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Lil Wayne Mocks Mitt Romney In New Song

Nicki Minaj got the headlines for saying she’d be “voting for Mitt Romney,” but another track on Lil Wayne’s Dedication 4 ridicules the GOP candidate, too. “Nigga call me Mitch Romney!”

By Michael Hastings

Nicki Minaj made headlines when she sort of endorsed Mitt Romney in a remix of the hit song “Mercy” on Lil Wayne’s new album Dedication 4, released earlier this month.

But another song on the album — called “Cashed Out” — also mocks Romney, taking shots at the GOP candidates strategy of stashing his money in off-shore bank accounts in Bermuda, the Caymans, and Switzerland, to name a few.

The song begins:

As another election year upon us. This last four years has been good to me. A couple of dollars in a couple different bank acccounts. Some here, some off shore. Nigga call me Mitch Romney!

In recent days, questions have been raised about whether the hip-hop community still supports Obama. The answer appears to be: yes.

President Obama with Jay-Z and Beyonce at a recent New York fundraiser.

Lil Wayne Mocks Mitt Romney In New Song

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Hiring Slows in August, Adding to Pressure on Fed and Obama

The economy added 96,000 jobs in August, the Labor Department said Friday.

By 

Job growth slowed substantially in August, increasing the political pressure on the White House and strengthening the argument for new action by Federal Reserve policy makers to stimulate the economy when they meet next week.

The economy added a total of 96,000 jobs in August, down from a revised figure of 141,000 in July and well below the 125,000 level economists had been expecting.

The latest figures confirm suspicions that the economy has been treading water recently — over the last six months, monthly job growth has averaged 97,000, typically not enough to absorb new entrants into the labor force, let alone reduce the unemployment rate.

For August, the jobless rate fell to 8.1 percent, from 8.3 percent in July, but economists said that was a sign more unemployed workers were dropping out of the work force, rather than an indication that new jobs were being created.

Current and former members of the military at a job fair on Thursday in San Diego.

Republicans have made persistently high unemployment a centerpiece of their argument for denying President Obama a second term, and the new figures give the White House little to boast about.

“This is one of those reports that as you dig deeper, it looks less friendly,” said Ethan Harris, co-head of global economics at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “The improvement in the rate was purely due to people who gave up looking for jobs.”

Indeed, he noted that the government report showed the overall labor force dropped by 368,000 workers in August.

“Politically, you can spin the drop in the rate as a positive, but it’s a sign of weakness,” Mr. Harris said. “The economy is slowing down and it wasn’t very robust to begin with.”

Ben S. Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, last week delivered a forceful argument for more action, calling the current unemployment level a “grave concern.”

The Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee convenes on Wednesday and Thursday, and many economists and traders are looking for major news to come out of the meeting. Some expect the Fed to announce another round of asset purchases aimed at lowering borrowing costs and boosting investments. A more limited option would be for the Fed to extend its benchmark interest rate, set near zero, into 2015 from late 2014.

The rate of job creation has been erratic in 2012. After adding more than 200,000 jobs in both January and February, the economy slowed and by June the gain totaled an anemic 80,000. It bounced back in July, but few economists see big gains in the coming months.

Friday’s report showed that the private sector created a total of 103,000 jobs in August, while the number of government jobs fell by 7,000.

In order to make a significant dent in the unemployment rate, the economy would have to add at least 200,000 jobs a month, assuming modest growth in the labor force.

The manufacturing sector, a closely watched barometer for the broader economy, lost 15,000 jobs.

Sectors that did show growth in employment tended to be lower-paying ones, said Mark Vitner, a senior economist with Wells Fargo. About 40 percent of the new jobs came from four sectors: retail, leisure and hospitality, temporary help services, and home health care services.

“This is one of the reasons wages haven’t been growing,” he said. “People are taking jobs they didn’t take in the past, moving from sectors like construction into jobs at lower-paying, big-box retailers.”

There were other signs the economy remained stuck in low gear. Average hourly earnings ticked downward by 1 cent in August to $23.52 while the length of the typical private sector workweek remained flat at 34.4 hours. Both measures have barely budged from where they were six months ago.

Hiring Slows in August, Adding to Pressure on Fed and Obama

 

Housing improves in hard-hit swing states

By Tami Luhby @CNNMoney

Housing gains may not register with voters, especially in swing states, ahead of the election.

At long last, the housing market is improving in Nevada, Florida and other important swing states that were some of the hardest hit during the downturn.

But that probably won’t win President Obama a lot of points at the election polls, according to some experts.

On the national front, home pricesand home sales are up, whileforeclosures are down. The swing states are also seeing some positive results.

In Nevada, there were just over 14,000 foreclosure filings in the second quarter, less than half the amount the year before, according to RealtyTrac. Foreclosure sales are on the decline after a state law last year cracked down on loan servicers’ practices, while short sales are on the rise. Short sales are better for neighborhoods because the homes are often maintained better and command higher prices.

Get a home in one of Money’s Best Places to Live for as much as $94,000 off.

