by Jordan Green

Nation added jobs last month, but employment challenges remain

The Us Bureau of labor statistics announced last week that although unemployment held steady at 9.7 percent, the nation added 162,000 new jobs in march. many of the gains were concentrated in healthcare and temporary help services, along with a bump in federal hiring reflecting the employment of temporary workers by the census bureau.

The nation added a total number of 27,000 healthcare-related jobs, with a breakdown of 16,000 in ambulatory healthcare services, and 9,000 in nursing and residential care facilities. meanwhile, the month of march saw the erosion’ of 21,000 jobs in financial activities, with the largest losses concentrated in the insurance sector, and 12,000 jobs wiped out in the information industry.

Among major worker groups, those who continue to suffer inordinately high unemployment rates include teenagers (26.1 percent), blacks (16.5 percent), Gulf War II-era veterans (14.2 percent) and Hispanics (12.6 percent).

Naturally, the North carolina director of organizing for America attributed the modest improvements to the efforts of President obama and his Democratic allies. established during the 2008 campaign, organizing for America mobilizes domestic support for the president’s initiatives.

“It’s clear President obama and his allies in congress wake up every day with one thing in mind: how to help the middle class and restore the American dream,” siler said in a prepared statement. “It’s thanks to this commitment that we’re seeing signs our economy is turning around. And it’s clear our nation’s leaders will continue working to improve our economy, until every American who wants a job has one.”

North carolina economist John Quinterno of south by North strategies was less laudatory. “A variety of peculiar factors were at work last month,” he said. “The bottom line is that employment growth is not occurring at a level needed to absorb new workers or re-absorb jobless ones.””

Prison farm plant sale underway

The Guilford County Prison Farm in Gibsonville kicked off its plant sale on April 1. Inmates grow 15 varieties of tomatoes and flowering plants, and manufacture concrete and wooden garden products such as birdhouses, picnic benches, stepping stones, garden bridges and trellises. According to a Guilford county sheriff’s office press release, revenue from sales goes back into the county budget to defray the cost to taxpayers of incarcerating inmates. “These inmates do a great job and learn skills in the process,” sheriff BJ Barnes said in a formal statement. “It’s a win-win for everyone.”

Musicians go in together to teach lessons

A handful of Triad musicians have begun teaching music lessons in the basement beneath Krankies Coffee on east 3 rd street in Winston-salem. They include guitarists ken mickey, Daniel seriff, luke Payne and Tom Henry, who also has a guitar repair business in the same building. “We’ve also got violin, viola and fiddle with Debbie Gitlin,” mickey said. “I like the fact that she advertises violin and fiddle.”

A High Point resident, mickey is enthralled with the amenities at the krankies complex, which also includes an art gallery and live-music stage.

“currently, we’ve got three rooms that are downstairs at krankies,” mickey said. “We’re getting students in. Another thing, we’ve hoping to have more of since it is downtown in Winston [is to get] a few of the folks that are coming for lunch. Get a latte and a piece of focaccia, and get ’em a guitar lesson. The coolest thing for me about it is if you decide to show up a little early for your lesson you can hang out at krankies. There might be a band playing when you get done. There’s always something going on at night.

“mainly, the bulk of what we’re doing is getting students who are school aged, but we are hoping to have a nice environment for parents to enjoy. They can go to the art gallery and get coffee while their children are learning to annoy them at home.”

job fair to be held iN wiNstoN-salem

The Northwest Piedmont Workforce Development Board and a host of other entities are sponsoring what is being advertised as “the Triad’s largest job fair” at the Winston-salem sports & entertainment complex coliseum Annex Building on April 13 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Bayada Nurses, Goodwill Industries and the Winston-salem Police Department are only three of the dozens of employers signed up to meet with job aspirants. The event will include free seminars and a mobile Joblink career center to provide assistance with resume preparation and interview skills.