07-15-2018  12:32 pm      •     
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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...

Hiker falls 100 feet to death in Skamania County

CARSON, Wash. (AP) — Search crews have recovered the body of a 23-year-old woman who was killed in a 100-foot fall while hiking in Skamania County.The Columbian newspaper reports that Leslie Mar, of Vancouver, was hiking with a partner on Friday evening when she slipped from a ledge at...

Deadly fire shuts down key route to Yosemite National Park

MARIPOSA, Calif. (AP) — A wildfire that killed a California firefighter grew quickly and forced the closure of a key route into Yosemite National Park as crews contended with sweltering conditions Sunday, authorities said.The blaze that broke out Friday scorched more than 6 square miles (16...

Hiker falls 100 feet to death in Skamania County

CARSON, Wash. (AP) — Search crews have recovered the body of a 23-year-old woman who was killed in a 100-foot fall while hiking in Skamania County.The Columbian newspaper reports that Leslie Mar, of Vancouver, was hiking with a partner on Friday evening when she slipped from a ledge at...

3 family members killed in southwest Washington crash

KALAMA, Wash. (AP) — Authorities say a rollover crash on Interstate 5 in southwest Washington killed a child and two grandparents.The Daily News reports that the crash happened Saturday afternoon when a northbound sport-utility vehicle struck a median near Kalama. The Washington State Patrol...

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

The Latest: Fountain, wing-like benches anchor memorial

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — The Latest on plans for a memorial at a South Carolina church where nine African-American worshippers were slain in 2015 (all times local):12:50 p.m.The historic South Carolina church where nine African-American worshippers were slain has released plans for a memorial...

Trump's remarks about changing European culture draw ire

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's lament this week that immigration is "changing the culture" of Europe echoed rising anti-immigrant feelings on both sides of the Atlantic, where Europe and the United States are going through a demographic transformation that makes some of the white...

Judge dismisses suit filed by family of man killed by police

CLEVELAND (AP) — A federal judge's ruling dismissing a lawsuit filed by the family of an unarmed black man fatally shot by an Ohio police officer says the man's civil rights were not violated.Cleveland.com reports U.S. District Judge James Gwin ruled Friday it was a "close and difficult...

ENTERTAINMENT

Rapper buys every seat in house, takes strangers to movies

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A Maine rapper surprised moviegoers with free tickets to a sci-fi satire movie.Rory Ferreira, who goes by the stage name Milo, bought all 129 seats to the 4:20 p.m. showing of the movie "Sorry to Bother You" at the Nickelodeon in Portland, Maine, on Saturday. The...

Baron Cohen pranks 2 more celebrity politicians for show

Some politicians are going through the several stages of panic associated with an interview with Sacha Baron Cohen: remorse, damage control, anger and regret for being duped.One of the comedian's latest targets, defeated Senate candidate Roy Moore, is threatening a defamation lawsuit over an...

Nancy Sinatra Sr., first wife of Frank Sinatra, dies at 101

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Nancy Sinatra Sr., the childhood sweetheart of Frank Sinatra who became the first of his four wives and the mother of his three children, has died. She was 101.Her daughter, Nancy Sinatra Jr., tweeted that her mother died Friday and a posting on her web page said she died...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Police: Suspect in shooting of 3 Kansas City cops holed up

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A suspect in the non-fatal shooting of two Kansas City police officers shot a third...

The Latest: Croatia PM says fans rejoice despite Cup loss

MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest on Sunday at the World Cup (all times local):9:45 p.m.Croatia's Prime Minister...

Chicago police: Man killed by police appeared to be armed

CHICAGO (AP) — Footage from body-worn cameras and surveillance cameras shows that a man who was shot and...

Politics guide Syrians backing Croatia in World Cup final

AIN TERMA, Syria (AP) — Most of the Syrian troops and residents of Ain Terma, just outside the capital...

Russian women push back at shaming over World Cup dating

MOSCOW (AP) — Hundreds of thousands of foreign men have flooded into Russia for the monthlong World Cup,...

Reports detail Mossad raid on Iranian nuclear documents

JERUSALEM (AP) — Some U.S. media reported new details on Sunday from a Mossad operation that smuggled...

Christopher S. Rugaber AP Economics Writer


Costco is one of several major stores that have
reported lower-than-expected revenue
results recently

 

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Companies are more productive, fewer people are seeking unemployment benefits and service companies are adding jobs.

Ideally, those trends could signal stronger growth, followed by more hiring. Yet until consumers consistently spend more, businesses are unlikely to hire enough to drive down unemployment.

But more consumers need jobs and raises to keep spending enough to help the economy grow. The paradox has kept the economy from thriving more than two years after the recession officially ended.

It's also why economists think the unemployment rate stayed at 9.1 percent for a fourth straight month in October. The government will issue the October jobs report Friday.

"We're creating jobs, but it's not enough to ... increase wages measurably," said Ellen Zentner, an economist at Nomura Securities.

Thursday data reinforced that message. Weekly applications for unemployment benefits dropped to a seasonally adjusted 397,000, the Labor Department said. It's only the third time since April that applications have fallen below 400,000.

Still, applications would need to fall below 375,000 to signal sustained job gains. They haven't been at that level since February.

Services companies, which employ about 90 percent of the work force, hired more in October after cutting jobs in the previous month, according to a survey by the Institute for Supply Management.

Overall growth for the service sector - which covers businesses from restaurants and hotels to financial services firms and retail companies - was mostly unchanged from September's slow pace.

Companies ordered more factory goods in September for a third straight month, the Commerce Department said. The gain occurred largely because businesses spent more on industrial machinery, computers and software. It's a sign that in the sluggish economy, many companies are investing in equipment but not in new hires.

Businesses are getting more out their existing work forces while paying less to employ them. Worker productivity rose in the July-September quarter by the most in a year and a half, the Labor Department said. At the same time, labor costs fell.

The jump in productivity was due largely to the economy's best quarterly growth in a year without much change in hiring or hours worked.

Higher productivity is generally a good thing. It can raise standards of living by enabling companies to pay workers more without raising their prices and increasing inflation. But without strong and sustained customer demand, companies are unlikely to hire.

Consumers helped drive this summer's growth by increasing their spending at triple the rate from spring.

When demand rises and productivity is low, it's usually a sign that businesses have reached the limit on the work they can squeeze from their work forces. That often leads some to hire more workers, if they want to grow.

But economists worry that consumers won't be able to sustain this summer's spending binge. In the July-September quarter, they spent more while earning less. They used their savings to make up the difference. Without more jobs and higher wages, consumers are likely to pare spending in the months ahead.

That may already be happening. Shoppers slowed their spending in October, according to monthly revenue results reported by retailers Thursday. Costco, Macy's, Saks and Target are among the companies that reported results that fell slightly below Wall Street analysts' expectations.

Weaker sales figures at big chain stores open for more than a year is a bad sign ahead of the winter holiday shopping season.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Wednesday that growth is likely to be "frustratingly slow," after the Fed sharply lowered its economic projections for the next two years.

The Fed now says the economy will likely expand no more than 1.7 percent for all of 2011. That's down from its June forecast of 2.7 percent to 2.9 percent. And it predicted growth of only 2.5 percent to 2.9 percent next year, nearly a percentage point lower than its June estimate.

The Fed said it doesn't expect the unemployment rate to be any lower this year. And it sees unemployment averaging 8.6 percent by the end of next year.

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AP Economics Writer Martin Crutsinger contributed to this report.

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