A weaker than expected jobs report is a setback for President Obama as the election nears. The president says that while private employers have added some four million jobs over the last two years, economic security remains elusive. The president spoke yesterday at a White House conference on women in the economy, and as NPR's Scott Horsley reports, voters who are women may be the key to the president's political future.
Just when it seemed to be gaining steam, the U.S. job market pretty much stalled in March. Employers added a net 120,000 jobs during the month, defying the higher expectations of a lot of economists. And though the unemployment rate fell, it did so for the wrong reasons.
Over the past few months, the economy has been adding jobs at a good, if not spectacular, pace, and all the signs suggested that trend had continued through March. As it happened, jobs increased at a rate that barely keeps up with population growth.
So, what's the situation facing the United Nations team on the ground in Syria this weekend? For more on the kinds of challenges that Norwegian Major General Robert Mood and his staff will face, we're joined by Peter Harling. Mr. Harling is Middle East project director with the International Crisis Group. He's in and out of Syria frequently, and he joins us by Skype from Cairo. Mr. Harling, thanks for being with us.
This is Weekend Edition from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.
The bounty scandal of the National Football League got even worse this week. A documentary filmmaker released audio of New Orleans Saint's former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams giving a locker room speech to his players before a game against the San Francisco 49ers and commanding them to inflict specific disabling injuries on their opponents, including running back Frank Gore.
With the possibility that women voters might prove decisive in November's presidential election, each major party is obviously looking for opportunities to argue why its policies are better for women and the opposition's worse. The latest came Friday with the release of the March jobless figures.
The report was a surprise on the downside because the economy added far fewer jobs for the month — 121,000 — than economists had forecast even as the jobless rate declined a tenth of a percentage point to 8.2 percent.
Bill Gates addresses an energy innovation summit in Maryland in February. The Microsoft chairman told NPR in an interview for Weekend Edition that teachers should be evaluated, but that the reviews should not be made public.
Bill Gates is of course better known as the co-founder of Microsoft. But his foundation, The Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation, which contributes to NPR, is known for pouring millions into education reform.