VERMONT’S JOB GROWTH REMAINS SLOW, BUT POSITIVE. UNEMPLOYMENT AT 4.9% IN MAY.Montpelier — The Vermont Department of Labor announced today that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for May 2008 was 4.9 percent, up five-tenths of a point from the revised April rate of 4.4% and up 1.1 points from a year ago.”Vermont’s continued job growth is insufficient to hold down our growing unemployment rate,” said Patricia Moulton Powden, Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Labor. “This is to be expected in a national environment where unemployment is growing rapidly and the national economy continues to shed jobs. In addition, the seasonal transition in Vermont’s labor market from April to May can be quite volatile depending on weather. This can lead to rapidly changing labor statistics. We should have a better picture of the State’s labor market in the June numbers.”Vermont’s observed seasonally adjusted monthly changes in unemployment levels and unemployment rate are statistically different from April values. For comparison purposes, the US seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for March was 5.5 percent, up a similar five-tenths of a point from April 2008. Unemployment rates for Vermont’s 17 labor market areas ranged from 2.8 percent in Hartford to 6.4 percent in Newport. Local labor market area unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted. For comparison, the unadjusted unemployment rate for Vermont was 4.6 percent, down four-tenths of a point from April 2008.Jobs Data (Vermont’s job count estimates are produced from a statewide survey of business establishments conducted under the Current Employment Survey (CES) – a cooperative effort with the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.)Seasonally adjusted job levels grew by 1,200 or 0.4% over April, but remain flat over the year. Most of the growth came from the construction sector: +900 jobs or 6.1% but the sector remains down considerably on an annual basis (-600 jobs / -3.5%). We see the monthly gain as due to a slow start in April rather than a strong May. For similar reasons the Accommodations and Food Services sector shows a strong monthly decline (-600 jobs / -2.0%) What was bad weather for construction kept the ski resorts operating longer in April – thus the decline in May looked worse than is typically expected.Before seasonal adjustment, Total Non-Farm jobs grew seasonally by 4,500 jobs 1.5% from April to May.. Annual unadjusted job growth remains sluggish at +0.1%. Seasonal job gains were seen in construction (+2,400 / 16.4%), but the segment remains in decline showing a 650 job annual loss or -3.7%. Retail Trade jobs grew by 700 in May, but this seasonal boost was not enough to overcome annual job losses of 200 or -0.5%. Professional & Business services grew by 500 over the month and 150 or 0.7% over the year. Arts Entertainment & Recreation grew 700 jobs over the month offsetting a 700 job loss in Accommodations & Food Services. Local Government Education gained jobs in May, but this is almost certainly a school vacation scheduling issue.
The Istiqlal Mosque renovation project will include the construction of an underground tunnel to be called the “brotherhood tunnel” that will connect the mosque with the Jakarta Cathedral across the road in Central Jakarta, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has said.“There was a suggestion to build a tunnel from Istiqlal Mosque to the cathedral and I have agreed. It will be a tunnel of brotherhood,” Jokowi said after reviewing the progress of the renovations on Friday, as stated in a media statement released by the State Secretariat.Located across the road from each other, the relationship between Istiqlal Mosque and the Jakarta Cathedral has been praised by many, as the managements of each house of worship regularly provide parking spaces for each other during religious celebrations including Idul Fitri and Christmas. The renovation of Istiqlal Mosque began in May last year. The building is an important cultural heritage site and hosts many of the city’s religious and social activities.Jokowi said the renovation would be biggest made to the mosque in 41 years and would cost Rp 475 billion (US$34 million), although he did not specify how much would be spent on the construction of the tunnel.The renovation, carried out by the Public Works and Housing Ministry, includes improving the building’s interior and exterior in accordance to a master plan.“There will also be landscaping [around the mosque]. The river that runs through the complex will be improved, as will the park,” Jokowi said.Two stories of underground parking will also be built to increase the mosque’s parking capacity from 500 cars and motorcycles to approximately 745 vehicles.Jokowi expressed hope the renovations would be completed before Ramadan this year.“We hope it will all be finished in April,” he said.Topics :
Former White House speechwriter for the Obama Administration, Jon Favreau, spoke at the Von Kleinsmid Center Monday afternoon on his experience as a political speechwriter and his current work at Fenway Strategies, a public relations/speechwriting agency, in which he is a founding partner.Political science professor Bob Shrum moderated the talk, titled, “Do Words Have Power?“Shrum began the forum by pointing out that Favreau was one of the youngest chief speechwriters for any president in history.Favreau said the president is very “hands-on,” unlike other presidents — most notably Nixon who preferred a corporate hands-off approach.Favreau pointed out that the only way to create a successful speech is to integrate details on a personal level.“Speechwriting is an incredibly personal process you are trying to integrate thoughts and beliefs with personal stories,” Favreau said. “The only way you can do that is by forming a relationship with the other person.”Furthermore, Favreau expressed the importance of focused speechwriting to the students in attendance. The speechwriter pointed out that having too many ideas in a speech can be confusing .