Tennessee’s Unemployment Reaches Lowest Level Since January 2020

Unemployment in Tennessee reached a two-year low in December, according to new data that the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD) released late last week. The state ended 2021 with an unemployment rate of 3.8 percent, which was 0.2 of a percentage point lower than the rate it recorded in November. Over the past year, Tennessee’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased by 1.8 percentage points from 5.6 percent to 3.8 percent.

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Minnesota Gov. Walz Wants to Give $700M Back to Taxpayers

group of three people standing and talking

Gov. Tim Walz says he plans to send 2.7 million Minnesotans “Walz Checks” up to $350 as part of his 2022 Local Jobs and Projects Plan.

“To continue growing Minnesota’s economy, we must invest in the people who made it strong in the first place,” Walz said in a statement. “By investing in workforce development, cutting taxes for the middle class and working families, lowering costs, and expanding access to resources like technical education and high-speed broadband, we will improve economic prosperity across the state and grow the workforce we need to compete.”

The proposal aims to deliver $700 million in direct payments to Minnesotans funded by Minnesota’s tax surplus.

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Missouri Economic Leaders Give Glimpse of How $2.6 Billion in Federal Pandemic Funds Will be Spent

Maggie Kost

Missouri’s Department of Economic Development (DED) recently previewed how Gov. Mike Parson plans to allocate the state’s $2.6 billion portion of federal pandemic funds.

In late December, Maggie Kost, acting director of the DED, outlined major priorities for Missouri’s portion of the more than $195 billion in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. A total of $350 billion will be delivered to the 50 states and the District of Columbia and local and Tribal governments throughout the nation to support the response and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The total amount of ARPA funds, passed in March 2021, is $1.9 trillion.

“We want to give you an idea of what to expect as we get into the legislative and budget session here in January,” Kost said. “As you’re planning and setting priorities locally for communities, we want to make sure you have an idea of what’s to come so you can think about how to leverage state funds as you’re building out your local priorities.”

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$10 Million Grants Awarded for Semiconductor Manufacturing in Central Florida

semiconductor

With chip and semiconductor shortages expected to last through the year, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Florida is continuing its investment in local technology initiatives to strengthen the economy and job growth and eventually offset future production delays.

Osceola County and Valencia College received nearly $10 million in funding through the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund to support semiconductor and other advanced technology manufacturing in the county.

The award includes $6 million to assist with developing infrastructure connecting the county’s emerging NeoCity technology district with its workforce, and $3.7 million to Valencia College to develop a new program that will train students in utilizing robotics technology for semiconductor manufacturing. The two awards are designed to help create manufacturing jobs and develop a talent pipeline to support industry growth.

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Michigan’s $40 Million ‘Going Pro’ Fund Helps 30,000 Train and Get Jobs

A $40 million project is estimated to help 30,000 workers statewide secure employment through the state’s Going PRO Talent Fund.

The program aims to lure back Michigan’s workforce lost during COVID-19, encourage specialization, and help businesses fill jobs in a tight labor market. Between Feb. 2020 and April 2020, Michigan’s labor force plunged by 341,500 or 6.9%. Labor force levels in Michigan have rebounded modestly, increasing by 139,400 or 3% percent from April 2020 to August 2021.

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Boeing Suspends Vaccine Mandate for Employees

Boeing Friday said it has suspended its requirement that U.S.-based employees be fully vaccinated or face losing their jobs.

The announcement comes as several attempts by President Joe Biden to require vaccinations for workers in various settings have been blocked by courts in recent weeks.

“Boeing is committed to maintaining a safe working environment for our customers, and advancing the health and safety of our global workforce,” a company spokesperson told KOMO News. “As such, we continue to encourage our employees to get vaccinated and get a booster if they have not done so. Meanwhile, after careful review, Boeing has suspended its vaccine requirement in line with a federal court’s decision prohibiting the enforcement of the federal contractor executive order and a number of state laws.”

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Resolute Forest Products in Calhoun Announces 350 Layoffs Just Days Before Christmas

Resolute Forest Products Inc. (formerly known as Bowater) announced the indefinite idling of pulp and paper operations at its Calhoun, Tennessee mill, according to a press release by the company. The company anticipates that the decision will directly affect 350 hourly and salaried positions.

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Child Tax Credit Is Driving Americans Toward Entrepreneurship, Has Little Effect on Workforce

A new study suggests that the child tax credit (CTC) is not reducing overall employment nationwide but is driving some low and middle-income parents away from their private sector jobs and toward self-employment.

