More bad job news as American economy sputters

An ugly jobs report — with the economy in March adding the fewest new workers in well over a year — is the latest reminder that the U.S. employment market no longer works for far too many Americans. For many months now, job creation in monthly Labor Department reports has been reasonably robust. But long-term unemployment has stayed unacceptably high, and wages have remained flat. That disheartening streak got worse last month with just 126,000 jobs created, about half those expected, and downward revisions for earlier months. The loss of job-creation momentum is worrisome. More serious is what it says about underlying weaknesses throughout the economy. Even as productivity has shot up over the past 20 years, those gains have accrued to the few at the top. A new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows most Americans earned less in June 2014 than they had two years earlier. Only the top 20% of earners made more. Adjusted for inflation, the median income is now less than it was when President Obama took office, and less than it was when President Bush took office before him. With four in five Americans behind where they were a few years ago, it’s no wonder, as Fed Chair Janet Yellen noted Thursday, “roughly 80% of Americans across the ideological spectrum see inequality as a moderately big or very big problem.” But inequality is a symptom, albeit a serious and glaring one, of the disease of America’s declining competitiveness and economic stagnation. Ignore the unemployment number, which doesn’t count those who’ve given up on looking for work. Instead note that even as the population has grown, the country has 2.3 million fewer full-time jobs than it did in 2007 and an anemic 63% labor force participation rate. Boosting wages for those at the bottom — who’ve seen fixed costs, like housing and food keep going up even as their pay has gone down — can help Continue Reading

Bill de Blasio signs law to ban employers from asking job candidates about criminal history

In front of emotional supporters, Mayor de Blasio signed legislation Monday that will prohibit employers from inquiring about a candidate's criminal record prior to a job offer. "Today I see hope for people like me," said Marilyn Scales, 52, of the Bronx, who said she never has had a full-time job because of her record for dealing heroin. The mayor also signed legislation to step up regulation of the car wash industry. Car washes will have to obtain biannual city licenses as well as a $150,000 bond to cover costs if they are sued for wage theft. FOLLOW THE DAILY NEWS ON FACEBOOK. CLICK HERE TO "LIKE." Steve Rotlevi, owner of Zoom Car Spa in Brooklyn and head of Association of Car Washers, said the law was onerous. "It is putting a gun to small business' head," he said. "It is the highest requirement for any city licensed industry." Continue Reading

Obama touts newest jobs report showing U.S. added 223,000 jobs in April, as unemployment rate lowest in 7 years

President Obama used the positive new jobs report Friday to stick it to Republican critics who predicted Obamacare would tank the U.S. economy. A grinning Obama let loose after the Labor Department reported that employers added 223,000 jobs in April — a solid gain after a mediocre March and a strong indicator that the economy is recovering after a woeful winter. “Sixty-two months ago is when I signed the Affordable Care Act,” Obama said on a visit to Nike headquarters in Oregon. “So, obviously, it hasn't done too bad in terms of employment in this country. I just thought I'd mention that. Since there were a lot of predictions of doom and gloom.” House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican and strident Obamacare critic, conceded in a statement “the economy continues to show some signs of improvement.” But Boehner also added, “too many Americans remain out of work, and too many are working harder only to lose ground to stagnant wages and rising costs.” There was more good news for Obama and the country in the new jobs report — the unemployment rate ticked down to 5.4 percent from 5.5 percent in March, which is the lowest level since May 2008. “Today’s report argues that the economy is in decent health,” says Scott Clemons, chief investment strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman Private Banking. Obama has now presided over 62 straight months of job growth — a streak that appeared to be in jeopardy after a first quarter slowdown this year during which the U.S. economy is believed to have contracted from January through March. Jason Furman, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, noted that more than 200,000 jobs have been created “in thirteen of the past fourteen months, the first time that has happened since 1995.” If that trend continues, the Republicans vying to succeed Obama in the 2016 president Continue Reading

