12-06-2019  8:30 pm   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Black Food Professionals See Opportunities to “Scale Up” in School Cafeterias and on Store Shelves

Two Portland women are addressing disparities in the local food scene with Ethiopian and Haitian flavors, ingredients

Portland Fire Chief Sara Boone Climbing Historic Ladders

In 1995, Boone was the first African American woman hired by Portland Fire & Rescue; this year she became its first African American Chief

Christmas Tree Shopping is Harder Than Ever, Thanks to Climate Change and Demographics

For Christmas tree farms to survive, shoppers will need to be more flexible

November Holiday Travel at PDX Brings More Comfort, Convenience and Furry Friends

If you’ve not been to Portland International Airport in a few months, you’re in for some surprises.

NEWS BRIEFS

Conservation Breakthrough for Endangered Butterfly

The Oregon Zoo's breeding success provides new hope in an effort to save Oregon silverspots ...

Meet 80 Local Authors at OHS 52nd Holiday Cheer Book Sale and Signing

This free Oregon Historical Society event will be held this Sunday, December 8 from 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. ...

Need for Blood Doesn’t Stop for Holidays – Donors Needed

Those who come to give through Dec. 18 will receive a Amazon.com Gift Card ...

North Carolina Court Decision Upholds Removal of Confederate Monument

Lawyers argued that the monument was installed at the end of Reconstruction to further the false “Lost Cause” narrative,...

Artist Talk with 13-year-old Local to be Held This Tuesday, Nov. 26

Hobbs Waters will be discussing his solo exhibit “Thirteen” at The Armory in Portland ...

Driver gets 16 years for striking pregnant woman in Gresham

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A man on methamphetamine was driving his Jeep with a suspended license in 2010 when he crossed into oncoming traffic and crashed into a sedan, causing catastrophic injuries to the pregnant woman inside, has been sentenced to 16 years in prison.The Oregonian/OregonLive...

North by Northwest: Minor league hires prez with proper name

HILLSBORO, Ore. (AP) — The short-season Northwest League has named a new president with a most fitting name for the post: North Johnson.The Class A loop made the announcement Friday, appointing the longtime minor league executive."I was literally born to have this job," Johnson kidded in an...

Missouri fires football coach Barry Odom after 4 seasons

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri fired football coach Barry Odom on Saturday, ending the four-year stay of a respected former player who took over a program in disarray but could never get the Tigers over the hump in the brutal SEC.The Tigers finished 6-6 and 3-5 in the conference after...

Powell, Missouri snap 5-game skid with win over Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — In a game started by third- and fifth-string quarterbacks, the outcome was decided by one of their backups. It was appropriate enough for Arkansas and Missouri, two teams facing their longest losing streaks in decades.Fayetteville High School graduate Taylor Powell...

OPINION

Will You Answer the Call for Moral Revival?

In embracing and expanding the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Revs. Barber and Theoharis have asked Presidential candidates to consider a debate that focuses exclusively on poverty ...

What I’m Thankful For This Season

Ray Curry gives thanks for a human right that shaped our country throughout the 20th century and that made Thanksgiving possible for so many Americans who, like him, didn’t get here by way of the Mayflower ...

Congressional Black Caucus Members Visit U.S.-Mexico Border: “Mistreatment of Black Immigrants is Another ‘Stain on America’”

Members said they witnessed first-hand the deplorable treatment and plight of Black immigrants ...

Portland, I'm Ready

Last month I had the privilege to stand with hundreds of supporters and announce my intention to run for re-election ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Illinois prison guards face federal charges in inmate death

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Three Illinois prison guards were arraigned in federal court Friday on charges of assault and civil rights violations in the May 2018 death of an inmate at Western Illinois Correctional Center. A grand jury indicted the correctional officers, who also face charges...

Haley: Killer 'hijacked' Confederate flag meaning for some

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said in an interview that a man who gunned down nine worshipers at an African American church in 2015 “hijacked” the ideals many connected to the Confederate battle flag.Haley told conservative political commentator and Blaze TV host Glenn Beck...

Germany's Merkel voices 'shame' during 1st Auschwitz visit

OSWIECIM, Poland (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel voiced a feeling of "deep shame” during her first-ever visit on Friday to the hallowed grounds of the former Nazi German death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau, where Adolf Hitler's regime murdered more than a million people.Merkel...

ENTERTAINMENT

R. Kelly charged with paying bribe before marrying Aaliyah

NEW YORK (AP) — Federal prosecutors are accusing singer R. Kelly of scheming with others to pay for a fake ID for an unnamed female a day before he married R&B singer Aaliyah, then 15 years old, in a secret ceremony in 1994.The revised indictment, filed Thursday in New York, accuses...

Bloomberg: His news reporters need to accept restrictions

NEW YORK (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg says employees at his news organization need to accept restrictions with their paycheck, including the ban on investigating their boss.Bloomberg, billionaire founder of Bloomberg News, was asked in a CBS News interview about...

Billy Joel, Kardashians Diplo descend on Miami for Art Basel

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) — As gallerists and collectors descend on Miami's most prestigious art fair by day, the Hollywood crowd knows it's all about the exclusive after parties. Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder and Pharrell were in town while DJ Khaled and rappers Travis Scott and Gucci Mane held...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Let's cancel 'OK Boomer' in 2020, and the humblebrag, too

NEW YORK (AP) — Either loudly sing your own praises or don’t in the new year, but let’s leave...

