Economy

UN Jean-Marc Ferre

The United Nations has just published a report on poverty in the U.S. based on a fact-finding tour that included parts of the Ohio Valley.

The UN report says that of the 40 million poor Americans about 5.3 million live in “Third World conditions of absolute poverty.”

 

The study also suggests recent tax reforms will worsen the situation for U.S. citizens and ensure that the country remains the most unequal society in the developed world. UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights Philip Alston was the report’s lead author. In an interview with the Ohio Valley ReSource, he said poverty has significant human rights implications.

“I think that if people are really living in very poor circumstances their ability to exercise a lot of their basic civil rights is greatly impaired,” he said.


Public Domain

City officials say there’s a large number of people without broadband internet access, but a potential Microsoft partnership could address it.

The contrast between people with internet access is called the digital divide, and the Brookings Institute found more than 200,000 Louisville residents live with low broadband subscription rates.

Raamel Mitchell, Microsoft’s director for citizenship, said the company will help by partnering with the city and with organizations like the Ali Center to provide programs and initiatives about digital connectivity.

Bruce Parsons, KVEC

Student teams from across the coalfields of eastern Kentucky came together at the Knott County Sportsplex, bringing with them drones that they themselves had built. It was time for the climax of this year-long project. A basketball court had been separated with nets, and padded gates marked a circuit course for the little flying machines.

Seth Hatfield was one of dozens thumbing the joysticks on a remote control, and making last minute adjustments to four colorful propellers on top of a machine that had taken a full school year of teamwork to build. It was time for the drone race.


Becca Schimmel

The Trump administration has made good on a promise to impose steel and aluminum tariffs on some major U.S. trading partners, including the European Union, Canada and Mexico.

The U.S. commerce department exempted the EU, Canada and Mexico from a 25 percent tariff on steel and 10 percent tariff on aluminum in March. Those exemptions were set to expire in May, but countries were given one more month. U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced Thursday the exemptions were expiring and the tariffs will go into effect at midnight. The President is still able to cancel or extend those exemptions.


Kentucky Labor Cabinet

Kentucky’s Labor Secretary said the state has one of the lowest labor force participation rates in the nation. Derrick Ramsey said an estimated 200,000 people left the workforce after the 2008 recession and haven’t yet returned. But he said the recession isn’t the only reason the state’s labor force participation is so low.

“Further numbers that are worthy of conversation, the penal system,” he said. “We have 26,000 people that are incarcerated in our state today and that number keeps growing quicker and faster than one could even imagine.”

Updated at 7:08 p.m. ET

In a case involving the rights of tens of millions of private sector employees, the U.S. Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote, delivered a major blow to workers, ruling for the first time that workers may not band together to challenge violations of federal labor laws.

Becca Schimmel

Kentucky Labor Secretary Derrick Ramsey was in Barren County this week to announce new youth apprenticeship programs. The new programs include the fields of culinary arts, office management, and transportation maintenance.

Secretary Ramsey said people are beginning to understand what the state’s apprenticeship program is and how it can help Kentucky’s economy. He said it’s important to have more local businesses of all sizes involved in the program. Ramsey said it’s vital for employers to connect with local youth, some of whom could be part of their future workforce.

Revolution

J.D. Vance, author of the best-selling memoir “Hillbilly Elegy,” returns to his native Kentucky this week. But Vance isn’t selling books this time. He’s leading a bus tour of well-heeled venture capitalists looking for investment options in the region.

Vance worked with AOL founder Steve Case to line up big-name investors for what they call the “Rise of the Rest” tour. Vance is now managing partner for the Rise of the Rest Fund, which names Jeff Bezos of Amazon and former Google executive Eric Schmidt among its investors.


Report: Kentucky Tourism Generates $15 Billion Impact

May 8, 2018
WKU Public Radio

The economic impact of Kentucky's tourism industry has jumped nearly 4 percent to more than $15 billion.

A report commissioned by the Kentucky Department of Tourism shows the industry supports more than 195,000 jobs across the state and generated $1.5 billion in taxes. Of that tax money, $202 million went to local governments while the rest went to the state government.

Becca Schimmel

With sunglasses perched atop his camouflage cap, Brady Carwile filled out an application at a job fair in a community center in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. Carwile works at a local auto parts maker but he’s hoping for a maintenance position at Century Aluminum’s Hawesville Smelter.

“It’s one of the best jobs you can find around there,” Carwile said.

Just a few years ago Century was laying workers off, not hiring them on. Century idled 60 percent of its capacity in 2015 and laid off more than 300 workers here. Now that the Trump administration is placing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, Century plans to bring the Hawesville smelter back to full capacity, invest $150 million, and create up to 300 new jobs.


Becca Schimmel

Regional iron and steel industry leaders say they are disappointed by the Trump administration’s delay on a decision about which countries will face new import tariffs. President Trump has postponed until June a decision on which countries will be subject to new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. The decision had been due May 1.

Nucor Corporation CEO and president John Ferriola was among the steel and iron industry representatives who discussed the delay in a press briefing on Tuesday. Nucor has facilities in Kentucky and Ohio. Ferriola said the delay is disappointing because it gives other countries more time to undercut domestic producers with unfairly priced goods, a practice known as dumping.


flickr creative commons Virginia Department of Transportation

Inmates at the Daviess County Detention Center will be able to participate in a work program again, thanks to the renewal of a contract with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and increased staffing at the jail.

The Daviess County Detention Center had a contract with the state’s transportation cabinet last year but couldn’t implement the program due to staffing shortages. The Messenger-Inquirer reports inmates will work for eight hours a day and a maximum of 160 hours a month.

Bureau of Prisons

The Bureau of Prisons has issued a record of decision signaling that it is moving ahead with plans to build a federal prison on the site of a former strip mine in the hills of Letcher County, Kentucky. But local opponents of the prison say they’re not giving up and are considering a legal challenge to prevent the construction of a new prison.

Updated at 5:26 p.m. ET

China's leaders followed President Trump in taking another step toward a new trade war, announcing a plan to put steep tariffs on $50 billion of U.S. imports. China's proposed 25 percent tariffs would target a wide range of American products, from soybeans and whiskey to airplanes and cars.

"China currently buys about $14 billion worth of American soybeans each year — almost a third of the entire U.S. crop," NPR's Dan Charles reports for our Newscast unit. "Prices for U.S. soybeans tumbled by 3 to 5 percent" on the news, Dan adds.

Mary Meehan | Ohio Valley ReSource

A tax reform bill that passed Monday by Kentucky lawmakers is now awaiting a decision from Governor Matt Bevin. Some economists are saying the tax plan is more of a tax shift from wealthy individuals to middle and low income Kentuckians.

 

The plan would reduce the income tax rate for individuals as well as corporations. It would also broaden the services that could be taxed, such as landscaping, pet grooming and janitorial work.

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