Gay ex-NYPD cop sues to get job back after settling discrimination claims

A former NYPD cop who received a six-figure settlement for his lawsuit alleging discrimination for being gay is suing the city again to get rehired. Michael Harrington claims the NYPD doesn't want him back because he complained in a 2007 state court lawsuit that he was harassed by homophobic cops in Brooklyn's 75th Precinct station house and even in Greenwich Village's 6th Precinct, where he had been transferred so he could be "with his people," in the purported words of a sergeant. Harrington resigned from the NYPD in 2009, then sought his job back within the one-year window for reinstatement, according to court papers filed Monday in Brooklyn Federal Court. He passed the required tests but was rejected, so he moved west and joined the Newark Police Department in California. Harrington received about $175,000 from New York City to settle the discrimination lawsuit in 2010. Then he took the NYPD written exam, but his application has been stalled. Harrington, 38, would be too old to take another written exam if the current civil service hiring list expires. "He should have been hired by now," Harrington's lawyer Michael O'Neill told The Daily News. "They're trying to keep him off the force. "He likes being a cop and there are a lot of assignments in the police department without him going back to where there were problems," O'Neill added. In his first lawsuit, Harrington alleged an officer told him, "All f----ts should be shot." Harrington, who lives in Westchester with his partner, a correction officer, contended colleagues in his first precinct, in East New York, Brooklyn, began calling him a "f----t" after he told them he was gay. After receiving a death threat in interoffice mail, he complained to his Patrolmen's Benevolent Association delegate, he said, but the union rep allegedly tore up the letter in front of him. A spokesman for the city Law Department had no immediate comment Monday. Continue Reading

Australian woman loses job after accidently sending boss insulting text

A woman who texted her boss that he was a "complete d--k" has lost her case for unfair dismissal. Louise Nesbitt had claimed the text was just a joke, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. She had meant to send to the text to her daughter's boyfriend but sent it to her boss instead. A horrified Nesbitt immediately realized what she had done and sent an apologetic text, claiming: "Rob, please delete without reading. I am so, so, so sorry. Xxx." She then claimed the message was because of her sense of humor. Nesbitt worked at a mineral exploration company in Perth, Australia. She had worked at the company for six years before losing her job. The text was cited as the main reason for Nesbitt losing her job but the working relationship between her and her boss was said to have deteriorated in previous months. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

One million people sign petition for ‘Top Gear’ host Jeremy Clarkson to keep his job, delivered to BBC by man driving tank

Jeremy Clarkson might think he will be fired, but one million people want him to keep his job. The petition for the TV show host to stay behind the front wheel at "Top Gear" has topped one million, reports the Telegraph. And it was delivered in hand by a man dressed as the program's driver, The Stig, in a military vehicle to BBC offices in central London. Clarkson, 54, has been suspended after a "fracas" with one of the show's producers. Earlier this week, Clarkson, 54, launched a swear-filled tirade against BBC bosses, calling them "f------ bastards" and claiming he would be "sacked." At a charity event in London he said: "The BBC's f----- themselves, so who gives a f---. It was a great show and they f----- up." "Top Gear" is one of the BBC's best-loved and most profitable shows, with audiences across the globe. The BBC has launched an inquiry into the "fracas," which according to some reports, saw Clarkson punch a producer and call him a "lazy Irish c---" after Clarkson couldn't get a meal after a day's filming. He has been on thin ice for several months after a number of controversies, including one last May when he was caught on camera saying the N-word, while reciting a nursery rhyme. Continue Reading

U.S. economy adds 126,000 jobs in March, ends 12-month stretch of gains above 200,000

The great American job-creating machine has hit a pothole on the road to recovery. After 12 straight months of jobs gains in excess of 200,000, the U.S. economy added just a disappointing 126,000 in March, the Labor Department reported Friday. While the unemployment rate remained at 5.5% and the feds reported a slight uptick in wages, this was the weakest showing since December 2013 — and less than half what the experts had been forecasting. Analysts blamed a combination of unexpectedly lousy weather in the Northeast, a manufacturing decline and the fact that consumers are not spending despite being more flush with cash because of cheap gas prices for the anemic employment report. Also, they said the steep drop after a February during which a much-better-than expected 295,000 jobs were added made the new report seem worse than it is. “Employers aren’t laying people off,” Patrick O’Keefe of the consulting firm CohnReznick told The Associated Press. “What they’ve decided to do is slow down the pace at which they’re hiring until they have more confidence.” “Job growth has been running at a stupendous pace in America over the last several months, increasingly out of tune with other economic indicators, which have pointed to a slowdown,” added James Marple, senior economist at TD Economics. “The reckoning in March closes at least some of this gap.”’ President Obama, who has spent much of his presidency digging the economy out of a recession he inherited from his Republican predecessor, noted that on his watch the U.S. economy has had 61 straight months of private sector job gains. “But we've got to be relentless in our work to grow the economy and create good jobs,” he said Friday while on a visit to Utah to tout the rapidly growing solar energy industry. “Parts of the globe have Continue Reading

‘Top Gear’ host Jeremy Clarkson tells colleague he ‘will lose his job’

