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As Wildfire Season Looms, Finding Tree Trimmers is a New Problem

As Wildfire Season Looms, Finding Tree Trimmers is a New Problem

Economic news
OAKHURST, Calif. — Pacific Gas & Electric has a big problem. Its equipment keeps coming into contact with dry trees and shrubs and starting devastating wildfires. So the company is scrambling to trim or cut down hundreds of thousands of trees across its vast Northern California territory.But it has another problem: finding people to do that work.Beyond the tight labor market, there is the challenge of enlisting a certain kind of worker for the difficult and dangerous job. To trim trees well, especially the 200-footers in the Sierra Nevada forests, contractors must be strong and agile, and able to handle fear and adrenaline surges.When all goes well, “it’s like Cirque du Soleil up in the trees,” said Jose Mercado, founder of the Hispanic Arborist Association, who climbed trees p...
Trump Gives Farmers $16 Billion in Aid Amid Prolonged China Trade War

Trump Gives Farmers $16 Billion in Aid Amid Prolonged China Trade War

Economic news
On Monday, Canada and Mexico officially lifted the tariffs they had imposed on American pork, milk, cheese, wine and other products, a major relief to American farmers who count the countries as two of their top three export markets, in addition to China.The collateral damage to farmers from the trade clash with China now looms as a potential obstacle to the president’s re-election. China’s tariffs against products like soybeans and beef and a recent move to cancel a major pork order have hit swing states, including Iowa, Ohio and Wisconsin, especially hard.A survey of 400 American farmers by Purdue University and the CME Group, a global markets company, showed that sentiment plunged in April, stemming from concerns about worsening tensions with China. Only 28 percent of farmers survey...
Many Adults Would Struggle to Find $400, the Fed Finds

Many Adults Would Struggle to Find $400, the Fed Finds

Economic news
Four in 10 American adults wouldn’t be able to cover an unexpected $400 expense with cash, savings or a credit-card charge that could be quickly paid off, a new Federal Reserve survey finds.About 27 percent of people surveyed would need to borrow or sell something to pay for such a bill, and 12 percent would not be able to cover it at all, according to the Fed’s 2018 report on the economic well-being of households.The share that could cover such an expense more easily has been climbing steadily and now stands at 61 percent, up from just half when the Fed started this annual survey in 2013. Still, the finding underlines the fact that many Americans remain on the edge financially even as this economic expansion is approaching record length and people have become more optimistic.Household...
Trump Administration to Announce Farm Aid to Ease Pain of Trade War

Trump Administration to Announce Farm Aid to Ease Pain of Trade War

Economic news
He reached out to Canadian and Mexican officials, offering a deal in which the United States would lift its tariffs if the countries would agree to prevent future surges of metal into the United States market, these people said. If those surges happened, the United States could reimpose tariffs of 10 percent on aluminum and 25 percent on steel on the specific products affected. And Canada and Mexico would agree that, if they retaliated, it would only be on American metal, and not on American farmers.On Monday, Canada and Mexico officially lifted the tariffs they had imposed on American pork, milk, cheese, wine and other products, a major relief to American farmers who count the countries as two of their top three export markets, in addition to China.The collateral damage to farmers from th...
What Reparations for Slavery Might Look Like in 2019

What Reparations for Slavery Might Look Like in 2019

Economic news
To get a sense of the scale, consider that the United States budget this year is $4.7 trillion.Of course, varying any critical assumption can add or subtract billions or trillions of dollars.Thomas Craemer, an associate professor of public policy at the University of Connecticut, used the same starting point — 40 acres and a mule — but a different method in a study published last year. He used the current average price of agricultural land and figured that 40 acres of farmland and buildings would amount to roughly $123,000. If all of the four million slaves counted in the 1860 census had been able to take advantage of that offer, it would have totaled more than $486 billion today — or about $16,200 for each descendant of slaves.What form would payment take?Compensation programs can t...
‘We Have a Lot of Questions’: Doubts Loom Over G.M. Plan for Lordstown Plant

