07-18-2018  10:02 am      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

Experience the Culture at the Second Annual Pan African Festival of Oregon

Event will take place from 12 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. August 11 ...

Oregon Humane Society Photo Contest Now Open

Submissions for annual pet photo contest open until August 15 ...

Mark Christopher Lawrence to Perform at Harvey’s Comedy Club July 13-15

Former Big Mike of “Chuck” will perform at 7:30 and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 7:30 Sunday ...

Dragon Fest 2018

Lions, dragons and breakdancers descend on Seattle’s Chinatown-International District for the Pacific Northwest’s largest...

Editorials from around Oregon

Selected editorials from Oregon newspapers:_____Albany Democrat-Herald, July 18, on election reform:On Tuesday, President Donald Trump said he misspoke the previous day about whether he believed the assessment of his intelligence agencies, that Russia meddled with the 2016 elections.During a press...

Advancing wildfire prompts evacuations in Oregon

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has invoked an emergency order in response to a wildfire burning in two north-central counties and mandatory evacuations for dozens of households.The Emergency Conflagration Act announced early Wednesday allows the Oregon fire marshal to mobilize...

Advancing wildfire prompts evacuations in Oregon

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has invoked an emergency order in response to a wildfire burning in two north-central counties and mandatory evacuations for dozens of households.The Emergency Conflagration Act announced early Wednesday allows the Oregon fire marshal to mobilize...

Detectives investigate death of Spokane County Jail inmate

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — The Spokane County Sheriff's Office says detectives are investigating the death of an inmate at the county jail.The prisoner was found dead in a cell a little after 1 p.m. Tuesday. The death was discovered while inmates on that floor were being released from their cells...

OPINION

A Letter from America’s Children

American children struggling with poverty, violence and homelessness, deserve media coverage, too ...

Rep. Maxine Waters Takes Strong Stand for Fair Housing

Congresswoman Maxine Waters recently stepped up to file legislation designed to cure many of regressive ills pushed by Secretary Carson ...

10 Indoor Plants Every Pet Lover Must Have

Dr. Jasmine Streeter shares her tips on stress-busting plants ...

NAACP Statement on Nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court

NAACP opposes Kavanaugh's confirmation to the D.C. Circuit ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

South Africa, Obama mark Mandela centennial with charity

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africans along with former U.S. President Barack Obama were marking the centennial of anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela's birth on Wednesday with acts of charity in a country still struggling with deep economic inequality 24 years after the end of white minority...

Texas executes man for 2004 slaying of store owner

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — A Texas prisoner was executed Tuesday evening for the fatal shooting of a San Antonio convenience store owner after courts turned down appeals that the state parole board improperly rejected the inmate's clemency request because he's black.Christopher Young, 34,...

The Latest: Texas executes man for 2004 store owner slaying

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — The Latest on the Texas execution (all times local):6:45 p.m.A 34-year-old Texas prisoner has been executed for the fatal shooting of a San Antonio convenience store owner during an attempted robbery nearly 14 years ago.Christopher Young received a lethal injection...

ENTERTAINMENT

Film Review: Denzel Washington kills in 'The Equalizer 2'

You won't usually find Denzel Washington in a movie sequel. He just doesn't do them. Something about not wanting to repeat himself. So there must be something special indeed for him to break his own rule for "The Equalizer 2."Fans of the first film will instantly know why Washington is drawn to the...

A Comic-Con without Marvel, HBO gives others a chance to pop

Over 130,000 pop culture devotees are descending on San Diego's Gaslamp District on Wednesday for the annual four-day comic book convention Comic-Con, the big, bright and very heavily branded confab of costumed superfans and the corporate sponsors vying for their attention — and...

Chris Christie to 'set record straight' in 'Let Me Finish'

NEW YORK (AP) — Chris Christie has a book coming out next year and he doesn't plan on holding back.Hachette Books confirmed to The Associated Press on Wednesday that the former New Jersey governor's "Let Me Finish: Trump, the Kushners, Bannon, New Jersey, and the Power of In-Your-Face...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

A Comic-Con without Marvel, HBO gives others a chance to pop

Over 130,000 pop culture devotees are descending on San Diego's Gaslamp District on Wednesday for the annual...

