United To Offer Bumped Flyers Up To $10,000 After Kentucky Doctor Incident Thursday, Apr 27 2017 

DALLAS (AP) — United Airlines says it will raise the limit — to $10,000 — on payments to customers who give up seats on oversold flights and will increase training for employees as it deals with fallout from the video of a passenger being violently dragged from his seat.

United is also vowing to reduce, but not eliminate, overbooking — the selling of more tickets than there are seats on the plane.

The airline made the promises Thursday as it released a report detailing mistakes that led to the April 9 incident on a United Express plane in Chicago.

United isn’t saying whether ticket sales have dropped since the removal of a 69-year-old passenger by three airport security officers, but the airline’s CEO admits it could be damaging.

“I breached public trust with this event and how we responded,” Oscar Munoz told The Associated Press. “People are upset, and I suspect that there are a lot of people potentially thinking of not flying us.”

To head off customer defections, United had already announced that it will no longer call police to remove passengers from overbooked flights, and will require airline crews traveling for work to check in sooner. On Thursday, it added several other new policies including:

  • Raising the limit on compensation to $10,000 for customers who give up their seats starting Friday. That is a maximum — it’s unclear how many, if any, passengers would see that much. The current limit is $1,350. Delta Air Lines earlier this month raised its limit to $9,950.
  • Sending displaced passengers or crew members to nearby airports, putting them on other airlines or arranging for car transportation to get them to their destinations.
  • Giving gate agents annual refresher training in dealing with oversold flights.

Munoz said he also wants agents and flight attendants to get more help at de-escalating tense situations.

While not a factor in this month’s incident, United also said that starting in June it will pay customers $1,500 with no questions asked if the airline loses their bag.

For United, the timing of the viral video could hardly have been worse. The airline struggled badly after a 2010 merger with Continental, enduring several technology breakdowns that angered customers. In the past year, however, the airline has flown more on-time flights and lost fewer bags. It recently rolled out plans for expanding service this summer.

Instead of being commended for those signs of progress, however, it has faced more than two weeks of withering criticism and mockery. David Dao, the passenger injured when he was yanked from his seat, is almost certain to file a lawsuit.

Munoz apologized again and faulted his own initial response, in which he defended airline employees and called Dao belligerent.

“That first response was insensitive beyond belief,” Munoz said. “It did not represent how I felt,” saying that he got “caught up in facts and circumstances” that weren’t initially clear, instead of expressing his shock.

On Thursday, Thomas Demetrio, Dao’s attorney, said in a statement that the policy changes “are passenger friendly and are simple, commonsense decisions on United’s part to help minimize the stress involved in the flying experience.”

In Thursday’s report, United provided new details about the incident. It said Flight 3411 to Louisville, Kentucky, was oversold by one ticket, but a volunteer gave up his seat. After passengers boarded, four crew members of Republic Airline, which operates many United Express flights, showed up late after their Louisville-bound plane was delayed by a mechanical problem.

United said it was a mistake to let the Republic crew board late, which required removing four paying passengers; calling officers when there was no safety or security issue; and not offering enough money to entice volunteers to give up their seats.

“We could have spent a lot of $10,000s and made that thing right,” Munoz said.

United said it will reduce overbooking, particularly on flights with a poor track record of finding volunteers to give up their seats, but won’t end the practice. Munoz said if airlines can’t overbook there will be more empty seats and fares will rise. Delta CEO Ed Bastian called overselling flights “a valid business process.”

Politicians in Washington and elsewhere have called for a ban on overselling flights. Some critics have said airlines should leave a few seats empty if they think they will be needed by crew members.

Annual Jobless Rates Fall In 86 Of Kentucky’s 120 Counties Tuesday, Apr 25 2017 

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky officials say annual unemployment rates fell in 86 of the state’s counties in 2016 compared to 2015. Annual rates rose in 26 counties and stayed the same in eight.

The Kentucky Office of Employment and Training says Woodford County had the state’s lowest annual jobless rate in 2016 at 3.2 percent.

