Driving the Day: 5/30/12

May 30, 2012

Need to know…

  • Small Businesses Hire Fewer Workers in May. Small businesses added 40,000 new jobs in May, after increasing payrolls by an upwardly revised 60,000 jobs in April, according to payrolls processing firm Intuit. The survey's findings contradict expectations of a broader pick-up in job gains this month as the weather-related distortions that held back employment growth in March and April dissipate. The survey results raise prospects of another disappointing employment report due Friday.
  • Eurozone Business Confidence Plummets. Businesses in the eurozone became much more gloomy about their prospects in May as the currency area’s fiscal crisis deepened. The European Commission said today its economic sentiment indicator for the currency area fell more than expected to 90.6 from 92.9 in April. The weakening of business confidence indicates that investment and new hiring won’t pick up in coming months.
  • Little Job Recovery for Americans in Prime Working Years. The proportion of Americans in their prime working years that have jobs is smaller than it has been at any time in the 23 years before the recession, according to federal statistics. By this measure, the jobs situation has improved little in recent years. The percentage of workers between the ages of 25 and 54 who have jobs now stands at 75.7%, just a percentage point over what it was at the downturn’s worst. Before the recession the proportion hovered at 80%.  The Washington Post writes, “This measure of prime-age workers … reflects ‘missing workers’ who have stopped looking for work and aren’t included in the unemployment rate. During their prime years, Americans are supposed to be building careers and wealth to prepare for their retirement. Instead, as the indicator reveals, huge numbers are on the sidelines.”
  • Sierra Club Attacks Natural Gas. The editorial page of The Wall Street Journal looks at the Sierra Club’s new campaign, “Beyond Natural Gas.” The Journal says the Sierra Club aims to kill the natural gas industry. It writes that “[N]ow that the hydraulic fracturing and shale revolution has sent gas prices down to $2.50, the lobby fears natural gas will come to dominate U.S. energy production. At that price, the Sierra Club’s Valhalla of wind, solar, and biofuel power may never be competitive. So the green left has decided it must do everything it can to reduce the supply of gas and keep its price as high as possible.”

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