Officials list pot vape brands reported in US outbreak

NEW YORK (AP) — Health officials investigating a nationwide outbreak of vaping illnesses have listed, for...

US firms keep hiring, easing worries of weakening economy

WASHINGTON (AP) — American businesses have complained for years that they can’t find the workers...

World powers press Iran to reverse nuke deal violations

VIENNA (AP) — World powers pressured Iran on Friday to reverse recent atomic activities that violate the...

Germany's Merkel voices 'shame' during 1st Auschwitz visit

OSWIECIM, Poland (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel voiced a feeling of "deep shame” during her...

US hits Iran-backed Iraqi militia leaders with sanctions

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration on Friday slapped sanctions on three Iran-backed Iraqi militia...

McMenamins
Jim Kuhnhenn White House Reporter for the Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Why so glum?

Unemployment is dropping, but the reaction from both the left and right ends of the political spectrum is surprisingly unenthusiastic. 

Conservatives fear the improvement will weaken their argument that the way to bring back jobs is less regulation and more fiscal discipline. Liberals worry that better job numbers will create momentum for spending cuts that will cause the fragile recovery to falter. The Skanner News Video: The figures

The divided reaction illustrates the ideological forces pulling at President Barack Obama as he tries to gain economic and political traction out of the positive jobs report.

"Overall, it's a very solid jobs report," said Austan Goolsbee, the chairman of Obama's Council of Economic Advisers. "And overall there's been increasing optimism that despite having a long way to go, we're clearly headed in the right direction and we're putting some miles behind us and trying to get back to a good situation."

Indeed, a number of economic markers are moving in positive directions. The U.S. economy has been growing for 18 months. Retail sales are picking up. A Federal Reserve survey released this week showed factory activity rising in all Fed districts except St. Louis.

Obama, himself, made the point Friday, trumpeting the unemployment numbers during a visit to a Miami high school.

"That's the 12th straight month of private-sector job growth," he said. "So our economy has now added 1.5 million private sector jobs over the last year. And that's progress."

Still, unemployment is usually the last economic signpost to improve after a recession, and the rate remains high at 8.9 percent. The number of unemployed is 13.7 million, almost double since before the recession. And that's enough to provoke some downbeat assessments.

"We have yet to see the leadership we need coming out of the White House to restore sustainable economic growth," declared Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.

Economist Heidi Shierholz, at the liberal Economic Policy Institute, weighed in with this: "Some of February's growth is simply a positive rebound effect after bad weather last month, and the trend is modest."

Since the November elections that placed Republicans in control of the House and weakened the Democrats' hold on the Senate, Republicans and conservatives have argued that the path to jobs is through deregulation of industries, fiscal restraint and low taxes. Obama has embraced some of the advice, reaching out to business with a pledge to reconsider some government rules and compromising with Republicans by dropping, for now, his demand that the wealthy pay higher taxes.

So, even as the unemployment rate goes down, Republicans insist Obama's past policies were at worst, counterproductive, or at best, ineffective. Jobs will come faster and with more staying power, they argue, if government simply gets out of the way.

Liberals and their Democratic allies have been pressing for more government intervention in the economy. The fragile recovery still needs to be prodded by public spending, they say, and they bristle at attempts to cut current budgets. Obama has embraced some of that advice, too. He has proposed additional taxpayer money toward education, research and technological innovation while negotiating with Republicans on how far to cut into current spending.

"The current jobs numbers underscore the fact that deep cuts in federal spending are extremely premature," Shierholz wrote in an analysis of the new jobs number. "We should instead be having discussions of substantial additional stimulus spending."

Even Goolsbee cautioned that the unemployment numbers themselves might not follow a smooth downward trajectory.

While private employers added 222,000 jobs last month, some analysts noted that when averaged with more meager number of new jobs in January, the increase in payrolls is similar to the monthly pace in the last quarter of 2010.

"On the unemployment rate, for sure there are going to likely to be blips," Goolsbee said in an interview. "Nobody knows, is 8.9 the rate or will it go up? That could happen."

But he added: "The three-month trend, the one-year trends of substantially adding jobs in the private sector and substantial reductions in the unemployment rate are exactly what we want."

The White House is certainly counting on those trends moving in their favor. The economy — and high unemployment — were key factors in last November's Republican election wave.

At the time, the unemployment rate had been rising for six straight months. But since the 9.8 percent high of November, it has been dropping. Politically, the trend line could be as important as the unemployment rate itself.

In 1980, Jimmy Carter lost his re-election bid to Ronald Reagan as unemployment climbed from 6 percent in October of 1979 to 7.5 percent in October of 1980. Likewise, George H.W. Bush lost to Bill Clinton in 1992 in the midst of rising unemployment, which went from 6.9 percent September of 1991 to 7.6 percent in September of 1992.

But Reagan managed to get re-elected in 1984 even though unemployment stood at 7.4 percent in October of that year. Unlike Carter and Bush, Reagan's unemployment trend line had been dropping since the spring of 1983.

There are still trouble spots ahead for Obama.

"The main clouds of concern that we monitor are what happens in the Middle East with fuel prices and what happens with the financial system in Europe,"Goolsbee said.

In addition, public hiring by local and state governments remains an area of weakness. "State finances tend to lag the aggregate economy by six to 10 months," Goolsbee said. "It's likely to continue to be tough for them."

Those are clouds that can still dampen an economic recovery — and complicate a president's political prospects.





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