It was followed by Oldham County at 3.4 percent; Fayette and Shelby counties at 3.5 percent each; and Scott County at 3.7 percent.

Officials say Magoffin County had the state’s highest annual unemployment rate in 2016 at 18.8 percent. It was followed by Leslie County at 13 percent; Harlan County at 12.1 percent; Letcher County at 11.9 percent; Knott County at 11.2 percent.

They say Russell County had the state’s largest drop in its annual jobless rate.

Louisville Home Values Go Up As Inventory Falls, But Is It A Bubble? Saturday, Apr 22 2017 

The supply of available homes in Jefferson County isn’t keeping up with demand.

The sparse inventory is keeping home values here on the rise. The latest batch of home assessments from the Jefferson County Property Valuation Administration is evidence of the trend.

Property assessments of some 70,000 residential homes across the county are set to rise, according to Tony Lindauer, head of the Jefferson County Property Valuation Administration.

Lindauer held a news conference Friday morning at the PVA headquarters on Market Street in downtown Louisville to brief reporters on the latest assessments.

“We are one of the hottest markets in the country,” he said. “That’s basically what’s driving the prices up.”

Lindauer’s office conducted assessments for residential and commercial properties in central Jefferson County and the outer, eastern portions of county, beyond the Gene Snyder Expressway.

Assessments are done in accordance with state law, Lindauer said. The law requires the PVA to assess all property at 100 percent fair cash value. The assessments stem largely from the sale price of nearby properties, as PVA personnel don’t physically inspect each property being assessed.

“Our task is to analyze the market and ensure that assessments of unsold properties follow the market determined by buyers and sellers,” Lindauer said.

Courtesy PVA

The pin k areas are where reassessments took place.

A Sign of an Improving Economy

The surge in home prices in Louisville is a sign of an improving economy, said John Garen, director of the John H. Schnatter Institute for the Study of Free Enterprise at the University of Kentucky.

One way to combat higher prices, he said, is to increase the supply. But that depends on the ability of builders to construct new homes and the speed at which those homes are built, he added.

And there isn’t much concern of a housing bubble, as was the case in 2008, when such a bubble precipitated a major economic recession, since “the heavy inducements to issue high-risk mortgages has abated,” Garen said.

Other economic experts seem to agree on that, as well.

Aaron Yelowitz, an associate professor of economics at the University of Kentucky, said although the appreciation of home prices in Louisville since 2014 — more than 11 percent — seems impressive, the annual nominal return of just under 4 percent paints a different picture.

He said the 3.7 percent nominal return is “certainly a positive development,” but pales in comparison to the “real bubble markets” of the mid-2000s in Las Vegas and Florida, which were yielding returns of up to 25 percent.

“This isn’t the case in Louisville,” he said.

And John Nelson, an economics professor at the University of Louisville, said he’s more concerned about the longevity of market conditions and job creation than threats of a housing market bubble, despite rising home prices.

“That’s the least of my concern,” he said of a new bubble.

Nelson said banks have more sustainable lending practices than they did a decade ago, and they’re requiring safer down payment models that allow people to maintain their investment regardless of minor adjustments in home assessment valuations.

Assessments Coming Soon

Lindauer said homeowners can expect to see their adjusted assessments as soon as Friday afternoon.

The PVA expects some 7,000 people to contest their assessment adjustments. And Lindauer said he encourages people to do so, if they feel so inclined.

A series of public meetings is set at libraries across the city to give property owners a chance to meet with PVA staff to discuss their assessments. And residents can schedule conferences to discuss their assessments through May 15.

More information on scheduling an assessment conference can be found on the PVA website.

Will Passport’s Move To West Louisville Spark Economic Development? Wednesday, Apr 19 2017 

A local health care company wants to build a new corporate headquarters on a long-vacant lot in Louisville’s West End.

