The 11.7 million Americans searching for work got discouraging news Friday morning when the Labor Department said employers created only 88,000 jobs in March. The weak job growth comes at the same time benefits for the long-term unemployed are shrinking.
The smaller-than-expected increase in payrolls was a big disappointment, coming after a long stretch of much better results. Over the past year, employment growth has averaged 169,000 jobs a month.
A federal judge in Brooklyn, N.Y., has ruled that the morning-after pill for emergency contraception must be made available over the counter to girls 16 and under.
The ruling could end a more than decade-long battle over how easy or difficult it should be for teenage girls to obtain emergency contraception. The ruling would also make it easier for older women to obtain the drug because it wouldn't have to be kept behind drugstore counters anymore.
But the nation's jobless rate still edged down to 7.6 percent from 7.7 percent. That dip wasn't for a good reason, though: Nearly half a million fewer people were participating in the labor force. That smaller pool meant the jobless rate could tick down even as job growth was weak.
There's breaking budget news from several places this morning:
-- "President Obama next week will take the political risk of formally proposing cuts to Social Security and Medicare in his annual budget in an effort to demonstrate his willingness to compromise with Republicans and revive prospects for a long-term deficit-reduction deal, administration officials say." (The New York Times)
Good morning. I'm David Greene, with a story of a harried sports fan - or, rather, a hairy sports fan. Thomas McAllister believes in his Washington, D.C. team so much that he's vowing not to shave until one of them - the Redskins, Wizards, Capitals or Nationals - wins a championship. The Washington Post says he hasn't shaved since last June, a day before he got married. Facebook followers have given his red fan beard a name: Lombeardi.
Its state bird is a Western Meadowlark. Its state tree is Douglas Fir. Now Oregon wants a state microbe. Saccharomyces cerevisiae - try saying that twice - is a kind of yeast used in beer. And State Representative Mark Johnson thinks making it Oregon's official microbe is a great way to celebrate the state's craft beer industry. Oregon is also proud of its wine. A type of dirt that's used to grow pinot noire grapes is the state's official soil.