“When there are too many cooks in the kitchen, the speech is bad,” Favreau said.Shrum, toward the end of his section of the discussion, steered Favreau toward the personal style of Obama and the speechwriting relationship Favreau developed with the president.Favreau described his speeches as taking on an extremely logical writing style, per Obama’s vision.“The constitutional professor [and] the legal mind really comes through with him,” Favreau said. “He is extremely logical, extremely ordered in his thinking, which is one of the most important things in speechwriting.”Favreau described the varied instances in which first drafts would come back with few edits from the president and other times in which the paper would be “covered in black ink.”Obama’s nuanced and specific speech style is what Favreau, referred to by Obama as “Favs,” seemed to strive for in his time in the Obama Administration. Favreau referred to Obama’s perfectionism when making edits to speeches, saying that the president was still editing his election night speech “even as states were being called.”Favreau went on to take questions from the audience, ranging from the role of technology and the role of humor in speechwriting and his opinions on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.According to Favreau, Clinton hasn’t been connecting to viewers as well as she can be.“I think that she has missed an opportunity to give big speeches and lay out a vision,” Favreau said. “Running for president is about laying out your vision.”Afterward, Favreau pointed out Trump’s ability to connect to the public with his lack of political correctness.“He has really exposed the phoniness of politics,” Favreau said. “People are like, at least he’s real.”Additionally, Favreau said Trump and Obama are similar because they are both authentic.“Authenticity forms, from above all else, fearlessness,” Favreau said. “[Trump’s] such a narcissist that he doesn’t care.”Favreau also discussed the State of the Union address and jokingly referred to it as a “beast of a process.”He said that the State of the Union requires diligent preparation with the president regarding themes and topics which must be started months before.Favreau closed with what he views as the most important element of speechwriting — storytelling.“A speech is a story with a beginning, middle and an end,” Favreau said. “It all comes down to transitions; you want to make sure every idea in the speech flows seamlessly to the next.”Sonali Seth contributed to this report.
The 12-member committee of the Nimba Budget Forum was on Saturday, August 20, inducted into office as part of the Integrated Public Financial Management Reform Project of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning.The Nimba Budget Forum is tasked to honestly inform Nimba citizens on the transacting of public funds in the county; promote transparency and accountability in the management of public funds; reconcile opinions on the state of public finance; and build trust between local authorities and citizens.William Larpeh, Chairman of the Nimba Budget Forum, said the 12 member committee will create awareness among citizens on the National Budget as a political and economic instrument for decision making that impacts their lives.“The forum will train citizens on the workings of the National Budget and its mechanisms, advocate for Nimba’s fair share of the National Budget and provide citizens access to the National Budget document each fiscal year,” Mr. Larpeh said.He explained further that the Nimba Budget Forum will be responsible to track the flow of public funds from the national government to the county; conduct social audits of public funded projects in Nimba; track budget lines of Nimba’s public funds as they relate to various operations of government agencies;inform the citizens on all matter of public monies that impacts their lives and regularly publish and circulate fact sheets as they relate to opinions of citizens on the management of public funds.“Having stated this,” Mr. Larpeh said, “the forum is not and will not be or seek to become or replace the statutory mandate of government agencies entrusted with the responsibility to account for government funds.”The Integrated Public Financial Management Reform Project was introduced in 2012 to reform Liberia’s public finance sector by providing effective and efficient means and mechanisms to promote accountability in the country’s public finance. Its objectives are to enhance budget planning, coverage and credibility, fiscal policy management or reviewing the PFM legal framework, budget execution, accounting and reporting, among others.The integrated Public Financial Management Reform Project (IPFMRP) of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning is part of the “Open Budget Initiative of the Government of Liberia.” It is being implemented by a local civil society organization, “Grassroots Democracy,” based in Nimba.Last year Grassroots Democracy launched the media component of the Open Budget Initiative to enable media institutions to disseminate the information regarding the functions of the budget forum.In one of their analyses, the budget forum found out that in the 2015/16 National Budget, for example, Nimba County, with a population of 460,026 (2008 census), received US$608,491, a ratio of US$1.37 per person, while Grand Kru County, with a population of 57,440, received US$855,048, which translates to US$14.76 per person.The budget forum says it will check on all of these discrepancies to know what yardstick the government used in terms of equitable development, considering that the population of Nimba is more than the population of seven counties combined.The 12 member committee, comprising 10 men and two women, was selected from across the county from different professional backgrounds, including the media.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)