In the latest sign that the economy is finally bouncing back, the number of workers filing new applications for unemployment benefits dropped to the lowest level since March 2008, the U.S. Department of Labor announced Thursday. For the week ending March 10, Americans filed 351,000 initial claims for unemployment compensation, a decrease of 14,000 from the previous week's figure.
In plain English, that basically means fewer people are losing jobs these days than during the long, severe economic downturn that started in 2007. That report comes on the heels of last week's news that employers added 227,000 new jobs.
A year ago, Japan was sucker-punched by one of the worst earthquakes in recorded history, a 9.0 haymaker that left more than 16,000 people dead and 325,000 homeless. The event was a triple-whammy: the massive temblor, which struck on March 11, 2011, followed by a tsunami with waves as big as skyscrapers, followed by the worst nuclear power plant disaster since Chernobyl.
It's inevitable that writers would try to make some sense of the catastrophe, or at least voice their grief, and one of the most interesting attempts is the anthology March was Made of Yarn: Reflections on the Japanese Earthquake, Tsunami, and Nuclear Meltdown. The collection features nonfiction, fiction and poetry from various writers, translated into English and edited by Elmer Luke and David Karashima. A few pieces were written specifically for the book, while others initially appeared in literary magazines.
You might think that mandatory retirement long has been relegated to the dustbin of employment history, along with the 12-hour day and barring pregnant women from the office. After all, it's been nearly three decades since the late U.S. Rep. Claude Pepper (D-Florida) led the passage of a 1986 amendment to federal age discrimination law, which generally made it illegal for employers to force a worker to retire because he or she had reached a certain age.
But the law has some loopholes. Many government agencies are exempt, and private employers also can impose mandatory retirement on some highly compensated employees with extensive responsibilities, such as chief executives or board members. Employers also set age limits for certain types of jobs, such as flying a jetliner.
Here's a sampling of workers who still face mandatory retirement ages.
Hiking a forest trail for the first time is a lot easier with a map and compass. When you're starting down the path to a new job, a career coach can serve as a similar type of personal navigation system.
One of the biggest advantages to hiring a career coach is the fear it takes out of the job-hunting process. "A coach can keep you focused and moving forward," says Paula Gregorowicz, a Philadelphia area business and career coach.
Since swapping their Wisconsin home for a suburban Tokyo apartment more than three years ago, Joan Bailey has worked at an organic farm and tended a budding career as a freelance food and gardening writer. Her husband has taught English at a Japanese university.
If you're unemployed, underemployed, or just burned out on the job, it's never too late to return to college and train for a job you'll love.
While many people in their 40s and 50s mistakenly assume that they are too old to qualify for financial aid, independent adults often have an easier time getting help from the federal government than their teen counterparts.
A slow cooker really is a must-have for any busy cook. Few things are better than returning home after a long day to the delightful aromas of the evening's meal, ready to be served. Lately, however, I've realized I really only have a few Crock-Pot staples that I seem to turn to time and again.
In my quest for healthy and delicious slow-cooker recipes, I discovered these five winners from around the web. Bon appétit.
1. Balsamic Chicken
The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reports today that the economy added 227,000 new jobs in February, another sign that the economic recovery is picking up steam. The unemployment rate held steady for the second month in a row at 8.3 percent -- more than a full percentage point lower than this time last year.
The unemployment rate for people 45 and over is unchanged from January, at 6.6 percent. However, that's considerably lower than the overall unemployment rate.
Writers usually have much to say about history, even beyond their role in recording it. Kurt Vonnegut famously said, "History is merely a list of surprises. It can only prepare us to be surprised again."
Mark Twain cautioned, "The past does not repeat itself, but it rhymes." H.G. Wells took an even darker view: "History is a race between education and catastrophe."
It's not correct to say that open-water endurance swimmer Diana Nyad doesn't give up easily. Apparently, she doesn't give up -- ever.
Nyad, who will turn 63 in August, still has her heart set on swimming from Havana to Key West, a feat that she first tried back in 1978 and then twice attempted unsuccessfully in 2011, after being away from competitive swimming for more than three decades. This week, she announced on her blog that she again will attempt the Cuba-to-Florida swim this summer. It's a hallmark that has only been accomplished once before -- in 1997, by 22-year-old Australian swimmer Susie Maroney. Nyad not only is four decades older, but also would be the first swimmer to do it without a protective shark cage.