08-08-2022  7:09 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

White Woman Calls Police on Black Man Standing at His Home

“If you guys have a lease, I’d just like to see the lease,”

Oregon's Wildfire Risk Map Emerges as New Climate Flashpoint

A new map in Oregon that rated the wildfire risk of every tax lot in the state — labeling nearly 80,000 structures as high-risk — generated so much pushback from angry homeowners that officials abruptly retracted it

Seattle Ends COVID Hazard Pay for Grocery Store Workers

A policy passed in 2021 requiring grocery stores pay employees an additional per hour in hazard pay has just come to an end

Washington Voters Weigh in on Dozens of State Primary Races

Voters were deciding the top two candidates in races for the U.S. Senate, Congress and the secretary of state's office.

NEWS BRIEFS

Bicycle and Pedestrian Lane Reduction on Morrison Bridge Starts Next Week

The bicycle and pedestrian lanes will be reduced to seven feet to allow for painting crew and equipment. ...

King County Elections to Open Six Vote Centers for the Primary Election

Voters who need to register to vote, get a replacement ballot, or use an assistive device are encouraged to visit Vote Centers on...

Eugene Restaurant Owner Keeps All Tips Workers Earn, Uses Them to Pay Wages

The U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division found Ji Li, owner of Bao Bao House in Eugene, Oregon violated the Fair Labor...

Prosper Portland Awards More Than $1.8 Million in Community Livability Grants

Two projects in Gateway Regional Center, four projects in Central Eastside, five in Lents Town Center, eight in Interstate Corridor,...

Black Swimming Initiative and Metro Host Free Eco-Swim Camp at Broughton Beach on July 30

All ages are welcome to learn water safety, ecology and have fun in the water ...

Trump House pick overtakes Rep. who voted for impeachment

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Republican Joe Kent, who challenged incumbent Republican Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler over her vote to impeach former President Donald Trump, has taken a narrow lead in the race for the second spot in Washington state’s top two primary. Under the state's...

Coastal Washington tribe builds tsunami refuge tower

TOKELAND, Wash. (AP) — There’s a new option to escape a tsunami for people on the southwest coast of Washington. The Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe dedicated a 50-foot tall (15.2-meter) evacuation tower in Tokeland, Washington, on Friday, the Northwest News Network reported. ...

OPINION

Betsy Johnson Fails to Condemn Confederate Flags at Her Rally

The majority of Oregonians, including our rural communities, value inclusion and unity, not racism and bigotry. ...

Monkeypox, Covid, and Your Vote

We must start a voter registration drive right here where we live. This effort must become as important to us as putting food on the table and a roof over our heads. ...

Speaking of Reparations

To many Americans, “reparations” is a dirty word when applied to Black folks. ...

Improving Healthcare for Low-Income Americans Through Better Managed Care

Many should recognize that health equity – or ensuring that disadvantaged populations get customized approaches to care and better medical outcomes – is a top priority. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Father, son get life for hate crime in Ahmaud Arbery’s death

BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — The white father and son who chased and killed Ahmaud Arbery in a Georgia neighborhood each received a second life prison sentence Monday — for committing federal hate crimes, months after getting their first for murder — at a hearing that brought a close to more than...

Greg McMichael, who chased Ahmaud Arbery with his son, sentenced to life in prison for hate crime in Black man’s death

BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — Greg McMichael, who chased Ahmaud Arbery with his son, sentenced to life in prison for hate crime in Black man’s death....

MN school district policy bans teaching "divisive concepts"

BECKER, Minn. (AP) — A central Minnesota school district is clashing with the teachers union and LGBTQ allies over a proposed policy that opponents say would undermine equity and inclusion. The proposal by three Becker school board members prohibits “political indoctrination or...

ENTERTAINMENT

Jennette McCurdy rises above childhood trauma with new book

Jennette McCurdy is well-aware the title of her new book, “I'm Glad My Mom Died," (Simon & Schuster) is attention-grabbing. She also readily admits that she means every word. “It's something that I mean sincerely, I'm not saying it to be flippant." McCurdy, who co-starred in...

Review: Fake pregnancy transforms lonely salarywoman’s life

“Diary of a Void,” by Emi Yagi (Viking) Shibata-san, the only woman in her office group, is tired of cleaning up after the men. One day, when her section head asks her why dirty coffee cups are still lying around hours after a meeting, she improvises an astonishing lie. “I’m...

Review: Slick crime novel 'Heat 2' revisits a classic movie

“Heat 2: A Novel” by Michael Mann and Meg Gardiner (William Morrow) Hollywood screenwriter and director Michael Mann and veteran thriller writer Meg Gardiner have achieved a rarity with their novel “Heat 2”: a screen-to-page sequel that stands tall on its own. ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Russia, Ukraine trade accusations over nuclear plant attacks

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia and Ukraine traded accusations Monday that each side is shelling Europe's biggest...

In dry California, salty water creeps into key waterways

RIO VISTA, Calif. (AP) — Charlie Hamilton hasn't irrigated his vineyards with water from the Sacramento River...

Major test of first possible Lyme vaccine in 20 years begins

DUNCANSVILLE, Pa. (AP) — Researchers are seeking thousands of volunteers in the U.S. and Europe to test the...

Blinken says US is "equal partner" with African countries

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The United States sees Africa's 54 nations as “equal partners” in tackling global...

Russia halts U.S. inspections of its nuclear arsenals

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia on Monday announced a freeze on U.S. inspections of its nuclear arsenals under a pivotal...

One year after Afghanistan, spy agencies pivot toward China

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a recent closed-door meeting with leaders of the agency’s counterterrorism center, the...

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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