The median price of a single family home in the Las Vegas area, by far the largest market in the state, has climbed 9% over the past year, according to the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors.

And in Florida, foreclosures are creeping up again as banks recover from their paperwork fiasco, which forced them to greatly slow the number of delinquent homeowners they brought to court. But it’s still down by about a third from 2010 figures.

The typical single family home is selling for 7.8% more than it did a year ago, according to Florida Realtors. Median sales prices are the highest they’ve been since 2009.

Home prices are up thanks to a rebound in employment and in the stock market, said John Tuccillo, chief economist for the Realtors group. Investors, particularly from abroad, are once again realizing the Sunshine State is a good place to buy, he said.

In Ohio, prices rose 4.9%, according to the Ohio Association of Realtors. Foreclosures, however, are on the upswing.

Related: Obama’s economy: A snapshot

But rising home prices don’t mean there aren’t any dark clouds hovering over the swing states. The good news about housing doesn’t seem to be trickling down to voters, who still view their states as being stuck in a real estate slump with little improvement.

“The housing market is starting to recover in most areas of the country, but most consumers don’t realize it,” said John Burns, head of John Burns Real Estate Consulting. “The word hasn’t gotten out that home prices are appreciating again.”

One main concern that’s dampening homeowners’ enthusiasm is the number of homes that are underwater, or worth less than the mortgage. Nearly 31% of homeowners nationwide are in this predicament, a disproportionate number of them younger than 40, according to Zillow.

That problem is amplified in some of the swing states.

In the metro Las Vegas area, more than two-thirds of borrowers are underwater. More than half of Orlando borrowers owe more than their homes are worth, while in the Miami-Fort-Lauderdale market nearly 44% do. In Cleveland and Columbus, one-third are underwater.

Also, many would-be buyers are finding it tough to get approved for mortgages, while homeowners seeking to refinance to lower interest rates are also being stymied by bank bureaucracy.

“We’re significantly better off than we were two years ago, but there are still enough problems remaining for people to be concerned about their housing situation,” Tuccillo said.

Will it be enough to sway swing state voters?

For the most part, the presidential candidates are largely ignoring the housing market.

While Obama launched a series of efforts to try to fix housing since he first took office in 2009, they were mostly viewed as ineffective. Not many new ideas have been included in his 2012 campaign either.

His challenger, Mitt Romney, does not list any housing fixes in his economic proposal. And the Republican platform unveiled last week talks only of dismantling Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and curtailing the Federal Housing Administration.

Ultimately, many voters will tie the recovery of the housing market to the recovery of the job market, Burns said. So they will pick the candidate they think can best boost the economy.

Housing improves in hard-hit swing states

Jobs Outlook Remains Tepid

By ECONOMIX EDITORS

This week’s economic data has come in broadly as expected, leaving the forecasters at Moody’s Analytics to continue to forecast that job growth will be slower in August — but still faster than it was in the spring. The latest post on Moody’s Dismal Scientist blog explains:

Labor market data over the past week confirm that August has been a sluggish month for job creation. We still look for a 145,000 increase in nonfarm payrolls, not far from July’s 163,000 gain and above the second quarter average of 73,000. The unemployment rate likely edged down to 8.2% this month from July’s 8.3%. While improving slowly, the U.S. job market is generating little wage income growth, which will be felt as rising gasoline and food prices test consumers’ resilience.

The Moody’s assessment, however, goes on to cite “reasons for concern that the August numbers could undershoot our forecast,” including a rise in the four-week moving average of continuing claims for unemployment benefits, aweakening index of consumer confidence and a region-by-region Fed report (known as the beige book) that was “not upbeat about the health of the job market.” It adds:

Each employment report is important, but this month’s will be especially so, as it comes as the Fed considers new round of quantitative easing. If the numbers are notably weaker than expected, the odds of near-term Fed action will rise.

Moody’s projections continue to indicate that the presidential election will remain close. As we’ve written previously, history suggests that average job gains between 100,000 and 175,000 in the six months before an election tend to lead to a close race.

Jobs Outlook Remains Tepid

Find A Job – Find The Job That’s Right For You

Where the jobs are

It’s still a tough job market, but these 25 counties can make it a lot easier to find work and a great place to live.

1. Loudoun County, VA

Loudoun County, VA

Towns include: Ashburn

Job growth (2000-2011): 83.6%

 

Got data? Loudoun County does. Lots of it. With its expansive fiber networks and a swarm of tech workers, it’s a major traffic hub on the East Coast.

Major employers include Verizon Business and AOL, but the latest boom to hit this pocket of Northern Virginia’s high-tech economy? Data centers, which now occupy 4.3 million square feet in the county, earning Loudoun the nickname “Data Center Alley.”

2. Fort Bend County, TX

Fort Bend County, TX

Towns include: Sugar LandMissouri City

Job growth (2000-2011): 78.1%

 

Fort Bend County has come a long way from its farming days. Now it’s better known for growing jobs than for growing crops.

