Congress isn’t winning any popularity contests these days - but they may finally address an issue that could win them some favor with the nation’s farmers. American Farm Bureau Labor Specialist Paul Schlegel talks about the scarcity of farm labor, despite the nation’s unemployment figures…
“It’s one of those crazy situations where the Department of Labor itself spends money and gives training to get people out of farm work. It’s hard, it’s episodic, it’s migratory in some instances. We have jobs, for instance, in the dairy industry, where you get up early, you work a long day, and it’s seven days a week, 365 days a year you got to milk the cows. And we need people who are doing that. There was a farmer, not too long ago, in Colorado offering to pay $15 an hour for bee keepers and couldn’t find anybody. So, even though the economy is depressed, we’re not finding the workers we need.”
No Joy in Latest Jobs Report
A dismal jobs report from the Labor Department. The unemployment rate held steady at 9.1 percent, but more significantly, NO jobs were added last month. Stuart Hoffman is chief economist for PNC Financial.
“It’s clearly still a very weak reading on the economy, it’s not recessionary, although many Americans clearly think that we’re in one. But, it’s pretty close to saying the US economy ground to a halt.”
President Obama is slated to deliver a rare address to a Joint Session of Congress later this week to introduce a plan for creating jobs and boosting economic growth. University of Virginia political analyst Larry Sabato (SAB'-uh-toh) says it all comes down to jobs, and he says for the President, the stakes are high.
“He has really got to make this speech count. And it’s tough because people are in a discerning, critical mood. They see the real numbers, the real jobs picture every night on the evening news, and it’s grim.”
More Casualties from Irene
Fish are dying in eastern North Carolina rivers, among the many casualties of Hurricane Irene.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources says hundreds of fish have turned up dead in the Tar, Pamlico, Roanoke and Pasquotank rivers since Hurricane Irene made landfall.
The storm pushed massive amounts of leaves, wood and other debris into the rivers. The decomposing refuse uses up oxygen in the water and leaves little for fish and other aquatic life.
Unemployment Rates Could Push FTA’s Through
Former Ag Secretary John Block says the long-stalled free trade agreements will get done - in spite of all the finger-pointing between the President and Congressional Republicans. He predicts the need for jobs in the country will propel the Colombia, Panama and South Korea deals to final approval.
But Block says President Obama has the Unions on his back - and is demanding Congress pass help for trade-displaced workers…tape
“This could have been done quite a long time ago, and the president pretended like it was the congress that was holding it back, which is absurd because he never sent the bill up to the congress so they could vote on it.”
Labor Department Offers Child Labor Proposal
The U.S. Department of Labor is proposing revisions to child labor regulations that it says will strengthen the safety requirements for young workers employed in agriculture and related fields. The agricultural hazardous occupations orders under the Fair Labor Standards Act that bar young workers from certain tasks have not been updated since they were promulgated in 1970. The proposed regulations would not apply to children working on farms owned by their parents.