Officials with Passport Health Plan held a news conference Wednesday morning to announce their intentions to develop the site at the corner of 18th and Broadway in the city’s California neighborhood. The site has been targeted for a large-scale development for nearly a decade, to no avail.

Most recently, a Walmart was planned for the site, but officials with the retailer backed out late last year.

City leaders consider the site to be a critical pillar of a broader redevelopment strategy for western Louisville. The Passport site is near the future home of the west Louisville YMCA, just announced last week.

Officials unveiled plans for a new 62,000-square-foot building at the corner of Broadway and 18th Street on Wednesday morning.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer was emphatic in his praise for Passport Health Plan’s move to develop the site and relocate their corporate headquarters from 5100 Commerce Crossings Drive near Okolona.

“Passport is a great and growing company, and its decision to relocate its headquarters to 18th and Broadway is a huge win for West Louisville – and for the city at large,” Fischer said. “Passport and its employees are driven by the same core values that we embrace as a city – compassion, health and lifelong learning. Metro government is honored to help make this deal a reality.”

 

Screenshot

Future site of corporate headquarters for Passport Health Plan.

The new corporate headquarters will initially be home to Passport’s more than 500 employees, but officials say it will be designed with future growth in mind.

“With our community partners and local residents, we hope to add services to the community beyond clinical care, services that are person-centered,” said Passport CEO Mark B. Carter.

But some experts say that while the project could be a catalyst for economic development in the area — and it’s certainly being pitched as such — that is no guarantee.

“It’s not a false flag, but it’s no silver bullet,” said Kelly Kinahan, assistant professor of urban and public affairs at the University of Louisville.

Passport has acquired the land from New Bridge Development for $9.1 million. A letter of intent with Louisville Metro includes provisions subject to Metro Council approval, such as the creation of a Tax Increment Financing plan – the first TIF established west of Ninth Street – estimated at $2.8-$4 million over 20 year, according to a Passport release.

Those incentives play a key role in determining the viability of economic development, said William Michael Cunningham, an author, economist and investment analyst.

Cunningham said if the public commitment is larger than the private return, then it’s a bad deal for the community.

“It really depends upon the nature of the giveaways and the concessions,” he said. “Are they hiring local residents, are they doing stuff for the community or are they just using the infrastructure — the roads, the bridges, everything that’s been paid for by the community — in order to line their own pockets?”

Janet Kelly, executive director of the Urban Studies Institute at the University of Louisville, said the potential for economic development exists but is not guaranteed, regardless of the incentives provided by local government.

She said the project could do two things: provide more traffic for surrounding businesses and serve as an anchor for other businesses considering a move to West Louisville.

“Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t,” she said.

Who Gets The Jobs?

The California neighborhood where the site sits stretches south from Broadway to Oak Street and from Ninth Street west to 26th Street. More than half of the land in the neighborhood is either zoned for industry use, commercial use or vacant, according to a 2014 report from the defunct Network Center for Community Change.

Some 6,500 people live in the neighborhood, according to the report. And the poverty rate in 2014 was about 46 percent, while the unemployment rate was 27 percent.

Margaret Simms, director of the Low-Income Working Families Institute at the Urban Institute, said for the project to be a successful driver of economic development for the surrounding area, it’s imperative for the corporation to hire residents from the surrounding area — either for full-time employment or to work on the development of the site.

Kinahan, the University of Louisville professor, said that’s a key question: What types of jobs will be available?

“How can Passport and workforce development organizations focus on training and skill development to match West Louisville residents to these job opportunities?” she said.

And it’s vital the corporate entity listen and respond to the community’s needs and desires, Kinahan said.

“The process of disinvestment and decline occurred over many decades, and reinvestment and revitalization will not occur overnight,” she said. “There is much more work to be done.”

How Asian Politics Could Affect U.S. Coal Wednesday, Apr 12 2017 

With Australia coping with the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie and China turning back imports of coal from North Korea this week as apparent punishment for missile tests, U.S. coal exporters are hoping for a boost. But analysts aren’t predicting a coal comeback.