‘We Have a Lot of Questions’: Doubts Loom Over G.M. Plan for Lordstown Plant

Economic news
It has all the elements of a classic Trump tale: intervention with an otherwise heartless company, a saved factory in the heartland, and assurances that old-school manufacturing jobs would be preserved.On Wednesday, the factory in question was the General Motors plant in Lordstown, Ohio. Mr. Trump announced that it was being sold to a little-known maker of electric vehicles, Workhorse Group, and that G.M. was making a new investment in the state.“I have been working nicely with GM to get this done,” he wrote on Twitter. “With all the car companies coming back, and much more, THE USA IS BOOMING.”But for all the seemingly good news in Ohio, which has been hit hard by the loss of manufacturing jobs, the president’s record in delivering on such deals suggests that caution is warrante...
Trump Increases China Tariffs as Trade Deal Hangs in the Balance

Trump Increases China Tariffs as Trade Deal Hangs in the Balance

Economic news
Stock markets fell Thursday in the United States, but pared some of those losses after Mr. Trump’s comments in the afternoon. The S&P 500 index ended the day down less than 0.5 percent.Talks resumed at 5 p.m. on Thursday at the offices of the United States trade representative, and Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, and Robert Lighthizer, Mr. Trump’s top trade negotiator, continued them over a dinner with Mr. Liu and some members of the Chinese delegation.The new 25 percent rate went into effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday. But the higher tariffs will hit only products that leave China after that time, not those already in transit. That could provide some additional time for the two sides to reach an agreement. Mr. Trump may also be able to rescind the tariffs once a deal is reached,...
Argentina’s Economic Misery Could Bring Populism Back to the Country

Argentina’s Economic Misery Could Bring Populism Back to the Country

Economic news
GREGORIO DE LAFERRERE, Argentina — The turquoise paint is peeling from the walls of Claudia Veronica Genovesi’s modest home. Her roof leaks, but she and her husband — both office cleaners — cannot afford to patch it.On the ragged streets of the shantytown across the road, where stinking outhouses sit alongside shacks fashioned from rusted sheets of tin, families have surrendered hopes that sewage lines will ever reach them.They do not struggle to fashion an explanation for their declining fortunes: Since taking office more than three years ago, President Mauricio Macri has broken with the budget-busting populism that has dominated Argentina for much of the past century, embracing the grim arithmetic of economic orthodoxy.Mr. Macri has slashed subsidies for electricity, fuel and tra...
Alice M. Rivlin, 88, a Leading Government Economist, Is Dead

Alice M. Rivlin, 88, a Leading Government Economist, Is Dead

Economic news
She was born Georgianna Alice Mitchell (called Georgie Alice as a girl, she later preferred to go by Alice) on March 4, 1931, in Philadelphia and grew up mainly in Bloomington, Ind., where her father, Allan C. G. Mitchell, headed the Indiana University physics department. He had worked on developing the atomic bomb as part of the Manhattan Project. Her mother, Georgianna (Fales) Mitchell, was a national officer of the League of Women Voters.While a student at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, where she had intended to study history, Ms. Rivlin was inspired by a summer economics course in Bloomington that redirected her ambitions. Then came graduate work at Harvard; marriage to Lewis A. Rivlin, a lawyer; and a move to Washington, where she had won a Brookings fellowship to finish a difficu...
White House Reassesses Auto Tariffs as It Focuses on China Fight

White House Reassesses Auto Tariffs as It Focuses on China Fight

Economic news
WASHINGTON — The White House has decided to delay for six months a decision due Friday about whether to impose levies on foreign cars and car parts, people familiar with the situation said. Such a move would have taken aim at Japan and Europe, big auto manufacturers, and likely disrupted trade talks that the Trump administration had just begun.The decision reflects the administration’s reassessment of pieces of its tariff strategy with allies around the world as it focuses on an all-encompassing trade war with China.On Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also said that the United States was closing in on an agreement with Mexico and Canada to roll back tariffs on steel and aluminum, which were imposed last year. If the administration does, it would end a standoff that has heig...