Latest Jobs Report Is Good And Bad
WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. employers extended a healthy streak of hiring in February by adding 295,000 jobs, the 12th straight monthly gain above 200,000. The Labor Department says the unemployment rate fell to 5.5 percent from 5.7 percent. But the decline in the rate occurred largely because some people out of work stopped looking for jobs and were no longer counted as unemployed. The strong job gains weren't enough to boost wages by much. The average hourly wage rose just 3 cents to $24.78 an hour in February. Over the past year, 3.3 million more Americans have gotten jobs. More jobs and lower gas prices have led many consumers to step up spending. That's boosting the economy, offsetting sluggish economies overseas and giving employers the confidence to hire.
PA Jobless Rate Creeps Up
MILLVALE, Pa. HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania's unemployment rate rose to 5.1 percent in January as payrolls crept lower. The state Department of Labor and Industry said Friday that the seasonally adjusted rate in January was 5.1 percent. The department had initially put December's rate at 4.8 percent, a post-recession low, but it has since revised it higher to 5 percent. The U.S. rate was 5.5 percent in February. In a survey of households, the department estimates that the labor force, or the number of people working or looking for work, grew by 13,000. That's below its 2012 peak. Employment rose by 10,000, climbing toward 6.1 million, while unemployment grew by 3,000 to 322,000. A separate survey of employers found non-farm payrolls fell by about 3,500. At just above 5.8 million, payrolls remain below pre-recession levels.
Mother Overdoses; Baby Starves To Death
MILLVALE, Pa. (AP) - Police believe a 22-year-old woman died of an overdose a week or two ago, before her 10-month-old boy starved when no one was left to care for him in the western Pennsylvania apartment they shared. Assistant Allegheny County police Superintendent James Morton says the woman was found dead shortly after 9 a.m. Friday in her Millvale apartment. The woman's brother found the bodies after he went to check on her after not hearing from her for several days. Morton says there were no signs of foul play. Though the woman's cause of death won't be known until an autopsy, police suspect she overdosed on drugs. Her son apparently died some time later because he was unable to feed or care for himself. Police were withholding names while they tried to contact the baby's father.
Grandmother Charged After Baby Found Outside
PITTSBURGH (AP) - A Pittsburgh woman has been charged with endangering the welfare of her 2-year-old granddaughter after the girl was found outside in the cold, wearing only a pair of boots. Forty-five-year-old Erika Rutherford faces a preliminary hearing March 13 following her arrest Thursday evening. That's when police say a neighbor called 911 after finding the girl outside about 6:40 p.m. The temperature was well below freezing at the time. Police say Rutherford was supposed to be watching the girl while the girl's mother - Rutherford's daughter - was at work. Online court records don't list an attorney for Rutherford.
Jury Sides With Greene County Property Owners
The "Tribune-Review" reports that a federal jury has determined that nine property owners in Greene County were underpaid for their gas royalities. The newspaper says that the property owners claimed that Energy Corportion of America improperly charged them for transmission and marketing costs while it was taking gas from their properities. The jury agreed with a damage amount close to $1 million.
Police Officer Killed In Philadelphia
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Philadelphia police say the officer killed in a shootout with two would-be robbers at a video game store engaged in a "fierce" gun battle. Police on Friday identified the two gunmen arrested in the fatal shooting as brothers, 30-year-old Carlton Hipps and 26-year-old Ramone Williams. They are charged with murder and attempted murder. Police say the two did not know Officer Robert Wilson was in the GameStop store. They say Wilson was at the counter when they entered late Thursday afternoon. He was shot in the body and head during the ensuing exchange of gunfire. As Hipps left the store, police say he was shot in the leg by Wilson's partner. Police Capt. James Clark says Wilson engaged in a "fierce" gun battle and was "a hero and an absolute warrior" trying to protect patrons and employees in the store.
Big Banks Pass Stress Test
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Federal Reserve says all of the nation's 31 largest banks are adequately fortified to withstand a severe U.S. and global recession and keep lending. Results of the Fed's annual "stress tests" show that as a group, the 31 banks are stronger than they have been at any time since the 2008 financial crisis struck. The banks tested included JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo - the four biggest U.S. banks by assets.