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Unemployment rate stays at 3.6%; 390,000 gain in jobs
U.S. employers added a robust 390,000 jobs in May as hiring slowed modestly after a record string of gains amid high inflation, persistent worker shortages and rising interest rates. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.6%, just above a 50-year low, the Labor Department said Friday.
But several forces are coalescing to temper the payroll gains, including a slowing economy, a lingering shortage of workers and U.S. employment that’s fast approaching its pre-pandemic level after shedding 22 million jobs in the spring of 2020.
And it’s probably not a bad thing: With inflation near a 40-year high, the Federal Reserve “wants to see things slow down” as it aggressively raises interest rates to restrain wage and price increases, says Brian Bethune, an economics professor at Boston College. Higher rates discourage borrowing, which dampens economic activity and job growth.
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LA bans new natural gas hookups
As the nation looks for ways to cut fossil fuel emissions to meet ambitious carbon reduction goals, natural gas, that common household fuel staple loved by cooks, is feeling the heat.
So far, 77 cities and towns and Washington state have banned or discouraged new natural gas hookups. Los Angeles became the latest to join the list when its City Council voted last week voted to rewrite building codes requiring new homes and buildings achieve zero-carbon emissions – effectively eliminating future natural gas lines.
Climate change experts say the shift is a necessary part of the nation’s energy transformation. About half of American homes use natural gas, and appliances burning natural gas make up 13% of U.S. greenhouse emissions, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. At least 95% of those emissions come from water heaters, stoves, furnaces and clothes dryers powered by natural gas.
But the transition is not without controversy. Just as fast as some communities are rejecting natural gas, others are clinging to it. With utilities leading the charge, 21 states have passed laws stripping local governments of the authority to adopt zero-emission building codes.
🍩 Doughnut wisdom 🍩
In lieu of a song lyric today, I’ll leave you with a quote from Homer J. Simpson:
“Doughnuts: Is there anything they can’t do?”
LISTEN WHILE YOU WORK: You can hear just about every song quoted in the newsletter on the Daily Money Mood Music playlist on Spotify.