First Draft: Jobs, jobs, jobs
Today, as ever, it’s all about jobs. War, pestilence (in the form of the H1N1 flu), a big gas explosion at a shopping mall outside Washington, the re-opening of the Statue of Liberty’s crown — all these take a back seat to jobs, especially in a recession. And especially after this week’s “stress test” results for banks, when the unemployed might well be asking, “OK, the big banks got their bailout. Where’s ours?”
The latest jobless numbers offered some signs of relief: U.S. employers cut 539,000 jobs in April, thousands fewer than the 590,000 jobs analysts predicted. But the unemployment rate rose to 8.9 percent from 8.5 percent in March, the highest in more than a quarter-century.
President Barack Obama is largely out of sight today, but is due to emerge for a late-morning speech on job creation and job training.
That’s clearly the administration’s theme for the day. When Interior Secretary Ken Salazar traveled to New York Harbor for a televised appearance inside the crown of the Statue of Liberty, to announce the crown will open to the public on July 4, he played up the job-creation angle.
“This Statue of Liberty really is about hope and optimism for America,” Salazar told NBC’s “Today” program. “It’s also about jobs that come with tourism all over this country and it’s about President Obama’s agenda …”
Regular Reuters readers already figured the Statue of Liberty’s crown would open on Independence Day, because Salazar told correspondent Jasmin Melvin that this was possible in an interview on March 24.
Photo credit: REUTERS/Joshua Lott (The Statue of Liberty is seen as a woman sits on a bench and another walks by in New York, March 5, 2008.)