After banning imports of North Korean coal in late February, China started turning shipments away this week. Reuters reports that millions of tons of coal were sent back to North Korea. Largely, these were shipments of anthracite coal, typically used in steel production. S&P Global Market Intelligence’s coal reporter Taylor Kuykendall is skeptical that this event will produce significant effects here in the US.

“[Anthracite coal] is a really small part of our market and not produced that many places in the United States outside of Pennsylvania,” Kuykendall said.

Coal producers have hoped that exports for steel making in China could prop up declining demand for coal in the US. But Kuykendall says U.S. – China relations aren’t yet developed in a way that would guarantee any additional exports.

“I think there are a lot of political hurdles between China and the Trump administration that we haven’t heard a lot about yet,” he said.

Cyclone Debbie

This month’s storm has interrupted coal shipments from Australia as well, briefly increasing demand for U.S. coal. Such disruptions of supply from Australia have led to spikes in coal prices in past years, but analysts aren’t predicting lasting effects this year.

“Most people that are looking at long-term investment aren’t really changing their forecasts,” Kuykendall said. “I don’t think the surge in prices that we’ve seen over the last week or two is something that can be sustained throughout the whole year.”

Peabody Energy, Inc., via Wikimedia Commons

Coal companies have hoped that exports might prop up lagging domestic demand.

Met Coal Bets

Many U.S. companies bet big on metallurgical coal in 2010 and 2011 expecting the Chinese steel industry it supports to continue to surge. But instead demand tapered off at home and abroad, leading to a wave of bankruptcies. Regional companies including Patriot Coal, Arch Coal, Peabody Energy, and Alpha Natural Resources all filed for bankruptcy protection.

Production data from the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration does indicate that both coal production and employment have increased so far this year. Some mines report production increases of 20 percent compared to this time last year – and a 6 percent increase in employment.

Kuykendall reports that “three of Murray Energy Corp.’s Northern Appalachia mines have significantly boosted production over the year-ago period. The company’s Marshall County, Harrison County and Marion County mines [in West Virginia] boosted production.”

But Kuykendall says the overall downward trend in the coal industry is still likely to continue.

“Coal production and employment has been rising for the last nine months or so, but I think we’re going to see that level off and maybe even start declining again unless there’s a significant change in natural gas prices.”

Google Teaches Free Tech Class In South Louisville Tuesday, Apr 11 2017 

About 90 fifth-graders streamed into the library of Blue Lick Elementary School in South Louisville for a different kind of lesson on Tuesday morning.

Eleven-year-old Julianna Hayes was one of them.

“Today, we’re learning about coding and changing code,” she said.

Instructors from Google dropped by the elementary school to teach fourth- and fifth-grade classes how to write computer code. The company’s goal, it says, is to teach students the joy of STEM through its free program, Google Computer Science First.

And if kids aren’t lucky enough for instructors from the tech giant to stop by their school for a few hours, the program is also available online.

Roxanne Scott | wfpl.org

Julianna Hayes

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth of Louisville also attended the event.

“The earlier and the more students can learn about science and coding, the better they’re going to be able to embrace computers as part of their everyday existence,” he said, “and possibly see it as a career path.”

The workforce development group KentuckianaWorks says in its first quarterly report of the year, software developers and computer occupations are among the top-five job postings that pay above a family supporting wage. There were almost 400 job postings for programmers and developers in Louisville in the past three months. Wages ranged between about $32-$46 per hour for a someone with a bachelor’s degree.

Events like this are designed to get kids to play games on laptops — but they’re also about longer-term thinking.

“I think ultimately these type of events have to be incorporated as a part of the curriculum,” Yarmuth said.

Fifth-grader Jasmine Hafling is undecided on what she wants to be when she grows up. But she has quite a few interests so far.

“I’ve always wanted to be a photographer,” she said. “But I like singing, I like soccer and I like cheerleading.”  

And there’s one other career she’s considering.

