First thing out of the hopper is the Employment Situation report just issued by the Labor Department:

“The unemployment rate declined to 4.5 percent in March, and total nonfarm payroll employment edged up by 98,000, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.

Employment increased in professional and business services and in mining, while retail trade lost jobs. Household Survey Data The unemployment rate decreased by 0.2 percentage point to 4.5 percent in March, and the number of unemployed persons declined by 326,000 to 7.2 million. Both measures were down over the year. (See table A-1.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult women (4.0 percent), Whites (3.9 percent), and Hispanics (5.1 percent) declined in March. The jobless rates for adult men (4.3 percent), teenagers (13.7 percent), Blacks (8.0 percent), and Asians (3.3 percent) showed little or no change. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

In March, the number of persons unemployed less than 5 weeks declined by 232,000 to 2.3 million. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed over the month at 1.7 million and accounted for 23.3 percent of the unemployed. Over the past 12 months, the number of long-term unemployed was down by 526,000. (See table A-12.)

A couple of additional points:

The Labor Participation Rate was unchanged at 63%.  The Employment-to-Population ratio improved a tenth.

And the “U-6 Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force” dropped from 9.2% to 8.9%.

The CES Birth-Death Model estimated 670,000 jobs into existence with big gains in construction while financial jobs were off – probably due to major banks reducing teller staffing and similar.

Push Comes to Trump

The U.S., military struck at an air field in Syria overnight.  It was in retaliation for the Assad government apparently using nerve gas in the ongoing war for control of the country.

Russia – which has been supplying aid and arms to the (Alawite) Assad government – and which has a growing naval base in Tartus, responded by suspending a key air traffic agreement that had been designed to keep U.S. and Russian aircraft over Syria from colliding.

Overnight, global markets tanked on news of the strikes, but even before the EmpSit report came out, the markets had gone positive.  At press time, they had pulled back to about flat.

Reaction has been distinctly anti-Trump.  Wired, for example, ran with “The US Strike on Syria Underscores Trump’s Media-Fueled Worldview.”

While further engagement in Syria is not what Trump supporters thought they were electing, we do note some asymmetry in political reaction.

For example, “Rand Paul: Trump needs Congress to authorize military action in Syria” says a report in The Hill.  Wait, did Obama?  Bush?  Clinton?

We don’t recall such widespread criticism when the previous administrations set us on the path into this mess.

Still, “we is where we is” on this.  The U.S. is near but not at energy independence so oil does hold some sway.

As we have said previously, the inherited position of the U.S. seems to be that we are supporting Sunni Muslims (Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, for example) while being very much anti-Shia.  (Iran, Iraq, and Russia has invested heavily in Iran.)

What the Sunni-influenced West worries about is Shia’s gaining control of Syria:

Sunnis make up the majority of Syria, mostly of Arab, Kurdish and Turkoman ethnicities. Shias make up the remaining 17%:[2] Alawites are the predominant Shia group, followed by Twelvers and Ismailis. Sunnis are mainly of the Shafi’i madhhab with pockets of Hanafi and Hanbali. Several large Sufi orders are active in the country, including the Naqshbandi tariqa, and Qadiriyya.

And yes, president Assad is an Alawite, so an offshoot of the Shia, and represents 11% of the Syrian population.

This all likely hinges on the possibility of Shia domination of Syria, which would set up a kind of domino potential to change Turkey as well, although Turkey’s Muslims are 72% Sunni.

US Double Standards Dept.

Here is a dandy example of the growing national asymmetry problem.

From this morning’s WaPo: With Gorsuch filibuster, Democrats look ahead to a ‘political’ Supreme Court.”

How is it that if the Democrats had a majority of appointments that wouldn’t also be “political?”

Such is the denial of history.

Sheee’s Baaaack….

Hillary Clinton says “Hillary Clinton Says Russia Used Hacking ‘to Great Effect’ in Her Defeat…

Oh?

Seems I may be the only one to remember how “Cash Flowed to Clinton Foundation Amid Russian Uranium Deal…”  And in the NY Times, less.

So the pot calls the kettle out?

Meantime, the committee that is looking into the Russian (smear and innuendos) story keeps running into “potholes.”

Gee, I wonder why?

Cooling Sun

The trend continues…

It may be painted (and monetized) as climate change but the sun has been doing this for million upon millions….

Can We Leave Yet?

BBC has a partial answer… “Atmosphere found around Earth-like planet GJ 1132b.

At only 39-light years away, it will only take…way too long to get there.

If you’re single, 42 percent of adults have HPV in this country on this planet…  Full study news release is available here.

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