Disappointing Sept. jobs report worries economists. Abortion providers still wary after Texas law blocked. U.S. sub strikes ‘unknown object’ in South China Sea.
Disappointing September jobs report worries economists
Back in August, industry leaders were hopeful that the end of a $300/week federal unemployment bonus and unemployment eligibility for “gig” workers and long-term unemployed would drive people back to the workplace in droves. At the beginning of September, the weekly bonus ended and 7 million people lost unemployment coverage altogether. But that did not translate to an anticipated 500,000 new hires in the weeks that followed.
Instead, only 194,000 new jobs were added in September, down from an already disappointing 366,000 in August. Economists had expected a boost at the start of the holiday hiring season, but that has not materialized. Unemployment fell to 4.8%, but that is likely because many people have stopped looking for work altogether.
Groping for explanations for the lower-than-anticipated numbers, some blamed lingering concerns about the COVID-19 delta variant. Others have blamed recent disarray in Washington for making employers wary of new hires at this point. Various supply chain bottlenecks have also certainly contributed to the jittery job market.
Now market watchers are pinning their hopes on rising vaccination rates and falling COVID cases to boost hiring in October.
Abortion providers still wary after judge blocks Texas law
After a federal judge in Austin, TX, temporarily enjoined Texas’ restrictive Heartbeat Act, a few abortion providers in the state have resumed services for women whose pregnancies are beyond the 6-week mark. However, most abortion providers in the state, including Planned Parenthood, are still leery and have not expanded their services.
The Heartbeat Act, or S.B. 8, allows random people to sue anyone who “aids or abets” an abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detectable, around 6 weeks. But the law also explicitly allows plaintiffs to sue retroactively in the event the law is temporarily enjoined and later restored.
The state of Texas has already vowed to appeal the ruling of Judge Robert Pittman, who called S.B. 8 “blatantly unconstitutional” multiple times in his 113-page ruling. The appeal would be heard in the conservative 5th Circuit in Texas, which is likely to restore the law. Many Texas abortion providers say that only a U.S. Supreme Court decision striking the law permanently would be sufficient for them to fully restore services.
U.S. sub strikes ‘unknown object’ in South China Sea; sailors injured
The nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Connecticut collided with an unknown submerged object while conducting routine operations in the South China Sea. Eleven crewmembers suffered mild to moderate injuries. The U.S. Navy reports the Connecticut is in ‘safe and stable’ condition despite the collision.
Officials have released few details of the incident, which happened 5 days ago. There are no hints as to what sort of object the sub collided with. It’s also not clear where in the South China Sea the incident occurred. The South China Sea borders Brunei, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. However, we do know that naval assets from the US, UK, Japan, Canada, the Netherlands and New Zealand have been conducting military exercises just north of Taiwan.
Taiwan tensions escalate
Over the weekend, about 150 Chinese military aircraft conducted numerous provocative flyovers in the Strait of Taiwan, which separates the breakaway state from Mainland China. The show of force drew condemnation from the U.S. State Department. The Wall Street Journal also reports that a small contingent of U.S. Special Forces and Marines have been in Taiwan for at least a year, conducting training exercises with Taiwanese defense forces.
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