“I’ve always been interested in technology,” Hafling said. “Like someday I might want to design video games or be video game designer.”

Toyota Announces $1.33 Billion Investment In Kentucky Plant Monday, Apr 10 2017 

Toyota said Monday it is investing $1.3 billion to retool its sprawling factory in Georgetown, Kentucky, where the company’s flagship Camry sedans are built.

No new factory jobs are being added, but Toyota says the upgrades amount to the biggest single investment ever at one of its existing plants in the United States. The retooling also will sustain the existing 8,200 jobs at Toyota’s largest plant, where nearly one-fourth of all Toyota vehicles produced in North America are made, the automaker said.

“This major overhaul will enable the plant to stay flexible and competitive, further cementing our presence in Kentucky,” said Wil James, president of the plant, which also assembles the Avalon and the Lexus ES 350.

The updates at the Kentucky plant are part of Toyota’s plans to invest $10 billion in the United States over the next five years, said CEO Jim Lentz of Toyota Motor North America, in a news release.

Toyota is gearing up for production of the revamped 2018 Camry featuring a new exterior design, an upgraded interior and a new engine. The plant recently added more than 700 workers to support the launch of the 2018 Camry.

“The (production) line itself is being retooled to accommodate this change,” Toyota spokesman Scott Vazin said.

Toyota is betting that the changes will solidify Camry’s position as the top-selling vehicle in the U.S. that isn’t a pickup truck. That dominance is under threat from the popularity of SUVs.

The automaker said the plans also call for updating equipment to streamline the production process and for construction of a new paint shop.

The investment follows the automaker’s decision in 2013 to spend $530 million in the sprawling plant to begin building the luxury Lexus ES 350 in Kentucky.

Last year, the Kentucky plant produced more than 500,000 vehicles.

State and local officials planned to attend an event later Monday at the Georgetown plant to celebrate the automaker’s investment.

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin said Toyota’s investment is “further proof of their commitment to producing American-made cars.”

Free Trade And Food: Farmers Grow Nervous About NAFTA’s Future Monday, Apr 10 2017 

Farmers in the Ohio Valley are waiting to see how President Trump’s choice to lead the Agriculture Department might affect their fortunes. Concerns over trade have held up a confirmation vote for nominee Sonny Perdue, and trade is also on the minds of regional growers.

Farmers here have been big winners under the North American Free Trade Agreement, and while farm country voted overwhelmingly for Trump, his talk about scrapping NAFTA has farmers like Jed Clark nervous.

Alexandra Kanik | Ohio Valley ReSource

Clark and his father farm 5,000 acres in western Kentucky’s Graves County, where they grow corn, wheat, soybeans and tobacco. Right now, Clark is thinking mostly about corn. Yellow corn is used mostly to feed livestock and the white corn is for human consumption. One of every four rows of it will go to Mexico.

“Mexico gets 27 percent of our exports in corn. That’s a huge market,” Clark said.

In the five years following NAFTA’s implementation, Clark said, there was a 130 percent increase in pork exports, which also boosted his sales of yellow corn.

“That also helps Kentucky corn farmers because we are feeding that pork, and the same goes for the chicken market ,too.” Clark said. “So that’s how it affects me personally, as a farmer, when we start talking about trade deals and NAFTA.”

Nicole Erwin | Ohio Valley ReSource

Clark Farms in Graves County, Kentucky, which voted heavily for Trump.

Graves County voted nearly four-to-one in favor of  Donald Trump but his rhetoric on NAFTA is not a winning message here.

“We don’t feel like he will forget us but what we hate to see is the importance of agriculture in these communities [might] be lost,” Clark said. “In my county right here, a lot of the jobs are agricultural based.”

Growing Uncertainty

Clark and other farmers are seeing some mixed signals from the Trump administration. While criticism of NAFTA was a regular part of campaign rhetoric, a recent White House letter to Congress on options for NAFTA took a softer tone. And Agriculture Secretary nominee Perdue has been supportive of NAFTA in the past.

