03-29-2017, 12:29 PM
from around Alexandria
from around Alexandria
March 29, 2017
Job Creation Posts Incredible Month in March 2017
GENEVA, ICG; ABC NEWS -- Companies added jobs at a blistering pace in February and March, with a notable shift away from the service-sector positions that have dominated hiring for years.
According to a report released by Alexandria’s largest provider of human resources management software and services, GDP (General Data Processing, Inc.), employment in the private sector surged by 300,000 for the month, with goods producers adding 126,000. Construction jobs swelled by 96,000 and manufacturing added 35,000. The total shattered market expectations of 190,000, per economists surveyed by GDP.
March proved to be an incredibly strong month for employment with increases we have not seen in years," Patrice Beaufort, vice president and co-head of the GDP Research Institute, said in a statement.
In addition to the construction and manufacturing positions, mining and natural resources also contributed 10,000 to the total.
The year is off to a sizzling start for job creation, per the GDP counts. January added 261,000 positions, a number that was revised upward from the originally reported 246,000. February added another 262,000 positions.
"Confidence is playing a large role," Dr. Barbara Weir, a senior professor of macroeconomics at the Imperial University told ABC. "Businesses are anticipating less regulation and moves towards a better economic climate. They are hiring more aggressively."
A Bill of Health: The Implementation of AlexCare
LOREDO, RIO GRANDE; ABC NEWS – Consensus in Geneva is clear: AlexCare is important. Socialists say it is a boon, that their plan is better than the original plan presented by the Coalition Government. But others in the Government say that it does not go far enough. But knowing precisely what AlexCare does is a bit difficult.
AlexCare’s knock-on effects – on the broader economy, on health-care businesses and on health, such as its effect on heart disease or cancer – may never be precisely quantified. It is also difficult to measure the law’s progress towards its main goal, expanding insurance. The law used terms like “poverty rate”, without bothering to define them for administrative purposes. It didn’t even include provisions to “kick the can down the road” to the Imperial Civil Service or to the Emperor and His Government via Order-in-Council to determine a definition.
The bill has also upended the practice of medicine in the country by moving doctors off their historically high salaries, to a price control system where doctors are reimbursed by AlexCare the fees per services they provide.
With the law only in effect for little over a month, it’s still not entirely clear how such a short and general law that aims to transform health care in Alexandria will fare.
The Institute for Public Opinion (IOP), a prominent Alexandrian polling company, has begun a massive effort to track changes in the amounts of insured people in Alexandria. The figure, if it could be precisely measured, would show how many people AlexCare has benefited. It would also help Socialists argue its success or add fuel to opponents’ fiery proclamations that it is a disaster. Changes in how government agencies measure insurance will make it harder to quantify exactly how many people have gained coverage. Not surprisingly, however, both the Department of Public Services and independent researchers continue to produce their own projections and estimates. Importantly, the survey from IOP is larger than those of many competitors—the company interviews about 15,000 Alexandrians about their health each month.
In the list of ominous predictions about AlexCare, a main fear has been that only sick people will sign up. This would prompt insurers to raise prices, making healthy people even less likely to enroll (the dreaded death spiral). However, the IOP has reported that the newly insured historically have not been more or less sickly than the general population. Furthermore, new enrollees under preliminary AlexCare implementation are disproportionately young: those aged 18-29 comprise 30% of the newly insured, compared with 21% of the broader adult population. There is no magic number of young, healthy enrollees that will make AlexCare succeed. But a death spiral seems unlikely.
Alexandrian political parties will mine the IOP’s data to support their argument. Not surprisingly, the main determinant of whether a voter favors AlexCare is not his age, race, education or income, but his or her political party.
National Rent Control: Tenants Love It, Landlords Grudgingly Go Along With It
EDGARDIA, VALENCIENNES; ABC NEWS — When Mariel Thomas received a IE 400 rent increase on her one-bedroom apartment, she knew she couldn’t afford it despite holding down two jobs — one as a caretaker for the elderly and another in retail.
In the past, Thomas, who is 49, would have had to move or leave Edgardia altogether. But because of the new rent control laws that prevent landlords from increasing rents, Thomas will be able to challenge the rent increase and stay in her home.
“The program has been a godsend,” said Thomas. “They got in touch with the landlords and just made the whole process a lot less stressful.”
The Rent Control Act was just signed into law and set to go into effect in a few weeks. But the new rent program office has received well over 10,000 inquiries from tenants and landlords across the Empire. The Act, however, did not provide for any meaningful methods of conflict resolution between tenants and landlords - and that is making many on both sides very nervous.
For an Empire where on average, people spend 35 percent or more of their income on rent, this new program is a major victory. Not surprisingly, many landlords are less than enthusiastic about it and say it makes it difficult to afford repairs or turn a profit.
Take Thomas’s landlord, Felipe Juanes. After buying the eight-unit building last fall, Juanes spent IE 100,000 to upgrade the apartments. But with the average one-bedroom unit renting for just IE 850 a month, far below what is considered market rate for the neighborhood, and now not able to raise rents significantly, he quickly realized that the math was not in his favor anymore.
“I’m not even going to breaking even,” said Juanes, who owns two other properties in Valenciennes, as well as a local restaurant. “I’m not trying to rip off people and want to be fair and not kick anyone out. But how can I make any money if I am not allowed to raise rents until 2018?”
As a result, Juanes has suspended plans to install new washers and dryers in the building, forcing residents to use a nearby laundromat. He’s also considering appealing the rent ceiling to the courts, a right that he argues all landlords should have if they believe they are not making a reasonable rate of return on their property.
Communities throughout the Empire are scared that this will lead to a scramble by landlords to adjust to the new law and could lead to a spike in rents and/or a spate of evictions. And as landlords and tenants learn about the new law, there are fears about gaps in compliance.
At The Cove, an apartment complex in Edgardia, residents received notices from the management that they could either purchase their units or move out within 60 days, according to Maria Gerardo, a management analyst.
"The law is confusing, worded in a confusing way, provides no specifics on how conflicts between landlords and tenants can be solved, and it might end up making more problems than it solves," says Gerardo. "This program may help some people, and that's good. But you have to take into account the greater impact of the law, and that's where it gets muddy."