Jeremy Clarkson might not be in top shape for a return to “Top Gear.” Just days after the British TV personality was suspended for a “fracas” with a producer, Clarkson was sent a letter Thursday calling him in for a disciplinary meeting that will determine his future with the BBC, The London Evening Standard reports. Clarkson, one of three hosts of the popular BBC2 series, was suspended by the network Tuesday for an altercation “over the lack of hot food at a Yorkshire hotel,” according to the Standard. The host is also facing a new allegation that he told his college that he would lose his job. "He said he hadn't done his job properly, it was ridiculous that there was nothing to eat, obviously there was lots of expletives in between all this, and that he would be losing his job, he would see to it that he would lose his job," onlooker Sue Ward told Sky News. The host’s suspension over the incident is just the latest controversy during his time as “Top Gear” host. The 54-year-old presenter has been in trouble in the past for remarks deemed racist and offensive. He was said to have been given a “final warning” following his recital of a nursery rhyme in an unaired clip from the series, in which he later admitted to mumbling a racist word. Clarkson’s off-set behavior has impacted “Top Gear” itself, with BBC News reporting Wednesday that the network postponed airing the three remaining episodes in the wake of the host’s suspension. Despite the popular series getting yanked off the air, “Top Gear” co-host James May described the incident that sparked Clarkson’s suspension as a “bit of a dustup.” “But I don’t think it’s that serious,” he added. It seems his fellow “Top Gear” host feels the same way: A source tells The Guardian that Clarkson Continue Reading

Unemployment aid applications plunge in sign that job market is improving

The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits dropped significantly last week, a sign of a strong job market despite evidence of tepid economic growth in the opening months of 2015. Weekly applications for jobless aid fell 20,000 to a seasonally adjusted 268,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. That put jobless claims near a 15-year low of 267,000 filings in late January. The decrease shows that a slowdown in manufacturing and construction has failed to spook employers, who may be anticipating a strong spring rebound after a bleak winter. “The claims numbers simply do not support the idea that the first quarter slowdown in growth is indicative of some underlying malaise in the economy,” said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, tumbled 14,750 to 285,500. Over the past 12 months, the average has fallen 11.7 percent. Applications are a proxy for layoffs. The relatively low average shows that employers are holding onto workers and may increase hiring. Applications below 300,000 are generally consistent with solid monthly job gains. Layoffs have stayed close to historic lows, despite a pronounced economic slowdown in recent months. Snowstorms have kept consumers away from stores and open houses. The stronger dollar has hurt U.S. factories exporting overseas, since their products have basically surged in price around the world. Similarly, falling oil prices have cut into the production of pipelines, primary metals and machinery. That has also sliced into the bottom line of manufacturers, even though the savings from cheaper oil should eventually spur more spending by consumers. Yet employers continue to hire at a brisk pace. The government’s employment report being released Friday is expected to show that employers added 248,000 jobs in March, according to FactSet. That would mark a decrease from Continue Reading

Mets’ Noah Syndergaard hurls insults at fan on Twitter: ‘I’m sure you call in sick to your pathetic 9-5 job’

Noah Syndergaard isn’t well enough to take the mound, but the Mets’ top pitching prospect mustered up the strength to hurl some insults at a fan who called him “soft.” After it was announced that Syndergaard would miss his scheduled start for Triple-A Las Vegas on Friday night — because of a “gastro” issue, according to Mets GM Sandy Alderson — the righthander engaged in a war of words on Twitter with a follower who criticized him. When someone tweeted that Syndergaard was “soft,” the 22-year-old responded, “I’m sure you call in sick to your pathetic 9-5 job all the time. Or you might not have one.” He also said, “I really hope you don’t reproduce.” When asked if he would prefer Syndergaard not respond to criticism on social media, Alderson laughed. “Yes. Generally speaking, Twitter’s more of a trap than a means of positive communication for athletes and executives,” Alderson said. “I cautioned him against it. That’s something the organization addresses immediately.” Syndergaard clearly felt attacked. He also tweeted: “I’m allowed to stick up for myself aren’t i?” It wasn’t the first time Syndergaard has taken heat for comments on Twitter. He used a slur against homosexuals on the social media site in December of 2012. Syndergaard, who suffered through forearm issues in the spring, which delayed his first start of the season at Triple-A, required an IV for dehydration after suffering from food poisoning. “He had to have an IV, so it was fairly serious,” Alderson said. “He’ll probably miss one start.” In two starts this season, Syndergaard has a 4.70 ERA over 7.2 innings. NOTHING TO CC HERE “No,” was Sabathia’s succinct answer when asked if he was any more amped then usual about Continue Reading