The study, led by researchers at the Washington University in St. Louis’ Social Policy Institute and Appalachian State University and provided exclusively to the Daily Caller News Foundation, found that the monthly payments had barely any impact on the job market whatsoever, contradicting concerns that the tax credits would worsen the labor shortage. It also found that adults were far less likely to list child care as a reason for unemployment, with the share of people saying so dropping from 26% to below 20% once they began receiving the payments.

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Bill Would Stop Income Taxes for Ohio College Grads for Three Years

A lawmaker wants Ohio college graduates to put their degrees to work in the state, and he wants to eliminate state income taxes for three years for those who take a full-time job in Ohio.

Rep. Jon Cross, R-Kenton, also wants more out-of-state students to choose higher education in Ohio by offering 100 merit-based scholarships to the top students in other states.

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Report: Arizona to Add 700K Jobs by 2030, Triple the U.S. Rate

Arizona’s economic conditions are estimated to attract hundreds of thousands of new workers to the state.

A report from the Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity indicated the state’s economic growth is expected to outpace the national average.

“The Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) is projecting Arizona employment to increase to 3,751,905 jobs in 2030 from 3,030,216 jobs in 2020,” the report said. “This represents growth of 721,689 jobs, or 2.2% annualized growth. By comparison, United States employment is projected to grow by 0.7% annually from 2020 to 2030.”

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Finance Guru and Fox Business Contributor Liz Peek Brings the Hard Financial Truth in a Biden Economy

Liz Peek, Fox News contributor

Friday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed Fox Business Contributor Liz Peek to the newsmakers line to give hard truths on the economic climate of America.

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Brnovich Requests Restraining Order Against Biden Vaccine Mandate

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich asked the U.S. District Court in Arizona for a temporary restraining order and nationwide preliminary injunction against the Biden Administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates. 

“The COVID-19 vaccine mandate is one of the greatest infringements upon individual liberty, federalism, and the separation of powers by any administration in our country’s history,” Brnovich said in a news release Friday. 

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New York City to Mandate COVID-19 Vaccine for Entire City Workforce

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday that all New York City municipal workers would be required to have a COVID-19 vaccination.

All municipal employees, including police and firefighters, will have until Oct. 29 to receive their first shot or risk losing their jobs, according to de Blasio. City employees will receive an additional $500 in their paychecks after receiving their first dose.

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Commentary: Biden’s Medical Apartheid

Joe Biden

Events this weekend showcased the intense bifurcation of America into two separate realities. As our country observed the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, former presidents gathered, sans Donald Trump, in New York for a solemn ceremony — wearing masks even though they are fully vaccinated and were outside. In Shanksville, Pa., George W. Bush leveraged the occasion to take a not-very-veiled shot at the MAGA movement, comparing its most fervent adherents to the 9/11 terrorists.

Meanwhile, at stadiums across America, massive crowds of rowdy, unmasked college football fans tailgated, packed into stadiums, and also recalled the grim events of 2001, but in far more boisterous displays of patriotism.

This same-day divergence highlights the sharply divided nation of 2021. That chasm will now only widen as Joe Biden targets many of those same people, the ones unwilling to live under the thumb of onerous government virus mitigation restrictions. These ineffective mandates may nominally emanate from science, but they moreover stem from a preference for coercion and control by Democrat politicians, all with the assistance of powerful business interests, including Big Tech and Big Pharma.

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Report: Many Tennessee Economic Indicators Trend up, Others Mixed

Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, Nashville, Tennessee. One of Nashville's renowned honky-tonk bars, Tootsie's has featured over the years many performing artists who have since become famous, such as Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline and Kris Kristofferson.

How is Tennessee’s economy doing? A lot of it is doing well when compared to the COVID-19 lows on many economic indicators such as employment, a new Sycamore Institute report shows.

But other items are troubling, such as there being 40% fewer small businesses in Tennessee as of late June data than there were before the pandemic. That’s considering that 99% of private sector workers in the state work for small businesses, defined as companies of 500 employees or less.

“There are a lot of things going on here,” said Brian Straessle, the Sycamore Institute’s Director of External Affairs. “There isn’t like one nice neat narrative of the economy right now.”

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Michigan Jobs 322,000 Under Pre-Pandemic Level

Detroit skyline at night

Sixteen months after the COVID-19 pandemic began, Michigan is still behind 322,000 jobs compared to pre-pandemic in Feb. 2020. 

Michigan’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate of 5% percent was unchanged in June, according to data released by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget.

“Michigan’s labor market indicators were little changed in June,” Wayne Rourke, the associate director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, said in a statement. “The Michigan unemployment rate has been near 5.0 percent for five consecutive months. Payroll job counts in June were similar to March levels.”

