It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.
Let's talk about the surprisingly weak jobs report that came out from the Labor Department today. The numbers for March show just 120,000 new jobs were added to U.S. payrolls. That's considered a disappointment, even though the unemployment rate did decline slightly, to 8.2 percent.
NPR's John Ydstie is here to talk with us about what all this means. Hi, John.
Originally published on Fri April 6, 2012 10:37 am
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.
Close your books, America. It's time for a pop quiz.
Do you believe Barack Obama is:
a) The best of presidents? A blogger who goes by the name Troubadour on Daily Kos, Brian Altmeyer, pretty much makes the claim in a recent post: "Barack Obama is either the best President we've ever had, or more humbly, equal to the best Presidents we've ever had (and thereby one of their number)."
The morning's major news, if all goes as planned, will be the 8:30 a.m. ET release of the March jobs and unemployment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
According to Reuters, economists expect we'll hear that the unemployment rate stayed at 8.3 percent and that private and public employers added about 200,000 jobs to their payrolls. The jobless rate's recent peak was 10 percent, in October 2009.
A Swedish man got tired of drivers speeding through his neighborhood. Henrik Ismarker sent a Twitter message to the Stockholm police asking them to step up enforcement. The next day, according to a local news organization, police were on duty. A cop pulled over a speeding car, and the driver turned out to be the very same guy who had complained.
Average prices for cars are at an all-time high, reflecting increased demand and a healthier economy. The average car price has gone up nearly $2,000 since last year. Even though car prices are higher, buyers haven't shied away from picking up a new car.
Steve Inskeep talks to David Wessel, economics editor of The Wall Street Journal, about how the Republican budget by Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan compares with President Obama's proposal. The plans show differences on spending, taxes and dealing with the government.
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The mild New England winter means that more bears are up and about, looking for food — and not just in the woods. They're also exploring urban backyards and residential streets. The small town of Northampton, Mass., has more than its share of furry visitors.
In Northampton, a call on a neighborhood email list for tales of recent bear encounters netted about about a dozen responses in an hour. Almost everyone, it seems, has a bear story.
One of the worst school disasters in American history occurred 75 years ago, when an explosion killed hundreds of students at a school in East Texas. It was an event that etched itself into the memory of Kenneth Honeycutt, now 83.
"It was an explosion in the school building that led to the death of 300 students and teachers," he says. "It was caused by an accumulation of gas throughout the school building."
The political ascent of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood has created some unease in Washington, and in an attempt to counter that, the group dispatched a delegation to the U.S. capital this week for meetings that range from administration officials to think tanks and universities.
The Brotherhood has rapidly evolved into a powerful political force since former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was ousted from power in February of last year.
President Obama signed the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (or JOBS) Act into law Thursday, legislation meant to make it easier for entrepreneurs to get investor financing that helps them add workers. Does that mean it will be harder for Republicans to frame Obama as anti-jobs?
"Well, if it works, it will make it harder," said Craig Shirley, a longtime conservative political strategist and writer who runs a Washington, D.C.-area public-affairs firm.
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum met with a group of conservative leaders Thursday behind closed doors at an office in Northern Virginia. They discussed the road ahead for Santorum's Republican presidential campaign as the polls tighten in his home state of Pennsylvania, which holds its primary on April 24.
A federal grand jury in Virginia has indicted former CIA officer John Kiriakou on charges that he violated the Espionage Act by allegedly sharing secret information about some of his colleagues with reporters.
A new batch of performers will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame later this month. In the weeks leading up to the induction ceremonies, Morning Edition is visiting the cities that gave birth to the inductees.
Step up to any newsstand in Australia, like the one in Melbourne's Central Business District, and ask who Rupert Murdoch is, and you might get an appraisal like this one from Tom Baxter, an officer with a local disability foundation: "Long time in newspapers, ruthless; dedicated to their craft; a global citizen."