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April jobs report: job growth beats forecasts; wage growth disappoints

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Employers added a solid 263,000 new jobs to the US economy in April — once again surpassing economic forecasts, according to the latest jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

All the new hiring in April, plus an increase in people leaving the labor force, pushed the already super-low unemployment rate down even further, to 3.6 percent. That’s the lowest rate of unemployed Americans recorded since December 1969.

Yet the smaller pool of available workers didn’t translate to much higher pay: Workers only got an average hourly pay raise of 6 cents in April. A month earlier, wages rose a meager 4 cents.

The new jobs report shows that the US economy is continuing to expand, but without middle- and working-class families seeing much of the benefit. Job security is the one advantage employees can count on these days.

Low unemployment and high job creation means that nearly every American who wants to work and is able to has snagged a job by now. And those who lose their jobs, or decide to leave, probably won’t have a hard time finding another position.

Most of the new jobs created in April were positions in business services, construction, health care, and social assistance.

While all the new hiring is good, the numbers are not as great as last year. The average monthly job growth in the past three months was about 169,000, which is lower than the 223,000 monthly average during the same period in 2018. The drop isn’t alarming; it just suggests that the current labor shortage is making it hard for employers to fill all the open positions.

But with such a tight labor market and rising productivity, workers should expect much bigger pay raises than they’re getting.

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Businesses are being super stingy

Even though Americans are finding jobs pretty easily, they still aren’t seeing the so-called “economic boom” reflected in their pocketbooks.

April was another month with disappointing wage growth.

Private sector workers (excluding farmworkers) got an average 6-cent hourly raise, adding up to an average hourly pay of $27.77. In the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have only increased by 3.2 percent, and that doesn’t even take inflation into account.

The latest pay data suggests that workers and labor unions will continue to strike to force businesses to boost wages.

Slow income growth has been the weakest part of the US economy in its recovery from the Great Recession. Wages have barely kept up with the cost of living, even as the unemployment rate dropped and the economy expanded.

April’s 6-cent average hourly wage hike suggests more of the same, despite a surprising 10-cent jump in February.

Over the past year, the cost of food and housing has gone up, so paychecks have had to stretch further. But because of recent falling gas prices, the annual inflation rate has fallen to 1.9 percent, compared to a high of 2.4 percent in 2018 (based on the Consumer Price Index).

So when you take inflation into account, workers’ real wages only grew about 1.3 percent within the past year. That’s faster than they’ve been growing since the recession started in 2007, but it’s still pitiful when you compare it to the sky-high payouts corporate CEOs are getting.

Frustration over stagnant wages is also the major underlying factor behind widespread worker strikes across the country in places like California, Illinois, and Missouri. Last month, 31,000 supermarket employees went on strike in the Northeast to reverse proposed pay cuts and rising insurance premiums. The Stop & Shop strike in mid-April was the largest private sector work stoppage in years. After eight days with empty supermarkets, the company agreed to scrap its plan.

Some economists are confident that wages will start to pick up if this trend continues. “[T]he sharp increase in the number of working days lost to strikes over pay and benefits over the past year suggests that employees increasingly recognize that the balance of power has shifted in their favor,” Ian Shepherdson, chief economist for the research firm Pantheon Macroeconomics, wrote Friday in an analysis.

The widespread labor unrest underscores how the Republican tax cuts did little to help working-class families, despite all the promises from congressional Republicans.

In response, voters in some states have forced businesses to give low-paid employees a raise.

In November’s midterm elections, voters in Missouri and Arkansas overwhelmingly approved ballot measures that will raise the minimum wage for nearly 1 million workers across both states. And as a result of the new laws, low-wage workers in 19 states got pay raises on January 1.

Those laws have helped boost wages so far in 2019, but not enough.

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How Self-Hatred Can Insensibly Poison Our Lives

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American woman Shelli Wilder Netko wrote a post about what worries all the women in the world — self-hatred, inevitable aging, and the race against time that will definitely be lost. But instead of worrying about these things, we should just focus on loving the people around us. Her post was so moving that we feel for her from the bottom of our hearts.

Here at Bright Side, this post has moved us a step closer to the most sincere love for ourselves. We hope it will do the same for you.

I have never really liked my hands. I have short, calloused fingers, wide palms, and messed up nail beds from a nail-biting stint when I was in grade school. Add to it the effect of knuckle-popping, which I became obsessed with after I saw the cool kid on the block do it in second grade. But nonetheless, I’ve always referred to my hands as looking like “dog paws,” versus the long, graceful hands that my sister has and that I’ve always wanted. I’ve always thought I was in the wrong line when God sprinkled “beautiful hand fairy dust” on the babies.

To add to my hand shame, since my 20s I’ve had the biggest, juiciest veins in my hands and forearms that have always been a phlebotomist’s dream come true, causing my hands to look a bit masculine and old if you ask me. When my kids were young they liked to sit by me during church and “play” with my veins to make the time pass more quickly. They would sometimes ask why my hands were “like that.” The standard mom answer applied here, “They just are, Hun.” But I always liked it — having one of them holding and touching my hands, no matter where or when or why.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve done my part to win the anti-aging race with my body and face. Eating healthy, exercising, and spending far too much money taking care of my skin. And yet, when I look down at my keyboard countless times a day, I still see these hands that look much older than my heart feels, and appear as if they could use a nice rest.

