Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 8th 2016 Contents A17
Monday, February 8, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
WASHINGTON---For most of an
agonisingly slow recovery from
the Great Recession, millions of
out-of-work Americans huddled
on the sidelines of the job market.
Yet Friday s jobs report added to
evidence of a long-awaited shift:
Some have grown confident
enough to start looking for work.
The percentage of Americans
working or looking for a job, though
still historically low, rose for the
third time in four months. It s now
at its highest level since May.
Americans in their prime work-
ing years---ages 25 through 54---are
driving the improvement and off-
setting powerful demographic
forces pushing in the other direc-
tion. In particular, the vast baby
boom generation is retiring, which
is reducing the proportion of adults
with jobs or looking for one.
This has created a "tug of war,"
says Joshua Shapiro, chief US econ-
omist at forecasting firm MFR, Inc.,
between rising retirements and the
employment opportunities created
by an improved economy.
"The fact that we ve stabilized
now after a long decline suggests
people are finally getting enticed
back into the labor force," Shapiro
said. The workforce includes both
people who are employed and those
looking for jobs.
Earlier in the recovery, increasing
retirements and sluggish hiring
were pushing in the same direction.
The result: A sharp drop in the
proportion of adults in the work-
force. The unemployment rate fell.
But the reason was nothing to
cheer: With fewer people seeking
jobs, fewer people were counted as
Now, the trend is more prom-
ising. More people are looking for
work. And the decline in the unem-
ployment rate in the past two
years---from 6.6 percent in January
2014 to 4.9 per cent last month---
has occurred mostly because people
are finding jobs.
The overall improvement remains
modest. The percentage of Amer-
icans working or looking for work
ticked up to 62.7 per cent in Jan-
uary, up from 62.4 per cent in Sep-
tember, which was near a 40-year
Figures for those ages 25 through
54 are more hopeful: The propor-
tion working or looking for work
has reached 81.1 per cent, the high-
est point in a year. And the per-
centage in that age bracket with
jobs has reached its highest level
In addition, Americans appear
to have a modestly rosier view of
the job market. Their perception
of the availability of jobs has recov-
ered to nearly its pre-recession
level, according to the Conference
Board s consumer confidence sur-
Felix Mirando, CEO of ARCPoint
Labs, a chain of testing laboratories
that focuses on drug and alcohol
screening, has seen more resumes
from people who have been out of
the workforce rather than already
Though many employers are
reluctant to hire people with long
gaps in their resumes, Mirando says
he is opens to them.
The bulk of those jumping back
into the mix in the past four
months have only a high school
degree or less. That likely reflects
the strength of job growth in such
lower-paying areas as retailers,
restaurants and hotels. But many
of those businesses are paying
higher wages than in the past,
either voluntarily or because of
higher state minimum wages.
The pay increases could be a big
reason more people are coming off
the sidelines, said Tara Sinclair,
chief economist at Indeed.com, a
job search website.
On Friday, after the government
issued the January jobs report,
President Barack Obama highlight-
ed the uptick in the workforce. But
he also acknowledged that many
Americans who have lost jobs in
recent years lack the skills needed
for the positions that are now avail-
"I get a lot of letters from mid-
dle-aged workers who got laid off,
aren t confident about their current
skills, and so have not yet re-
entered the workforce," Obama
said. "They need to get retrained.
And so that s a special group---folks
in their late 40s, early 50s---still far
away from retirement, but feel like
they can t adapt." (AP)
Hopeful sign for US economy:
Job hunting ticks up
NEW YORK---Chet Kanojia, the
founder of startup TV service
Aereo, has a new offering that
could shake up the cable industry
again. His new Internet service,
Starry, would compete with cable
companies in big cities.
Across the country, only one-
third of homes have a choice of
broadband providers, according to
Starry will use a wireless tech-
nology that has long existed, but
hasn t been used extensively before.
The service is expected to launch
this summer, starting in Boston.
Kanojia hasn t disclosed prices,
Kanojia s previous effort offered
local TV channels over the Internet
at a lower cost than cable, but
broadcasters shut it down with a
copyright lawsuit. Kanojia says he
doesn t expect legal challenges with
In an interview with The Asso-
ciated Press, Kanojia insists he s
not going after the cable industry
--- but his service would compete
directly with cable companies res-
idential and small-business offer-
ings. Here s what he had to say.
Responses have been edited for
length and clarity.
Q: Why go up against the cable
A: People have a misconception
that we re going against someone.
Competition is not part of bringing
somebody down. It s about better
products, better prices. There s a
lack of competition and there s
Q: Do you expect pushback
A: It s not clear to me that we
are a threat to anybody. Everybody
wants more options. That includes
the Federal Communications Com-
mission. Tons of other companies
are doing this. In rural areas and
less-dense areas, there are things
called WISPs (wireless Internet
service providers). I think there s
like a thousand of them, small
operations, mom-and-pop stuff.
Urban areas should have an option
Q: Why go the wireless route?
A: It s a pretty interesting advan-
tage compared with the wired
approach, in terms of cost of con-
struction, time to market. I don t
think we would succeed if we were
building out the same technology
that current providers use. We think
our technological approach gives
us an advantage. My cost advantage
is so dramatic, it s worth my while.
Q: Won t tall buildings in big
cities be a problem for wireless
A: Millimeter waves (which Star-
ry is using) have highly reflective
properties. They bounce around
between buildings, urban canyons
and rooftops very well. You don t
need a direct line of sight.
Q: Why aren t you offering
video service, too, like cable com-
panies do? Will that hurt you?
A: There is a market shift under-
way where people are streaming
more and more. Second, you take
a step back and see what other
market segments are there, like
small businesses that don t get TV.
There are really large pockets you
can service effectively and well
without worrying about video
packages and stuff.
Q: Where in Boston are you
A: We haven t finalised that. The
initial focus is going to be in areas
where there is a single provider.
Insider Q&A: Competing with cable's Internet offerings
Chet Kanojia speaks during an interview with The Associated Press, in New York. Kanojia, the founder of startup
TV service Aereo, has a new offering that could shake up the cable industry again. His new Internet service, Starry,
would compete with cable companies in big cities. AP PHOTO
The percentage of Americans working or looking for a job, though still
historically low, rose for the third time in four months. It's now at its
highest level since May.
Americans in their prime working years---ages 25 through 54---are
driving the improvement and offsetting powerful demographic forces
pushing in the other direction. In particular, the vast baby boom
generation is retiring, which is reducing the proportion of adults with
jobs or looking for one.
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