Dec 6th - 2:09 pm
The government reports that solid job growth in November cut the U.S. unemployment rate to 7 percent, a five-year low. The Labor Department says employers added 203,000 jobs last month after adding 200,000 in October.
The economy has now added a four-month average of 204,000 jobs from August through November, up from 159,000 a month from April through July.
Many of the November job gains were in higher-paying industries. Manufacturers added 27,000 positions, the most since March 2012. Construction firms gained 17,000.
The strengthening job market is likely to fuel speculation that the Federal Reserve may start to scale back its bond purchases when it meets later this month.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
Dec 6th - 12:23 pm
In our exclusive interview this week, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory linked the state’s slowly improving unemployment rate to his decision to make North Carolina the first state to forfeit federal long-term unemployment benefits. The money is intended for those out of work longer than 26 weeks.
Said Gov. McCrory: “Us not extending [long-term] unemployment [benefits], we think, did have a major impact because some of the people who have been on unemployment for a long period of time actually then applied and accepted available jobs.”
But U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez sees it differently. He told me that out-of-work North Carolinians, who continue their job search while receiving unemployment benefits, are simply complying with the rules. Any uptick in hiring, Perez said, can be linked to the overall health of the economy.
His full quote follows:
I find that somewhat curious because they came to us asking for a waiver, or an exception. And the fact of the matter is the state legislature and the governor in North Carolina acted and ended up disqualifying the state of North Carolina — the people living there — from receiving long-term unemployment benefits.
And one of the conditions of receipt of long-term unemployment benefits is that you have to continue your job search. And people, in fact, do continue the job search when they are receiving long-term unemployment benefits. And what we see in other states and what we see in this program is that as the economy grows, more people get jobs. And the way the law is written, it’s a self-ending program.
So, this program, over the last 60 years, has been a critical safety net. Republican and Democratic presidents, Republican and Democratic Congresses have supported it, and we need to do that again now.
Dec 6th - 11:10 am
On Capital Tonight: Gov. Pat McCrory talks about the effect of military budget cuts and more in an exclusive interview in Washington, plus our Young Voters James Kotecki and Jenifer Daniels talk how to attract young adults to sign up for health insurance. Watch the program here.
Dec 5th - 5:31 pm
The unparalleled world leader, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and beloved president of South Africa died after battling a recurring lung infection.
He was known to his nation as Madiba, but known to the world as the man who broke the back of the racist policies of apartheid South Africa.
Nelson Mandela’s interest in education and politics started early in life. He studied hard and eventually became a lawyer.
But it wasn’t until the 1948 election victory of the Afrikaner dominated National Party supporting the segregationist policies of apartheid that the young lawyer Nelson Mandela found his voice.
From then on he became an active leader in the ANC, The African National Congress, devoted to ending apartheid and the discrimination that kept thousands of black South Africans living in ghettos without proper housing, healthcare or education.
The long struggle against apartheid in South Africa became bloody through much of the 1950s and early 60s, as Mandela and the ANC felt the only way to make progress was to use arms and force.
He was branded a terrorist, and after living on the run for months, Mandela was arrested in 1962 charged with sabotage and treason. And in June of 1964 he was sentenced to life in prison.
He was a model prisoner on remote Robben Island, but even while he was in jail, his power and influence grew.
The chant “Free Nelson Mandela” became the anthem of the struggling nation and pressure grew on the South African government to release him.
Finally, under intense pressure from the rest of the world, and after meeting with Mandela secretly in prison, South African President F.W. de Klerk reversed a long standing ban on the ANC and other anti-apartheid organizations.
In 1990, at age 70, Mandela was released from jail. The event was broadcast live all over the world.
After his long exile, Mandela worked tirelessly to achieve South Africa’s first multiracial elections.
His partnership with F.W. de Klerk in dismantling the oppression of Apartheid won both men the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, and in 1994, Mandela was elected president.
Nelson Mandela served as president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He became a beloved figure around the globe and traveled extensively, even making several trips to New York City.
But in his later years, after a series of health problems, he retired from public life.
Nelson Mandela will remain a towering figure, known as a peace maker, a true leader and a man whose dignity carried his nation out of the dark.
For more on Nelson Mandela’s life, click here to view Tim Boyum’s interview with James Joseph of Duke University, a former U.S. Ambassador to South Africa.
- Elizabeth Kaledin
Dec 5th - 2:15 pm
WASHINGTON—Congress is moving forward with its version of Kilah’s Law, a child protection legislation named for Kilah Davenport of Charlotte who was nearly beaten to death by her stepfather.
North Carolina now has its own version of Kilah’s Law on the books and a federal version could be next.
The legislation is named for Kilah Davenport, who was just three-years-old last year when her stepfather beat her so severely that doctors had to remove a part of her skull which left her brain damaged.
Congressman Robert Pittenger of North Carolina’s 9th District introduced the federal bill, formally called the Kilah Davenport Child Protection Act of 2013.
“This is a very important bill that will put in process the standards that need to be there on a federal level of what we did in North Carolina to make sure that we have sentencing guidelines that are appropriate for the type of egregious act that occurred with this sweet little Kilah Davenport,” said Pittenger.
On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee met to debate the legislation. It was unanimously approved. If passed by Congress, it would require states to punish child abusers who inflict serious injury with a minimum sentence of 10 years.
“We’re going to have the attorney generals of each state respond back in six months. They will give us a report of where their sentencing guideline is. If it’s as low as what North Carolina’s was, we want to know that. And then we’ll give them three years to be in compliance with that threshold,” said Pittenger.
An aide to Pittenger said the legislation is designed to draw attention to state child protection laws that are deficient and enable state legislatures to make changes on their own.
