Friday, January 21, 2011

National and global news: China, construction, job seekers, and more

Did you know that China has a National Bureau of Statistics? I heard about it for the first time when I read a NY Times article this week on China's growth in 2010. As has been a hot topic in recent months, the article touches on Chinese monetary policy and the effects on the country's currency. It also points out that inflation is running a little high, likely due to China's economic growth and its monetary policy.

An article this week in USA Today provides four tips for older workers to increase their employment security. Well... that's what the title and intro suggests. But I think that three of the four tips sound more like job search advice, and that all of the tips are helpful to workers (and job seekers) of any age. If you're curious about their advice, check out the full article.

The construction of homes in the U.S. is still at low levels. This is probably not surprising, as the areas which bubble during economic booms tend to lag in their recovery time. In December, the number of housing starts was down somewhat, while the number of permits ticked up. An article in yesterday's edition of the Washington Post provides more info.

A separate article from USA Today indicates that the sale of non-new (used?) homes increased in December. Sales dropped off somewhat last spring after the new home buyer's tax credit ended; this uptick brings sales to highest level since last May.

Today's last blurb is on the recent declines in union membership. In 2010, less than 12 percent of wage and salary workers were unionized. The average in 2009 was higher, at 12.3 percent. The highest rates of union membership were in the fields of education, training, and library. Moreover, the public sector is unionized at a higher rate than the private sector. But which state has the highest rate, and which state has the lowest? You'll have to read today's news release from the BLS.

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