“When you look at the numbers, NAFTA has been a win for the United States of America,” Perdue said at a 2008 event, when he was Governor of Georgia.

He said NAFTA has been “blamed for losses in certain industrial sectors,” that would have undoubtedly been replaced by advanced technology, a view that puts him at odds with the president’s claims that NAFTA was “one of the worst deals ever.”

Pixabay

Corn growers have enjoyed increased sales thanks to expanded exports under NAFTA.

All this leaves folks like Dave Salmonsen, senior director for Congressional relations at the U.S. Farm Bureau, wondering what the new president will do. This is the time of year members from state farm bureaus come together in D.C.

Salmonsen said the consensus is that members would welcome changes to NAFTA that would boost farm trade with Canada — specifically opening more trade in dairy and poultry — but the the uncertainty about Mexico makes them uneasy.

“Everyone’s heard the comments from the Mexican government about potentially looking to other sources of supply for corn or soybeans from Brazil and Argentina,” Salmonsen said.

The U.S. provides 100 percent of the corn and about 75 percent of the soybeans Mexico imports, according to Salmonsen, and that’s not something U.S. agribusiness wants to give up.

Alexandra Kanik | Ohio Valley ReSource

Debate has raged over NAFTA’s winners and losers almost since the deal was implemented in 1994. But Salmonsen said the role it has played in U.S. agribusiness is clear.

“We went from $8.9 billion in exports to Canada and Mexico annually in 1993, before NAFTA, to over $38 billion now, because we’ve gotten rid of the tariffs and other things that were burdening that trade,” Salmonsen said.

‘Double Blow’ for Ohio

Changes to NAFTA now would be shortsighted according to Ian Sheldon, the Andersons Chair in Agricultural Marketing, Trade and Policy at the Ohio State University.

Congress would likely need to approve most changes, which means nothing would be done overnight. But Sheldon said the president could more quickly change tariffs, and that could have global implications for corn and other commodity prices.

Trump has threatened across the board tariffs to both China and Mexico. Sheldon worries about retaliation from both countries.

“Something I don’t think the Trump administration has thought through very carefully, is a lot of the burden of increased tariffs or increase protection would likely fall on poorer consumers,” said Sheldon. So far, Sheldon said, trade policy proposals announced by the Trump Administration have been “unambiguously pretty bad.”

That could pose a double threat for Ohio. Sheldon said not only could Ohio agriculture be hurt by lost exports of corn and oil seeds but consumers could also face higher fruit and vegetable prices.

USDA

Economists warn that increased tariffs could hurt food consumers.

West Virginia Department of Agriculture’s Communication’s Director Crescent Gallagher said West Virginia would not likely be significantly affected by changes to NAFTA in relation to grains and oil seeds. Most of the state’s agricultural export markets are “niche markets,” such as maple syrup to China.

Mexico Looks South

Mexico, meanwhile, is looking at ways to lessen foreign dependence and seek new markets in South America. This is a good thing for Mexicans, according to Mark Weisbrot, co-director and economist for the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a progressive think tank based in Washington, D.C.

Illustration from Wikimedia Commons

The Trump administration is sending mixed signals on NAFTA.

“I think from the Mexican point of view, they really are going to have to try and diversify their economy away from this over reliance on the US economy and the way in which is integrated with NAFTA,” Weisbrot said.

The CEPR reports that poverty in Mexico went up under NAFTA, and almost five million family farmers were displaced, contributing to the surge in emigration to the U.S.

“These were family farmers, most of them, and they lost their farms,” Weisbrot said. “They lost at least 2 million jobs in agriculture and that didn’t have to happen.”

And Weisbrot says NAFTA has also contributed to the loss of  small farms in the U.S..

Alexandra Kanik | Ohio Valley ReSource

On the ‘Sonny’ Side

Back in Graves County, Jed Clark and his father have done well under NAFTA, and Clark said he would like the president to know about that. He wants Trump to hear more about the success stories the deal has created for the rural Americans that support him. Clark believes Sonny Perdue can be their voice.