“Unfortunately it took this very tragic accident involving this sweet, little three-year-old girl for us to respond. But North Carolina took care of it. I’m proud of our state, and now we want to see that done on a federal level,” said Pittenger.
Congressman Pittenger said the full House could vote on the bill before Christmas.
Dec 5th - 2:13 pm
“One of the issues is that we have to play hungry, keep driving, play to win,” said Scott Carlberg with E4 Carolinas.
Gov. Pat McCrory and others say now is the time for the state to begin exploration of offshore energy resources. He has started working with a coalition of governors from coastal states to encourage the Obama administration to allow this work to be done and he says the sooner the better.
“The sad news is the oil companies are just moving elsewhere in the world. And they are moving all their equipment elsewhere and their jobs elsewhere,” said McCrory.
The governor was speaking at the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce’s Energy Conference Wednesday. He says offshore energy is just part of what the state should be relying on.
People both in the energy and business committee say that it is important that North Carolina creates an all of the above energy policy to keep the state moving forward.
“It’s what serious states are thinking about because they are competing for the future,” said Lew Ebert with the NC Chamber of Commerce.
Business leaders note that politics on both the federal and state level create some barriers when it comes to expanding energy options, notably in the area of hydraulic fracturing and off shore exploration. But, they say, becoming well-rounded when it comes to energy is beneficial for the state.
“I think in this state we have people of both parties that are interested in creating jobs and economic activity,” said Ebert. “And we think that is where energy and the economy collide in kind of a positive way.”
McCrory cautions that the state needs to do a long-term assessment of renewable subsidies and what kind of return on investment they offer. But, he says, that shouldn’t slow the state down from pushing into the future on energy exploration.
“We’re reeling from sitting on the sidelines for the past decade, which we should have never done,” said McCrory.
North Carolina is expected to start permitting fracking in 2015. And federal regulations say offshore drilling leases can’t start again until 2017.
- Loretta Boniti
Dec 5th - 11:29 am
On Capital Tonight: Home education is on the rise in North Carolina. We talk with Spencer Mason of North Carolinians for Home Education, Terry Stoops of the John Locke Foundation and Matt Ellinwood of the NC Justice Center about how hands-on should the state be in regulating home schooling. Watch the episode here.
Dec 4th - 11:25 pm
Gov. Pat McCrory visited Washington on Wednesday to meet with military and congressional leaders to build support for the state’s military installations. Gov. McCrory says he wants to find a long-term strategy to protect North Carolina’s military bases and training facilities from federal spending cuts.
During his trip, he granted a wide-ranging interview to Washington bureau reporter Geoff Bennett.
What follows are excerpts of the full interview, which will air on the December 5th edition of Capital Tonight.
Gov. Pat McCrory on his plans to improve the state’s unemployment rate:
“Us not extending [long-term] unemployment [benefits], we think, did have a major impact because some of the people who have been on unemployment for a long period of time actually then applied and accepted available jobs. And we also sent very strong signal to business that the money that they were paying for future unemployment wasn’t going to be as high in the upcoming year. And the tax reform is a major signal for business recruitment and business growth. So we do think our policies are making a difference. … It’s the first time we’ve had net job growth in North Carolina in five years … And that’s occurred, by the way, in my ninth, tenth, eleventh month in office. So some of these policies are working.”
His perspectives on teacher pay increases and the high rate of teacher turnover:
“It is a crisis. I think teachers deserve a pay raise. I’ve been in office now in my tenth month. This problem’s been going on for five years. Only the protests started when I came into office. And I welcome those protests. But I really welcome input from teachers, and principals and superintendents and parents … I’ve got several issues. I’ve got to find the money in very tough economic times, which is my first goal. And my second goal is how best to give raises to teachers. Do you do it on performance? Do you do it across the board? Do you do it based upon, ‘Are you a math and science teacher?’ — which is a higher need than, say, a PE teacher? These are issues that we are going to try to get resolved between now and May.”
How he’ll avoid the problems and cronyism that plagued the Rural Economic Development Center, while restructuring and privatizing part of the state’s Department of Commerce:
“The last thing I’m going to do is create another organization, which creates another organization, where all this power is off on the side, and no one knows what the heck they are doing. We have actually said all the expenditures will basically be on the public side. The private side will be doing the marketing, but they will not be making final decisions on incentives or any other types of packages, as we have today. Those will be public and transparent decisions. That’s very crucial in our design.”
His reaction to statewide Moral Mondays protests:
“Some of it is purely political. Some of it is deserved frustration. Some of it well-organized, even out of Washington, because of long-term political needs. I respect protesters. We need to start talking with each other instead of down to each other. I don’t like the dialogue in which people are saying, ‘I’m moral and your immoral.’ I don’t even agree with the concept of Moral Mondays. I don’t mind the protests, but to say if we disagree politically one person is moral and the other person is immoral, I think is what’s wrong with politics today — whether it comes from the right or the left. I want to surround myself with people who don’t just protest, but people who have solutions.”
His governing philosophy:
“A problem solver with long-term fixes, not short term fixes.”
Dec 4th - 6:32 pm
That includes NAACP President Rev. William Barber.
The charges are second degree trespassing and violating legislative building rules.
However, earlier in the day, the judge dismissed the failure to disperse charges.
The trial for the 12 of hundreds of others who were arrested since the Moral Monday protests began lasted two days.
Prosecutors argue the protesters broke the rules by singing, yelling and holding political signs and that they were hindering official business within the legislative building.
Dec 4th - 11:04 am
WASHINGTON—Gov. Pat McCrory will be in Washington D.C. Wednesday.
He will meet with military and congressional leaders on the importance of the military and veterans in North Carolina.
Gov. McCrory will also meet with North Carolina’s congressional delegation to discuss ways to further support the military and veterans.
North Carolina has the third-highest active duty military presence in the country and has more than 769,00 veterans.