The Wider World

Unemployment down to 8.4%

THE JOBLESS RATE fell to 8.4 percent for August, according to the U.S. Department of Labor (Shutterstock).

Unemployment in August fell more than expected, according to the Labor Department’s report Friday. The jobless rate went from 10.2 percent in July to 8.4 percent for the month just passed. Some economists had estimated a rate of 9.8 percent.

A total of 1.4 million jobs were added by employers last month, a decline from 1.7 million in July, according to the Associated Press. Reviews of the significance of the report varied, in part, by politics.

“That is many, many months ahead of schedule,” said President Donald Trump. Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, said “Donald Trump may be the only president in modern history to leave office with fewer jobs than when he took office.”

The biggest gains were in retail, with warehouse club stores and supercenters, gaining 250,000 jobs. As restaurants, hotels and entertainment business re-opened another 174,000 workers were hired.

It’s possible that the jobless rate could be affected by people who stop seeking employment to avoid exposing themselves to the coronavirus. The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not classify as “unemployed” people who are not in the labor market.

COVID-19 deaths headed toward 400,000 plus?

A university report is predicting that over 400,000 Americans could die from the coronavirus by the end of 2020.

According to United Press International, the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics says the national death count will hit 410,000 as the new year opens. “We expect the daily death rate in the United States, because of seasonality and declining vigilance of the public, to reach nearly 3,000 [deaths] in December,” the report states.

Fall and winter are considered “flu season.” The John Hopkins University has counted nearly 187,000 deaths connected to COVID-19 so far.

Mother Nature brings the heat

The excessive heat warning from the National Weather Service starts today (Friday) with high of around 89, dropping to 70 at night.  On Saturday – wow! – the thermometer could jump as high as 112, dropping to 76 at night. Caveat: Other weather predictions, however, put Saturday’s high no worse than 106. Temps will decline to 104 on Sunday, and Labor Day (Monday) it will be a frosty 90, says Uncle Sam.

Harden leads Rockets past Lakers

Here is our list of games scheduled for area pro sports teams. Times are local (Pacific). Scores will be posted as they are available.

  • Houston Rockets 112, Lakers 97.  NBA Western Conference semifinals, Game 1. The Lakers couldn’t quite solve the problem of James Harden, who scored 36 points to lead Houston to the win. Russell Westbrook added 24 and Eric Gordon 23 as the Rockets won the series opener. Anthony Davis scored 25 and LeBron James 20 for the Lakers in the loss. After leading most of the game, Houston blew the contest open in the fourth quarter, outscoring LA 27-18.
  • Dodgers 10, Colorado Rockies 6.  Three home runs in the eighth inning propelled LA to the win Friday night. A.J. Pollock, Joe Pederson and Mookie Betts each went deep for the Dodgers, who improved their record to 30-10.  They lead the NL West with a 30-10 record, which is also the best in MLB.
  • Angels 6, Houston Astros 5 (11 innings). Mike Trout tied the team record for more career home runs at 299, and scored the winning run in the bottom of the 11th inning on Shohei Ohtani’s single. He had two hits and three walks. Trout is now tied with Tim Salmon for most four-baggers. The Halos took a 5-2 lead into the ninth inning, but the  Astros rallied to send the game into extra innings. The Angels are now 14-25, good for fourth in the AL West.
  • Seattle Storm 90, Sparks 89.  Jewell Loyd’s three-point buzzer beater lifted Seattle to the win in the battle of two of the WNBA’s top teams. Candace Parker scored 25 points, grabbed seven rebounds and had six assists for LA. Sparks are now 13-5.

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