The Washington Post reports New jobless claims surge to 626,000. “The number represents a larger-than-expected increase over the 591,000 people who filed for benefits the week before, and it sets the stage for another jump in the January unemployment rate when it is released Friday.”
Meanwhile the AP reports Productivity surges and labor pressures ease.
Productivity was increasing at the end of last year at three times the expected pace while labor costs slowed significantly, underscoring that a deepening recession has taken away the threat of inflation.
The Labor Department said Thursday that productivity rose at an annual rate of 3.2 percent in the final three months of last year, far above the 1.1 percent rise that economists had expected. The increase was double the 1.5 percent rise in productivity in the third quarter.
Americans are working harder for less money.
The CS Monitor reports From Minnesota to Texas, wind power sweeps new jobs into old-tech towns. “Before the nation’s financial crisis hit, wind manufacturing was on a roll. Riding a wave of wind-farm development, some 55 new or expanded facilities popped up nationwide just last year – from blade manufacturers to bearing makers – in what some describe as a new north-south wind manufacturing corridor running roughly from Minnesota to Texas.”
“Nationwide, wind-turbine manufacturing added 13,000 jobs for a total of 85,000 wind workers last year… Even amid the economic gloom, demand is still soaring in one wind-energy area: wind-turbine technicians. Wind-farm growth has come on so fast worldwide that huge demand remains for technicians to maintain them.”
But, The Guardian reports gloom from one of the companies featured in the Monitor’s article a Californian wind turbine firm axes staff as recession hits renewables sector. “Clipper Windpower said in a trading update that 90 staff would be laid off and production levels cut by up to a fifth… Clipper had been ramping up its production facilities at its main manufacturing base at Cedar Rapids in Iowa in anticipation of new demand. But the company said it was now ‘reducing overall operating expenses, component purchases and working capital balances to align with the lower production levels, including an 11% workforce reduction.'”
Four at Four continues with Wall Street pay, Treasury Department over paying for bailout ‘assets’, Dawa party’s big win in Iraq, and the U.S. Navy’s wargame plans for Oregon.