see_slow_recovery_for_Phila__area.html#ixzz23AG6vpUA
Watch sports videos you won’t find anywhere else

Sparrows Point Purchased For $72 Million By Plant Liquidator

Steel mill workers were hoping for an operator, but none show at auction

BETHLEHEM STEEL PLANT AT SPARROWS POINT - NARA...

BETHLEHEM STEEL PLANT AT SPARROWS POINT – NARA – 546808 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A liquidation firm won the bidding for Sparrows Point, offering $72 million for the Baltimore County steel mill — less than a tenth of what the complex sold for just four years earlier — and realizing the worst fears of its roughly 2,000 employees.

Mill advocates vowed to push for a miracle to keep steelmaking going there.  The local United Steelworkers union had hoped for a steelmaker would buy and restart the mill — idled after owner RG Steel filed for bankruptcy in May.  But no steelmaking companies showed up to bid at the Tuesday afternoon auction in New York, said Joe Rosel, president of Local 9477 in Locust Point.

The mill’s general manager, Glenn Mikaloff, sent an email to managers late Tuesday that identified Hilco as the winner and the size of its bid.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/business/bs-bz-sparrows-point-sold-20120808,0,1409767.story

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Jobless Rate Jumps To Nine-Month High

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Unemployment in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metropolitan area shot to a nine-month high in June, according to data released today by the state Department of Labor and Industry.

The rate hit 9.3 percent, up sixth-tenths of a percentage point from May. It was the region’s highest jobless rate since September, when it was 9.7 percent.

“It’s negative, there’s no question, but it’s not as bad as it sounds,” said Anthony Liuzzo, Ph.D., a business and economics professor at Wilkes University. “It takes the wind out of our sails a little bit when we see numbers like this.”

The region’s unemployment rate remained Pennsylvania’s highest for the 27th consecutive month.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/business/region-s-jobless-rate-jumps-to-nine-month-high-1.1352249

Consumer Sentiment Falls To 2012 Low

(Reuters) – Consumer sentiment fizzled in July, falling to its lowest level of the year, as Americans took a dim view of the employment situation and their income prospects, a survey showed on Friday.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan‘s final reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment fell to 72.3 from 73.2 in June. It was the second month in a row attitudes have soured and the lowest level since December.

But the level was a touch higher than economists’ expectations for it to be unchanged from July’s preliminary reading of 72.

“While consumers do not anticipate an economy-wide recessionary decline, they do not expect a pace of economic growth that could satisfactorily revive job and income prospects,” survey director Richard Curtin said in a statement.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/27/us-usa-economy-sentiment-idUSBRE86Q0T620120727

US Economic Growth Slowed To 1.5 Percent Rate In Second Quarter

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of just 1.5 percent from April through June, as Americans cut back sharply on spending.  The slowdown in growth adds to worries that the economy could be stalling three years after the recession ended.

The Commerce Department also said Friday that the economy grew a little better than previously thought in the January-March quarter.  It raised its estimate to a 2 percent rate, up from 1.9 percent.

Growth at or below 2 percent isn’t enough to lower the unemployment rate, which was 8.2 percent last month. And most economists don’t expect growth to pick up much in the second half of the year.  Europe’s financial crisis and a looming budget crisis in the U.S. are expected to slow business investment further.

Read more: http://hosted2.ap.org/PASCR/a5050f4ad4f44dafab85bb41a15281cf/Article_2012-07-27-US-Economy-GDP/id-a8fa417340a94237b704b53fa94dd871

Fitch Ratings Keeps US At Top ‘AAA’ Credit Rating

WASHINGTON — Fitch Ratings has retained the U.S. at its top ‘AAAcredit rating but also left the outlook negative, citing the failure of Congress and the Obama administration to forge an agreement on reducing the budget deficit.

Fitch says that uncertainty over federal tax and spending policies related to the so-called fiscal cliff “weighs on the near-term economic outlook” and raises the prospect of another recession.

A massive budget showdown could begin after the elections in November and stretch well into next year, despite the threat of the fiscal cliff – $500 billion in impending tax increases and spending cuts.

Fitch also says the burden of government debt on the economy will continue to rise and could hurt growth if an agreement isn’t reached on the deficit.

Shuttered Schools Are Costly To Keep But Selling Them Can Be Unprofitable

When a school’s doors are closed for good, a building that cost millions to build can sit vacant and unused for years until it’s sold for a fraction of its worth.

The state of the economy, zoning laws and the institutional makeup of the structures all make schools a hard sell. And as long as the district owns the building, it has to pay for maintenance even if no warm bodies are moving through the hallways.

Doug Haring, a city real estate appraiser, said selling schools has become brutally expensive.

“Everything is a lot harder to do today, and that translates into more expense,” Haring said, referring to stricter zoning laws and municipal building code restrictions.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=396633

Lancaster County’s Jobless Rate Edges Up To 6.2 Percent

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Lancaster County unemployment rate rose slightly to 6.2 percent in May, the state Department of Labor & Industry reported Monday.

The increase from April’s 6.1 percent was the first uptick in the local jobless rate since August.

Despite edging higher, the Lancaster County jobless rate remained among the best in Pennsylvania.

