Morning Must Reads: It's Jobs Day

As it is the first Friday of the month. that means we get new data today from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on national employment in June. The official release is at 8:30 a.m.

Bill McBride at Calculated Risk puts the consensus forecast at 100,000 jobs added in July. That would be better than June but well short of the job growth needed to bring down the unemployment rate.

Today is his last day, but before he goes summer intern Pak Man Lam has a figure (see above) for those of you who read in your local paper that the unemployment rate in your region went up in June. The bottom line: unemployment rates went up in all but two Pennsylvania counties in June. This is a one-month move, so it is hard to know if it is a statistical anomaly or part of an underlying trend. 

You may remember that last year Standard and Poor's lowered its rating of U.S. debt. The good people at Marketplace revisit some of the predictions made back then about what would happen as a result of the downgrade. The figure to the right presents interest rates on mortgages.

As far as worst predictions, it would take a medal stand the size of a swimming pool to hold all the people who were wrong. But we’ve only got room for one, so the gold goes to Republican Congressman Paul Ryan, speaking on Fox just after the downgrade.

Paul Ryan: "Obviously, not only does it hurt the federal government in its ability to close the deficits, but it hurts people. You know, car loans, home loans, all these things are gonna go up."

Didn’t happen. In fact, the opposite occurred. Home loan interest rates are now at record lows, in large part because global investors kept faith that America would always pay its debts.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports on a study of the impact of voter ID on minorities.

An analysis of state data related to Pennsylvania's new voter ID law suggests that minority voters in Philadelphia will have a tougher time than white voters in getting the credentials to vote in November. The study was done by Tamara Manik-Perlman, a project manager and spatial data analyst at Azavea, the Philadelphia data-analysis and software firm that distinguished itself last year by providing population data and mapping tools to let citizens draw redistricting proposals for City Council...

The study found that voters in the city's most heavily African American voting divisions are 85 percent more likely to lack PennDot credentials than voters in predominantly white divisions.

And voters in heavily Hispanic neighborhoods are more than twice as likely to lack PennDot ID, the study showed. Manik-Perlman said there was a similar pattern in heavily Asian neighborhoods...

The state refuses to share PennDot licensing data with the public, making it impossible for Azavea to develop more accurate data on its own. The U.S. Justice Department requested the PennDot data last week for its own probe of whether the new state ID law violates the federal Voting Rights Act.

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