Done deal: Leonard goes to Raptors, DeRozan goes to Spurs

The Kawhi Leonard saga in San Antonio is finally over. So is DeMar DeRozan's time in Toronto.An NBA summer...

Trump: New Air Force One to get red, white and blue makeover

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says Air Force One is getting a patriotic makeover.Trump says the...

Nazi hunter slams right-wing singer at Croatia celebration

ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) — The Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Center has strongly criticized a far-right...

Australia succeeds in stopping migrants but many in limbo

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — When Abdul Aziz reached Australia's Christmas Island aboard a smuggler's boat in...

1st commercial flight from Ethiopia to ex-rival Eritrea

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Hailed as "the bird of peace," the first commercial flight from Ethiopia to former...

Paul Wiseman AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Strong second-quarter earnings from McDonald's, General Electric and Caterpillar on Friday are just the latest proof that booming profits have allowed Corporate America to leave the Great Recession far behind.

But millions of ordinary Americans are stranded in a labor market that looks like it's still in recession. Unemployment is stuck at 9.2 percent, two years into what economists call a recovery. Job growth has been slow and wages stagnant.

"I've never seen labor markets this weak in 35 years of research," says Andrew Sum, director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University.

Wages and salaries accounted for just 1 percent of economic growth in the first 18 months after economists declared that the recession had ended in June 2009, according to Sum and other Northeastern researchers.

In the same period after the 2001 recession, wages and salaries accounted for 15 percent. They were 50 percent after the 1991-92 recession and 25 percent after the 1981-82 recession.

Corporate profits, by contrast, accounted for an unprecedented 88 percent of economic growth during those first 18 months. That's compared with 53 percent after the 2001 recession, nothing after the 1991-92 recession and 28 percent after the 1981-82 recession.

What's behind the disconnect between strong corporate profits and a weak labor market? Several factors:

- U.S. corporations are expanding overseas, not so much at home. McDonalds and Caterpillar said overseas sales growth outperformed the U.S. in the April-June quarter. U.S.-based multinational companies have been focused overseas for years: In the 2000s, they added 2.4 million jobs in foreign countries and cut 2.9 million jobs in the United States, according to the Commerce Department.

- Back in the U.S., companies are squeezing more productivity out of staffs thinned out by layoffs during Great Recession. They don't need to hire. And they don't need to be generous with pay raises; they know their employees have nowhere else to go.

- Companies remain reluctant to spend the $1.9 trillion in cash they've accumulated, especially in the United States. They're unconvinced that consumers are ready to spend again with the vigor they showed before the recession, and they are worried about uncertainty in U.S. government policies.

"Lack of clarity on a U.S. deficit-reduction plan, trade policy, regulation, much needed tax reform and the absence of a long-term plan to improve the country's deteriorating infrastructure do not create an environment that provides our customers with the confidence to invest," Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman said.

Caterpillar said second-quarter earnings shot up 44 percent to $1.02 billion- though that still disappointed Wall Street. General Electric's second-quarter earnings were up 21 percent to $3.76 billion. And McDonald's quarterly earnings increased 15 percent to $1.4 billion.

Still, the U.S. economy is missing the engines that usually drive it out of a recession.

Carl Van Horn, director of the Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University, says the housing market would normally revive in the early stages of an economic recovery, driving demand for building materials, construction workers and appliances. But that isn't happening this time.

And policymakers in Washington have chosen to focus on cutting federal spending to reduce huge federal deficits instead of spending money on programs to create jobs: "If we want the recovery to strengthen, we can't be doing that," says Chad Stone, chief economist at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

For now, corporations aren't eager to hire or hand out decent raises until they see consumers spending again. And consumers, still paying down the debts they ran up before the recession, can't spend freely until they're comfortable with their paychecks and secure in their jobs.

Said Van Horn: "I don't think there's an easy way out."

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