Of the 14 metropolitan areas in the state, only State College (5.5 percent) and Lebanon (6.1 percent) fared better.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/676707_Lancaster-County-s-jobless-rate-edges-up-to-6-2-percent.html#ixzz1z2IHzaBK

Mack Reports Another Strong Month

 

MACK TRUCKS

MACK TRUCKS (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mack Trucks is continuing to see high demand for its rigs.

The truckmaker produced 2,687 rigs in May, up almost 60 percent over the same month a year ago, the company reported Monday.

Mack, a division of Sweden’s Volvo AB, is headquartered in Greensboro, N.C., and produces all rigs at its Lower Macungie Township plant, which employs roughly 1,700 workers.

The company has produced 12,191 rigs through May, up 56 percent compared with the same span in 2011.

Rep. Tom Quigley To Speak On Local Job Creation

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

TCN Membership Meeting

Rep. Tom Quigley to Speak on Local Job Creation

 Tuesday, May 15, 8am-10am

Montgomery County Community College, West Campus

Community Room, 101 College Drive, Pottstown

Special thanks to our breakfast sponsor
Money Management International

For more information or to register call 610-705-3301, Ext. 2.

 Membership Meeting Agenda

8:00am-8:30am Breakfast & Networking

8:30am-8:40am Introductions

8:40am-8:50am Announcements

8:50am-9:00am Breakfast Sponsor Presentation

9:00am-10:00am Presentation

Pennsylvania Losing Extended Unemployment Aid

Map of Pennsylvania, showing major cities and ...

Map of Pennsylvania, showing major cities and roads (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HARRISBURG, PA — Pennsylvania‘s unemployment rate is now too low for it to continue offering 13 weeks of extended unemployment benefits, the U.S. Department of Labor and Industry says.

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate was 7.5 percent in March, down from a 12-month high of 8.3 percent in September.

Right now, jobless Pennsylvanians receive 26 weeks of state-funded benefits and, once that runs out, 47 weeks of federally funded Emergency Unemployment Compensation. The extended benefits provided 13 weeks of additional aid beyond that 47-week window.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/pennsylvania/mc-pa-unemployment-compensation-20120504,0,1579587.story

Lancaster County Jobless Rate Dips To 6%

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lancaster County‘s unemployment rate receded again in March, the state said Monday.

The jobless rate slid to 6.0 percent from February’s 6.2 percent, the fifth consecutive monthly decline.

The new rate is the lowest in Lancaster County since January 2009, when the rate stood at 5.9 percent.

“We still might have the occasional blip here or there, but the rate is heading in the right direction,” said Bill Sholly, an analyst with the state Department of Labor & Industry.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/638749_Lancaster-County-jobless-rate-dips-to-6-.html#ixzz1tm1RlTiK

Cops: Theft Of Scrap Metal Becoming An Epidemic

Cops: Theft of scrap metal becoming an epidemic

The cases make the news with frequency.

Last month, a thief stole copper piping from a Moosic Street home owned by the wife of the late former Scranton Police Chief James Klee.

There are houses that have flooded when thieves tore out copper piping. A man whose electrocuted body was found under a utility pole in Wright Twp. was killed trying to steal aluminum from power lines.

In November, Dunmore police arrested a Scranton man who twice broke into a PPL Electric Utilities plant on Larch Street to steal copper wire.

Police say that scrap-metal thefts have become an “epidemic” that is hard to fight.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/cops-theft-of-scrap-metal-becoming-an-epidemic-1.1308108#ixzz1tXMxrKVO

Unfinished West Reading Project Leaves Residents With Dirt, Weeds, Fading Hopes

Every year on the anniversary of her move-in date, Holly Zdravecki picks up the phone to call West Reading Borough Hall.

She bought the first town house in the promising Villas at West Reading development off Tulpehocken Avenue on March 16, 2008.

But Zdravecki still doesn’t have a paved street in front of her home.

Instead, mounds of dirt covered with grass and weeds adorn the lot at the entrance to the development. Six large concrete foundations with utility lines poking through the ground make up the north side of the complex.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=379000

Report: Sony To Axe 10,000 Jobs In Turnaround Bid

 

The logo of Sony is not considered a "wor...

The logo of Sony is not considered a "work of authorship" because it only consists of text in a simple typeface, so it is not an object of copyright in respect to US law. However, this logo is still protected by trademark laws. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Japan’s Sony Corp. is cutting 10,000 jobs, about 6 percent of its global workforce, the Nikkei newspaper reported on Monday, as new CEO Kazuo Hirai looks to steer the electronics and entertainment giant back to profit after four years in the red.

The job cuts would be the latest downsizing in Japan Inc where companies from cellphone maker NEC Corp. to electronics firm Panasonic Corp. are trimming costs in the face of a strong yen and competition from rivals like Apple and Samsung Electronics.

TV makers in particular have been hit hard by the tough business climate as well as sharp price falls, with Sony, Panasonic and Sharp expecting to have lost a combined $17 billion in the fiscal year just ended.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/business/chi-sony-to-axe-10000-jobs-in-turnaround-bid-20120409,0,38906.story