12-08-2022  11:54 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Merkley Introduces Bill to Ban Private Equity Firms from Predatory Housing Practices

End Hedge Fund Control of American Homes Act seeks to return single-family housing stock to families.

US Judge Gives Initial Victory to Oregon's Tough New Gun Law

A federal judge delivered an initial victory to proponents of a sweeping gun-control measure to take effect this week while giving law enforcement more time to set up a system for permits

Tough Oregon Gun Law Faces Legal Challenge, Could Be Delayed

Midterm voters narrowly passed one of the toughest gun control laws in the nation, but the new permit-to-purchase mandate and ban on high-capacity magazines faces a lawsuit that could put it on ice just days before it's set to take effect.

Portland Approves $27M for New Homeless Camps

Public opposition to the measure and the money that will fund it has been heated, with critics saying it will criminalize homelessness and fail to address its root causes.

NEWS BRIEFS

Volunteers of America Oregon Receives Agility Grant From the National Council on Problem Gambling

The funds will support the development of a Peer Driven Problem Gambling Prevention Campaign targeting high school and college-age...

Commissioner Jayapal Invites Community Members for Coffee

Multnomah County Commissioner will be available for a conversation on priorities and the county's work ...

GFO African-American Special Interest Group Meeting to Feature Southern Claims Commission

The Dec. 17 meeting of the Genealogical Forum of Oregon will feature Shelley Viola Murphy, PhD via ZOOM. Murphy will discuss the...

Charter Commission Concludes Study, Issues Report

The Portland Charter Commission have concluded their two-year term referring nine proposals to the November 2024 election and...

PBS Genealogy Show Seeks Viewers’ Brick Walls

The popular PBS show “Finding Your Roots” is putting out a nationwide casting call for a non-celebrity to be featured on season...

Awash in illegal marijuana, Oregon looks at toughening laws

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — In 2014, Oregon voters approved a ballot measure legalizing recreational marijuana after being told it would eliminate problems caused by “uncontrolled manufacture” of the drug. Illegal production of marijuana has instead exploded. Oregon lawmakers, who have...

Shots reported near SC power facility, no damage found

RIDGEWAY, S.C. (AP) — Duke Energy said it found no sign of property damage at a hydropower station in South Carolina where gunfire was reported nearby. Thousands of Duke Energy customers in neighboring North Carolina lost power Saturday night after authorities said one or more...

Saxen's 19 help Saint Mary's knock off Missouri State 66-46

MORAGA, Calif. (AP) — Mitchell Saxen's 19 points helped Saint Mary's defeat Missouri State 66-46 on Wednesday. Saxen had six rebounds for the Gaels (7-3). Aidan Mahaney scored 13 points and Alex Ducas finished with nine points. Chance Moore led the Bears (4-5) in...

Purdue Fort Wayne takes down Southeast Missouri State 89-68

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (AP) — Jarred Godfrey scored 19 points as Purdue Fort Wayne beat Southeast Missouri State 89-68 on Wednesday night. Godfrey had eight rebounds and five assists for the Mastodons (6-4). Bobby Planutis scored 14 points, and Quinton Morton-Robertson had 13. ...

OPINION

‘I Unreservedly Apologize’

The Oregonian commissioned a study of its history of racism, and published the report on Oct. 24, 2022. The Skanner is pleased to republish the apology written by the editor, Therese Bottomly. We hope other institutions will follow this example of looking...

City Officials Should Take Listening Lessons

Sisters of the Road share personal reflections of their staff after a town hall meeting at which people with lived experience of homelessness spoke ...

When Student Loan Repayments Resume, Will Problems Return Too?

HBCU borrowers question little loan forgiveness, delays to financial security ...

Tell the Supreme Court: We Still Need Affirmative Action

Opponents of affirmative action have been trying to destroy it for years. And now it looks like they just might get their chance. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

AP WAS THERE: Supreme Court legalizes interracial marriage

WASHINGTON (AP) — EDITOR’S NOTE: On June 12, 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court was wrapping up the final orders for the term. Among the cases before them was that of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple who had been sentenced to a year in jail for violating Virginia’s ban on marriage...

Pennsylvania panel updates anti-discrimination regulations

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A state panel on Thursday narrowly approved new definitions of sex, religious creed and race in Pennsylvania's anti-discrimination regulations, with three members appointed by Democrats in favor and two Republican appointees voting no. The Independent...

St. Louis mayor appoints commission to consider reparations

ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones is appointing a reparations commission that will “recommend a proposal to begin repairing the harms that have been inflicted” by slavery, segregation and racism. St. Louis joins a growing list of places trying to determine how to...

ENTERTAINMENT

Review: Lonely souls at the cinema in ‘Empire of Light’

Olivia Colman plays the manager of a movie theater in Sam Mendes’ new film “ Empire of Light.” It’s a cinema palace in a small town on England’s south coast that is showing its age. The once grand establishment used to play films on multiple screens on multiple floors. The top floor even...

How Michelle Williams found the music of Mitzi Fabelman

NEW YORK (AP) — In both Steven Spielberg’s “The Fabelmans” and Kelly Reichardt’s upcoming “Showing Up,” Michelle Williams plays women where life — societal hurdles and daily nuisances — gets in the way of self-expression. Mitzi Fabelman, the early-1960s matriarch...

Review: 'The Whale' is a hard but astounding film to watch

The center of gravity of “The Whale” is obviously the 600-pound man at its center. Look closely, though, and he's the one with a soul as light as a feather. Charlie is a reclusive, morbidly obese English literature teacher unable and unwilling to stop eating himself to death. As...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Pausing breast cancer treatment for pregnancy appears safe

Young women diagnosed with breast cancer often must delay pregnancy for years while they take hormone-blocking...

Northern Plains tribes bring back their wild 'relatives'

FORT BELKNAP AGENCY, Mont. (AP) — Native species such as swift foxes and black-footed ferrets disappeared from...

PHOTOS: The highs and lows of entertainment's 2022 comeback

After keeping the world at arm’s length for roughly two years, the entertainment world could finally get more...

WHO: COVID disruption resulted in 63,000 more malaria deaths

The coronavirus pandemic interrupted efforts to control malaria, resulting in 63,000 additional deaths and 13...

Families dismayed at trial for Rio-Paris Air France crash

PARIS (AP) — Families of the 228 people killed on a Rio-Paris flight that crashed in 2009 were hoping for...

Nobel laureate: No lasting peace in Ukraine without justice

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — There will be no lasting peace in Ukraine until there is justice and human rights,...

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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