A favorable tax structure, strong school system and easy access to Houston make the county a triple threat when it comes to attracting — and keeping businesses. Engineering firm Fluor Enterprises, a major employer, is buying new land for a facility that is expected to add 2,000 jobs when completed.

3. Williamson County, TX

Williamson County, TX

Towns include: Cedar Park,GeorgetownRound Rock

Job growth (2000-2011): 73.8%

 

Central Texas’ Williamson County hits the bull’s eye when it comes to offering incentives for big business. Corporate tax breaks and low property taxes have attracted the likes of top-flight companies such as Dell, which employs 13,000 at its headquarters in Round Rock.

The rapid development of nearby Austin has spurred the growth of so-called “super suburbs” like Williamson County’s Round Rock and Cedar Park, where affordable housing, cultural offerings and numerous parks and trails win points with young families.

4. Montgomery County, TX

Montgomery County, TX

Towns include: The Woodlands

Job growth (2000-2011): 63.5%

 

Business in Montgomery County is soaring. Anadarko Petroleum is constructing a massive new 31-story tower at its headquarters in the commercial hub of the East Texas Woodlands. When completed in 2014, the skyscraper will accommodate 1,700.

Companies here aren’t just building up, they’re building out. Exxon Mobil is constructing a 385-acre campus that will house employees currently working in Houston. The oil giant is expected to relocate an additional 2,000 jobs from out of state to the new complex.

5. Douglas County, CO

Douglas County, CO

Towns include: Highlands Ranch,Castle Rock

Job growth (2000-2011): 58.6%

 

Douglas County is on a Rocky Mountain High. The area is chalking up job gains, as companies choose to relocate and expand existing operations here.

With Denver to its north and Colorado Springs to the south, the county has the enviable position of being located between the state’s two biggest cities. Its natural beauty and abundant sunshine don’t hurt either.

6. Collin County, TX

Collin County, TX

Towns include: FriscoAllenPlano,McKinney

Job growth (2000-2011): 55.9%

 

Collin County is no longer just the country cousin of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. With an influx of young families — overall population is up 59% since 2000 — its vast pool of workers is helping the area develop its own business base.

A few area companies have been hit hard by the sluggish economy. Big employers J.C. Penney and HP both recently streamlined operations. But others are growing fast. Oil and gas firm Denbury Resources is expanding its corporate campus in Plano, which is expected to add hundreds of jobs.

7. Denton County, TX

Denton County, TX

Towns include: Flower Mound,LewisvilleDenton

Job growth (2000-2011): 53.4%

 

Manufacturing is Peerless in Denton County. Earlier this month, PMFG’s Peerless Mfg. Co. broke ground on an 80,000-square-foot facility that will employ more than 150 when fully operational.

In addition to manufacturing, retail is important to the local economy. The presence of the University of North Texas, a major research school, also helps drive the medical services sector.

8. Prince William County, VA

Prince William County, VA

Towns include: Dale City

Job growth (2000-2011): 48.6%

 

Prince William County takes the crown when it comes to offering enticing perks to businesses. Expedited permits for companies in “targeted” industries that promise high-paying jobs and capital investment is just one of the ways it rolls out the red carpet.

Also behind the job boom: proximity to the D.C. Beltway, a smart workforce and competitive tax rates. Some 770 new jobs were announced last year, a nearly 14% increase from the previous year.

9. Suffolk County, VA

Suffolk County, VA

Towns include: Suffolk

Job growth (2000-2011): 43.0%

 

It’s smooth sailing for job growth in Suffolk, thanks to the Navy’s recent decision to relocate four commands here. The move will add nearly 1,000 jobs — which is about the total number of new jobs added to the area in all of 2011.

The Navy found a solid berth. Suffolk is located close to the Port of Virginia, and like many of the places on our list, quality of life is a big selling point here. Schools, transportation and community are all strong in this city with historic charm.

10. Williamson County, TN

Williamson County, TN

Towns include: Franklin

Job growth (2000-2011): 40.3%

 

Williamson County likes to treat companies to a good dose of Southern hospitality. Businesses choosing it as a base can be eligible for “concierge permitting,” which assigns them a dedicated staff member from the local codes department who helps speed up zoning and permitting issues.

The charm offensive, combined with the county’s highly skilled workforce and easy access to downtown Nashville, is paying off. Corporate giants like Verizon Wireless, Nissan Americas and United Health Group have flocked to the region.

The latest major player to join the 6,000 corporations that have outfits here is Viacom, which launched a services center this year that is expected to create more than 100 new jobs.

11. Sarpy County, NE                         16. Cass County, ND                   

12. Wake County, NC                         17. Lafayette County, LA           

13. Faulkner County, AR                 18. Burleigh County, ND

14. Houston County, GA                  19. Leon County, FL                   

15. Bonneville County, ID                20. Johnson County, IA

21. Anchorage County, AK           22. Pennington County, SD

23. Minnehaha County, SD           24. Washington County, TN

25. Garfield County, OK

Where the jobs are

 

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