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Georgia Long-Term Care Facilities Face Financial Hardship from Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a financial toll on Georgia’s long-term care facilities, officials said.

Devon Barill, communications director for the Georgia Health Care Association and Georgia Center for Assisted Living (GHCA/GCAL), said the facilities have faced increased expenses and revenue losses from caring for the state’s most vulnerable population.

While COVID-19 can lead to severe complications in older people and those with underlying issues, the congregated facilities are often home to the elderly and people who require supportive care.

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Donald Trump Commentary: A Plan to Get Divisive and Radical Theories Out of Our Schools

Teacher holding book, reading to boy student

As a candidate, Joe Biden’s number one promise was to “unite” America. Yet in his first months as president, his number one priority has been to divide our country by race and gender at every turn.

There is no clearer example than the Biden administration’s new effort aimed at indoctrinating America’s schoolchildren with some of the most toxic and anti-American theories ever conceived. It is vital for Americans to understand what this initiative would do, what drives it and, most importantly, how we can stop it.

For decades, the America-blaming left has been relentlessly pushing a vision of America that casts our history, culture, traditions, and founding documents in the most negative possible light. Yet in recent years, this deeply unnatural effort has progressed from telling children that their history is evil to telling Americans that they are evil.

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Ohio Colleges, Universities Oppose Senate’s Higher Ed Reform

woman in cap and gown

What some are calling one of the most significant pieces of higher education reform in years in Ohio is also drawing opposition from state colleges and universities.

The Senate Workforce and Higher Education Committee held its fourth hearing Wednesday on Senate Bill 135, which bill sponsor Sen. Jerry Cirino, R-Kirtland, said was a bold plan to enhance higher education and workforce development.

Cirino’s plan addresses student debt, allows more low-cost higher education options that include the state’s community colleges and requires high schools to inform students of career options that require associate degrees or certificates, rather than only four-year degree options.

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New Interim Teacher Certification Program Aims to Provide More Teachers of Color in Schools

State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) has approved the New Paradigm for Education program to promote alternative teacher certification in the state.

New Paradigm will offer a residency-based alternative route to teacher certification to recruit, train, and retain high-quality educators, particularly teachers of color and male teachers of color.

“We continue to work beyond conventional methods to help address the gaps in the teacher workforce,” State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice said in a statement. “There is a substantial teacher shortage in Michigan, which is even more acute for teachers of color.”

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South Carolina, Montana to Stop Providing Pandemic-Related Welfare

"Come in, we're open" business sign

The states of South Carolina and Montana have both decided in recent days to put an end to their handouts of federal unemployment benefits as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, in an effort to encourage residents to return to the workforce, as per CNN.

Montana Governor Greg Gianforte (R-Mont.) said in his announcement that “incentives matter, and the vast expansion of federal unemployment benefits is now doing more harm than good. We need to incentivize Montanans to return to the workforce.” Instead, Governor Gianforte announced that the state government will be providing $1,200 checks as bonuses to every citizen who returns to work, using the state’s share of the recent $1.9 trillion stimulus package to pay for it.

In South Carolina, Governor Henry McMaster (R-S.C.) announced on Thursday that the state would be ending their share of federal unemployment benefits, since “what was intended to be a short-term financial assistance for the vulnerable and displaced during the height of the pandemic has turned into a dangerous federal entitlement, incentivizing and paying workers to stay at home rather than encouraging them to return to the workplace.”

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Ohio Ranks First in Nation for Attracting New Business, Report Says

One of the nation’s leading economic development publications ranked Ohio as No. 1 in its state economic and business attraction rankings for bringing more corporate facility projects per capita than any other state.

Ohio also ranked second for total projects.

Site Selection, a corporate real estate economic development magazine, recently announced its rankings as part of its 2020 Governor’s Cup.

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Ohio Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation Seeks Businesses Who Want Up to $2K to Help Train Workers in Credentialed Technical Skills

A state program that helps businesses find and train employees with the skills they need is accepting applications from employers interested in joining the effort.

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Indeed Employment Website Ranks Advance Financial Eighth in Top Workplaces

  If you’re looking for a job, employment search website Indeed has a suggestion: Advance Financial. Nashville-based Advance Financial recently ranked eighth on an annual nationwide list of top workplaces for compensation and benefits, placing ahead of companies like Apple, GEICO, Comcast, AT&T, Boeing, Starbucks and ALDI. Indeed’s list of…

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JC Bowman Commentary: A K12 Education Agenda We Should Embrace

Lee has stated his three major priorities: 1) Getting our students ready to enter the workforce; 2) Strengthening the foundations of a quality system; and 3) Encouraging innovation.  It is a K12 education agenda we should embrace.   

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