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NORTHWEST NEWS

Louisiana State University President Heading to Oregon Job

F. King Alexander will succeed Ed Ray, who is retiring from the position at Oregon State University at the end of June after 17 years as president. Ray will continue in a teaching role at the university

PHOTOS: Black Santa Visits Northwest African American Museum

The Skanner's Seattle photographer Susan Fried was on hand to snap some photos

English Language Learners' Success Translates Into a $25,000 Milken Educator Award for Teacher Julie Rowell

Oregon educator boosts student achievement and future prospects at Gresham High School

Portland Resident Hoping to Donate Kidney to Black Recipient

Fewer Black patients receive live kidney donations

NEWS BRIEFS

Friends of the Children Chapter Coming to Tacoma, Executive Director Announced

Organization empowers youth facing the greatest obstacles through the long-term support of professional mentors ...

Oregon Humane Society Celebrates the Adoption of the 11,000th Pet of 2019

Max, a two-year-old Labrador/Weimaraner mix, is going to a new home with the Dunlap family of Damascus ...

EPA Approves Funding for Oregon and Washington to Improve Drinking Water, Wastewater Infrastructure

States estimate $190 million for wastewater, $35 million for drinking water projects in Oregon, and $120 million for...

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. ...

Louisiana State University president heading to Oregon job

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana State University is looking for a new system chief, after President F. King Alexander was appointed Friday to lead Oregon State University.Oregon State's Board of Trustees unanimously agreed to hire Alexander in a special meeting, confirming that Alexander...

As California thins forests to limit fire risk, some resist

SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS, Calif. (AP) — Buzzing chainsaws are interrupted by the frequent crash of breaking branches as crews fell towering trees and clear tangled brush in the densely forested Santa Cruz Mountains south of San Francisco. Their goal: To protect communities such as Redwood...

New Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz predicts success

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Eli Drinkwitz was saying all the right things after being introduced as the new football coach at Missouri, laying out his vision for the once-proud program with unwavering confidence and bold proclamations.Then the former Appalachian State coach made a minor...

LSU's Burrow, Auburn's Brown named AP SEC players of year

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow is a unanimous selection as the offensive player of the year on The Associated Press All-Southeastern Conference football team.The top-ranked Tigers also have the SEC’s coach of the year in Ed Orgeron and the newcomer of the year in freshman cornerback Derek...

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

Donor pulls jumi.5M grant to UNC-Chapel Hill over 'Silent Sam'

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A New York-based not-for-profit foundation has withdrawn a jumi.5 million grant intended for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in light of a financial deal between leaders of the university system and a Confederate group to preserve a controversial...

Belgian carnival removed from UNESCO list over racism row

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — A famous Belgian carnival was removed from the U.N.'s cultural heritage list on Friday following complaints that its most recent edition contained blatant displays of anti-Semitism.The Aalst carnival was taken off UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage list during a...

Anti-Semitism order raises tough issue of defining prejudice

NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump’s order to expand the scope of potential anti-Semitism complaints on college campuses is raising the stakes of an already tense battle over how to define discrimination against Jews.The executive order Trump signed on Wednesday tells the...

ENTERTAINMENT

Greta Gerwig on making 'Little Women' 'at the speed of life'

NEW YORK (AP) — The first movie Greta Gerwig saw in a theater was “Muppets Take Manhattan.” When it was over, her parents momentarily couldn’t find her. She had run to the front of the theater to put her hands on the screen.“I thought I could get into it,”...

'Lemonade' by Beyoncé is named the AP's album of the decade

NEW YORK (AP) — The top 15 albums of the decade by Associated Press Music Editor Mesfin Fekadu:1. Beyoncé, “Lemonade”: At the beginning of this decade, Beyoncé was already the greatest singer of her generation. She won a record six Grammys in a single night, had women...

'Mad Men' actress Christina Hendricks files for divorce

LOS ANGELES (AP) — “Mad Men” actress Christina Hendricks filed for divorce Friday from her husband of 10 years, actor Geoffrey Arend. Hendricks filed the marriage dissolution documents in Los Angeles Superior Court, citing irreconcilable differences. The 44-year-old Hendricks...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Blue-collar character actor Danny Aiello has died at age 86

NEW YORK (AP) — Danny Aiello, the blue-collar character actor whose long career playing tough guys included...

‘Rise of Skywalker’ is almost here, but a dark side looms

LOS ANGELES (AP) — When Disney bought Lucasfilm for more than billion in 2012, there were lofty...

In surprise decision, US approves muscular dystrophy drug

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. health regulators approved a second drug for a debilitating form of muscular...

Ex-PM elected Algeria's new president, to protesters' dismay

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — Algeria newly-elected president Abdelmadjid Tebboune vowed after his victory was...

El Salvador court gives hefty sentences in mass gang trial

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — A court in El Salvador has sentenced 373 convicted members of the...

Battle ahead: Scotland party leader vows independence push

LONDON (AP) — Prime Minister Boris Johnson has won the majority he needs to push through Brexit, but he...

McMenamins
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.

---

AP Economics Writer Martin Crutsinger contributed to this report.

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