News In Brief

MID-DAY UPDATE: February job numbers, solar panels

Katharine Crnko Mar 4, 2011

We got big numbers today from the U.S. Labor Department. In February, U.S. payrolls increased 192,000 and the jobless rate fell to 8.9 percent — the lowest it’s been since April 2009. February saw job growth on construction sites — a number economists were watching closely after its drastic fall during the recession. But the government cut 30,000 jobs last month. Chris Low, chief economist at FTN Financial, explained this report as three-steps-forward, one-step-back. He expects the Labor Department will see similar losses going forward, which will put more strain on the private sector.

For many people — converting a home to solar power is cost-prohibitive. But a new company called Sungevity hopes to turn solar conversion into something as familiar and easy as iTunes, or Netflix. Sungevity leases solar panels to homes, reducing home power bills to just a few dollars a month.

The “We Won’t Pay” movement is gaining support in Afidnes, Greece, where citizens are refusing to pay road tolls. Citizens, tired of paying over $4,000 in tolls to commute to neighboring Athens for work, have disabled the toll stations so they can drive through without paying. The movement now has more than 10,000 members who are refusing to pay taxes, tolls and fees to the government.

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