In the first bit of good news in terms of employment in the U.S. in essentially two years, the Labor Department reported this morning that unemployment rate has dropped slightly in November, from 10.2% to 10%, and lost "only"11,000 jobs last month.
The news comes a day after President Obama convened his Jobs Summit in Washington, where 130 business leaders, union chiefs, economists and others were summoned to the White House.
Meanwhile, in Tampa Friday morning, Congresswoman Kathy Castor is hosting a workshop to help Tampa-area small businesses compete for federal contracts, The workshop is designed for small, disadvantaged, women-owned, minority-owned or veteran-owned businesses.
But back to Obama. He heads off to the site of the 1982 Billy Joel classic, Allentown, Pennsylvania.
It may not be a warm welcome. In today's Wall Street Journal, the Mayor of Allentown, a Democrat, has this to say:
"In the last two or three months people are getting disillusioned," says Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski, a Democrat. "If he's kicking off this tour and nothing of substance comes out of it, it's gonna kill him," Mr. Pawlowski says.
Later in the same article, there's this, in regards to stimulus money not making its way into the northeastern city:
Mr. Pawlowski says that millions more dollars for education, social services and revamping the city's industrial base are stuck in the pipeline. He wants the government to bypass states and send stimulus money directly to local jurisdictions.
Meanwhile, mortgage rates have dropped to an all-time low, which could perhaps spur the Tampa Bay housing market. However, according to Moody's Economy.com, Florida home prices statewide will continue to fall throughout 2010, for a total decline next year of 21 percent, before stabilizing in 2011. Some areas will be hit even harder.