Today’s News & Commentary — April 7, 2017
The U.S. economy added only 98,000 jobs in March, less than half the 219,000 jobs added in February. However, the unemployment rate further decreased from 4.7% to 4.5%, its lowest level since May 2007. Most of the increase in jobs occurred in professional and business services. As the unemployment rate decreases yet fewer jobs are added, federal officials are viewing the economy as “operating at or near maximum employment” according to minutes from their meetings in March.
Chicago Teachers Union members will remain on the job on May 1, cancelling plans for a one-day walkout to protest the threat to end the school year 20 days early. The union voted against the walkout after the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board held that the walkout would be illegal. A financial crisis at Chicago Public Schools, which is facing a $129 million budget deficit this year, is driving the consideration of ending classes early. “While there will be no May 1 walkout, we will continue to stand together in solidarity with our students, parents, immigrant community and other labor and community allies to demand that out district receives the revenue,” CTU president Karen Lewis said.
Earlier this week, President Trump told the New York Times that he would be making an announcement in the coming two weeks on a change to Davis-Bacon, the law that requires federal contractors to pay prevailing, union-scale wages. Trump has not specified further what the announcement will entail. As a former real estate developer, Trump is likely very familiar with Davis-Bacon. In fact, last year, the Labor Department pursued and later dropped an investigation against Trump for alleged Davis-Bacon violations at one of his properties.