United States

Jobless rate edges down to its lowest level in 4 years

by Nelson D Schwartz New York Times December 8, 2012

Despite fears of a slowdown caused by gridlock in Washington, the economic recovery moved forward at a steady pace in November, pushing unemployment to its lowest level in four years....

US food banks raise alarm as drought dents government supplies

by Lisa Baertlein Baertlein Reuters November 21, 2012

The worst U.S. drought in more than half a century has weakened the safety net for the 50 million Americans who struggle to get enough to eat, and the nation's food banks are raising the alarm as the holiday season gets into full swing....

Farm workers picking peppers in the Bakersfield, California area.  Photo: Ricardo DeAratanha/Los Angeles Times/MCT

The biggest challenge to immigration bill may be guest workers

by Franco Ordonez McClatchy Newspapers November 20, 2012

As immigration talks resume, the public debate has once again zeroed in on the merits of granting some type of so-called amnesty to 11 million illegal immigrants. But another, more complicated dispute – where the sides are equally entrenched – is brewing behind the scenes between organized labor...

Two million could see unemployment benefits disappear by year’s end

by Michael A Fletcher Washington Post November 12, 2012

More than 2 million Americans stand to lose their jobless benefits unless Congress reauthorizes federal emergency unemployment help before the end of the year....

A protester held up a sign at a demonstration outside McDonald’s in Times Square in late November.  Photo: Andrew Kelly/Reuters

Unionizing the bottom of the pay scale

by Eduardo Porter New York Times November 4, 2012

Other than poverty, José Carrillo and Joshua Williams have little in common. The austere life of Mr. Carrillo, a 79-year-old Peruvian immigrant from Washington Heights, is a universe apart from the hardscrabble reality of Mr. Williams, a 28-year-old single father from Atlanta staying at his aunt’...

Balancing act: Low-wage workers struggle to care for families, keep jobs

by Cindy Krischer Goodman Miami Herald October 29, 2012

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The new American job: A part-time life as hours shrink and shift

by Steven Greenhouse New York Times October 27, 2012

SPRING VALLEY, Calif. — Since the Fresh & Easy grocery chain was founded five years ago, it has opened 150 stores in California and positioned itself as a hip, socially responsible company....

Standard of living is in the shadows as election issue

by David Leonhardt New York Times October 23, 2012

WASHINGTON — Taxes and government spending. Health care. Immigration. Financial regulation.They are the issues that have dominated the political debate in recent years and have played a prominent role in this presidential campaign. But in many ways they have obscured what is arguably the nation’...

Ohio pushes welfare recipients to find work and exit the system

by Mark Guarino Christian Science Monitor October 15, 2012

WARREN, OHIO — Karen Owens dreams of one day getting a job – perhaps becoming certified as a substance abuse counselor. But when a state welfare official told her she had to get a job immediately or risk losing her public assistance, her doctor repeatedly warned county officials she was not read...

California’s Central Valley is our greatest food resource. So why are we treating it so badly?

by Mark Bittman New York Times October 10, 2012

I left Los Angeles at 4 in the morning, long before first light, and made it to Bakersfield — the land of oil derricks, lowriders and truck stops with Punjabi food — by 6. Ten minutes later, I was in the land of carrots....