“Perdue understands agriculture, he has run a granary and [he understands] the importance of trade,” Clark said. “And from all the talk that I’ve heard about him, I think he would be a strong voice.”

In Louisville, Short-Term Rental Hosts Expect Big Derby Payoffs Saturday, Apr 8 2017 

John Mahorney’s backyard garden is filled with tomatoes and radishes. This is a selling point to visitors who want to rent his home when they’re in town.

“I actually offer these things to our guests so it’s kind of a perk to our house,” he says. “If you did wanna cook, there’s some fresh parsley in the backyard.”

His 1,100 square foot home in Paristown Pointe also includes an office space and library. 

Mahorney is one of the 1,500 Louisvillians who opened their homes to visitors on Airbnb in 2016, welcoming 48,000 guests to the city. The site says those guests had an economic impact of almost $23 million.

Mahorney says he knows of six other homes in his neighborhood that are also short-term rental properties.

Since registering with Airbnb last summer, Mahorney says he’s hosted at least 32 guests at his home.

Although more than 1,000 Louisvillians are registered on Airbnb, only a small percentage of them are officially registered with Metro Government — a requirement since August 2016. The city says there are just 129 registrants with about 90 more applications in process. The average Airbnb Louisville host made about $3,700 last year, according to the site.

But we can’t talk about short-term rentals without talking about Derby.

No surprise, but Derby weekend is the time Louisvillians make the most of their short-term rentals. The average price listed on Airbnb for a rental during Derby weekend is almost $1,100 per night. And the site warns that if you’re trying to book those dates — act fast because only 16 percent of Louisville listings are available.

During the rest of the year, John Mahorney in Paristown Pointe usually rents his home for anywhere from $75 to $120 a night.

“And during Derby, it changes everything,” he says. “We’ve been booked for the last few months and it’s probably six or seven times our normal rate.”

You can do the math on that one.

One argument against sites like Airbnb is that they ruin neighborhoods with various outsiders constantly barging in. Mahorney says he’s heard a few complaints like this about short-term rentals in his neighborhood. But he’s not worried.

“We think Airbnb’s are going to be part of our local economy right here in this area because of the performance hall that’s gonna be down the street,” he says. “People either working or visiting those events will wanna stay here.”

In neighborhoods such as Paristown Pointe, Mahorney says, development will make the city more attractive. And he says that will benefit him and other short-term rental hosts — even beyond Derby weekend.

Only 98,000 New Jobs Were Created In March, Labor Department Says Friday, Apr 7 2017 

After adding more than 200,000 jobs in each of the first two months of this year, the U.S. economy gained only 98,000 jobs in March, according to the monthly report released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That result falls short of expectations: While analysts had anticipated a slight dip to around 180,000 new jobs, they had been looking for signs that job growth would keep pace with recent gains.

Unemployment fell to 4.5 percent from 4.7 percent, the Labor Department agency says. That’s the lowest rate since May 2007.

In addition to the data for March, the BLS also stripped nearly 40,000 jobs from its previous estimates for January and February, revising its findings for those months from 238,000 to 216,000 for January and from 235,000 to 219,000 for February.

Stephen George | wfpl.org

Average hourly earnings continued a recent rise for employees on private nonfarm payrolls, increasing by 5 cents to $26.14. That follows a 7-cent increase in February. For private-sector production workers and employees who aren’t in supervisory positions, the average hourly wage rose to $21.90 — a 4-cent gain.

“Over the month, employment growth occurred in professional and business services (+56,000) and in mining (+11,000), while retail trade lost jobs (-30,000),” the BLS says.

The agency adds that the health care sector stayed on its positive trend, adding 14,000 jobs in March.

In the first three months of 2017, the BLS says, “health care added an average of 20,000 jobs per month, compared with an average monthly gain of 32,000 in 2016.”

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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