What You Should Know: Good (and bad) news for the economy

Welcome back to What You Should Know. If the news matters to students, you’ll find it here.

Good economics news: Michigan’s unemployment rate is at the lowest point since 2008.

While it’s still higher than the national rate of 5.9 percent, Michigan’s unemployment rate fell to 7.2 percent in September, the lowest it’s been since March 2008.

After months of stagnant employment numbers, it appears as if Michigan businesses are starting to hire a bit more. That’s certainly good news for graduates hoping to stay in-state after graduation, although the economy still has a long way to go before anyone can consider it healthy.

Read more at the Detroit Free Press.

Bad economics news: The global economy looks a little shakier than previously thought.

Turmoil in the Middle East. Conflict in Ukraine. Debt worries in Europe and Japan. Worries about Ebola in the United States. Concerns about China’s long-term economic outlook and the strength of the American recovery.

It’s a volatile time, and that was reflected in the stock market yesterday, as the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index almost lost all of its yearly gains in one day at one point, and the Dow Industrial Average dropped by 400 points to start the day. They both rallied a bit by the time the markets closed, but Wednesday was one of the most worrying days on the stock market since the economic recovery began.

The stock market is only one (arguably weak) indicator of the strength of an economy, and it’s far too soon to tell if the recovery might be slowing down. (Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen says the Fed has confidence in the strength of the U.S. economic comeback.) But still, students should keep an eye out on the markets. Shaken investors could have an impact on the job market down the road.

Read more at Bloomberg.

There is no need to freak out about Ebola.

Health concerns are of particular concern on a college campus. Contagious diseases have a way of spreading quickly on any campus, so it’s easy to be worried about the news of the Ebola virus spreading in the U.S.

It’s a serious, deadly disease that requires a careful approach from doctors and hospitals in the United States. But the chances of an outbreak occurring within U.S. borders are very slim. There are plenty of other crazy things happening in the world for students to worry about. Ebola is not one of them, despite what hysterical reports online and politicians posturing in their re-election races say.

Fox News’ Shepherd Smith has a fantastic takedown of media outlets blowing the Ebola crisis out of proportion below. And no, you did not read that incorrectly. Fox News, cable news’ Ground Zero for hyperbolic fear-mongering, really did air a nice piece criticizing media sensationalism.

Union Township supervisor admits shutting down public comments is a bad idea.

Union Township Supervisor Russ Alwood, who adjourned last week’s Board of Trustees meeting after warning against political speech during the board’s public comment session, said he made a mistake in doing so, according to the Morning Sun.

“When I shut down the public comment, yes, that was bad,” Alwood told the Sun. “That was a thing that I should not have done.”

Find out where Alwood apparently went wrong here.


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