When the photographer stopped me to pose for this photo at my wedding in March to capture my sash and ring on the lace pattern of my dress, I automatically blurted out, “Can you edit the picture? I don’t like my hands.” Everyone has something they don’t fully embrace about themselves, don’t they?

But when the wedding photos came back I saw my hands in a whole new light. This picture is so beautiful, it captures everything. I saw the hands that had baked about 200 Birthday cakes, a truckload of cookies, changed thousands of diapers, wiped away a million crocodile tears, and clapped till they were raw cheering my kids on through every sport.

I saw this picture and I saw a gift. These hands may not be the smoothest, most graceful, longest, most feminine hands, but they are perfectly suited for the work that was laid out for me. These hands have been blessed with holding my newborn babies and grandbabies and holding the father of my children as he took his last breath.

I will find a beautiful frame for this picture to remind myself constantly of the love and purpose and duty I have in this life, and to remind myself that I have my mother’s hands — her gift to me.

What do you think of this story? Is there something about your appearance that you don’t like? Tell us in the comment section below.

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A Daughter Wanted to Brag About Her Gorgeous Mom on Twitter and Accidentally Started a Beauty Contest

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We’re totally used to social media sites that turn out to be an unpredictable phenomenon today and any post has the potential to go viral. This is what happened to a girl whose screen name is Your boyfriend’s best friend who posted a photo of her 43-year-old mom on Twitter and accidentally started a beauty contest. And even though it was just moms who took part in this sudden marathon, it was a dad who won!

Bright Side couldn’t stand aside and has decided to show you some women who know about the secret of eternal youth. And the winner, of course.

In just one day, a daughter made her mom popular: her post got 23,000 likes and caused a lot of hype in the comments. Twitter users were really interested in her beauty secrets, because this 43-year-old woman looks really magnificent. So some people asked for her cosmetologist’s contact details and others tried to find out the woman’s phone number, promoting themselves as potential suitors.

Some people also wanted to show off their beautiful moms, so they started posting their photos in the comments. As a result, the post turned into a real beauty contest.

The more women who have managed to stop time there were, the more they were suspected in using magic.

Some users even doubted that they were relatives with their moms at all. Let’s agree: when a mother looks better than her daughter, the suspicions about whether they have common genes or not are pretty relevant.

Undoubtedly, all these women are extremely popular with men, even the younger ones.

It’s hard to believe that these hot beauties have 3, 4, or even 5 kids.

The finalists were women who were older than 60. When you look at them, you realize that age is just a number.

But the winner was a dad. Apparently, a user who calls themselves Taste Booster wanted to dilute this beauty flow with a touch of masculinity. All in all, the photo of a man lying down among all the fish he caught, a cat, and a dog hit the jackpot: the picture got 1,700 likes and became more successful than any of the other photos in the comments. The only exception was the photo of the person who started this beauty contest.

Undoubtedly, all the moms who participated in this viral post deserve admiration, but the picture “Dad and some bream” is an amazing sensation. Which one do you like the most?

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Costs of raising pets and changing pet market consumer trends

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반려동물 1마리 키우는데 드는 비용과 소비 트렌드 변화

In the past couple of decades, it’s become far more common in Korea to own a pet.
Owning a pet, of course, usually costs some money.
In this report, our Hong Yoo looks at how much that might be and how the petcare market is changing.
More than 10 million people living in South Korea have a pet.
That’s one pet for every four households.
According to a pet report by KB Financial Group, raising a dog costs an average of 85 U.S. dollars a month and raising a cat requires an average of 64 dollars a month.
Most of that money goes on food and treats.
The rest of the money is used for medical care and grooming.
But people are happy to treat their pets because these days pet owners think of their pets as a member of their family.
In Korea, these people are called “PetFam”.
The pet food market alone has seen an average of 19 percent annual growth on the back of this trend.
And because people think of their pets as part of their family, they want to take their pets along with them on trips.
So tour companies have started creating “pet tours”.
“Because there are people who want this kind of tour, we saw the potential of such a product in the market and so we came up with our Jeju pet tour. Pets can accompany their family all the time during the tour to Jeju Island including at the restaurant, tour spots, and the hotel because this tour is pet-centered.”
There are even home spa products for pets such as skin moisturizers, scaling products and grooming mists labeled as premium products because they are organic, eco-friendly, and pet-friendly. They can cost up to 40 dollars.
“Before, people used to think about pets as a living thing that you can buy just like a toy. But because people think of their pets as a part of the family, the pet market has become similar to the baby market. So now, owners are turning to premium products for their pets.”
And there are also luxury pet shops which sell premium products that can cost up to a thousand dollars.
That is the cost of a pet bed made out of oak in the style of the bed of King Louis the 16th.
And at this luxury department store, the most popular dog food costs more than 50 dollars for just 1-and-a-half kilograms.
These changing consumer trends in the pet market show how owners are willing to spend a lot on the best quality products for their pets now that they are seen as part of the family.
Hong Yoo, Arirang News.

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