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Flap’s Links and Comments for September 2nd on 14:59

These are my links for September 2nd from 14:59 to 15:08:

  • Black unemployment rate: Highest since 1984 – The August jobs report was dismal for plenty of reasons, but perhaps most striking was the picture it painted of racial inequality in the job market.

    Black unemployment surged to 16.7% in August, its highest level since 1984, while the unemployment rate for whites fell slightly to 8%, the Labor Department reported.

    "This month's numbers continue to bear out that longstanding pattern that minorities have a much more challenging time getting jobs," said Bill Rodgers, chief economist with the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University.

    Black unemployment has been roughly double that of whites since the government started tracking the figures in 1972.

    Economists blame a variety of factors. The black workforce is younger than the white workforce, lower numbers of blacks get a college degree and many live in areas of the country that were harder hit by the recession — all things that could lead to a higher unemployment rate.

    But even excluding those factors, blacks still are hit with higher joblessness.

  • Texas power officials say new EPA rule could cause ’emergency events’ – The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, operator of the state's power grid, said in a report today that a new federal environmental regulation would reduce generating capacity and put the grid "at increasing risk of emergency events," including rotating power outages.

    The Jan. 1 implementation date for the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, designed to curb air pollution from power plants, leaves ERCOT with "an extremely truncated period" in which to assess the impact of the rule and "no realistic opportunity to take steps that could even partially offset the substantial losses of available operating capacity," it said.

    The report outlined three scenarios, with even the "best-case scenario" expected to result in the loss of an estimated 1,200 to 1,400 megawatts of generating capacity during peak consumption periods, ERCOT said.

    "Had this incremental reduction been in place in 2011, ERCOT would have experienced rotating outages during days in August," the report said.

    Rotating power outages are implemented as an emergency measure when electricity demand is close to exceeding power supplies from generators.

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