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The U.S. economy reached a milestone this week: The country finally recovered all the jobs it lost during the Great Recession. But some states still lag behind when it comes to job creation — including New Jersey.

The Garden State's stalled economy may be an even bigger problem for Gov. Chris Christie than the scandal over lane closures at the George Washington Bridge.

When Christie took office in 2010, the state had just lost more than 100,000 jobs. Christie was undaunted. He talked about the "Jersey Comeback" at town hall meetings, on TV and at ground-breaking events.

CBIA

Connecticut's manufacturers expect to be doing lots of hiring in the next few years, but a recent survey shows they're worried about where all those new workers are going to come from.

Royal Bank of Scotland

The Royal Bank of Scotland could lay off hundreds of its U.S. employees, according to new reports. The company has its North American headquarters in Stamford.

Bullying is a behavioral problem often associated with children in grade school, but according to a recent Zogby poll commissioned by the Workplace Bullying Institute more than a quarter of American workers say they've experienced abusive conduct at work.

Now, many states are considering laws that would give workers legal protections against workplace abuse.

Lydia Brown / WNPR

This hour, we kick off our year-long Made in Connecticut series with a conversation about keeping jobs in and bringing jobs back to Connecticut. Senator Chris Murphy joined us, along with WNPR’s Harriet Jones, and some folks from the local manufacturing industry, to take an in-depth look at the present and future of manufacturing in our state.

Starwood

The Starwood Hotel group said it will create 340 new jobs at its Stamford headquarters, bringing its total workforce in the city's Harbor Point to more than 1,300.

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Foxwoods Resort Casino has announced plans to close parts of one of its casinos on weekdays, and lay off employees. This is the latest bid to brings costs under control as its gaming receipts continue to drop.

Connecticut added more than two thousand jobs last month, according to the latest figures from the state Department of Labor. It adds to the positive trend seen through the early part of this year.

The Labor Department always cautions that monthly figures can be volatile, and subject to correction, but April marks the third straight month that the state saw positive job growth. Employers added 2,200 jobs and the unemployment rate, measured through a separate household survey, dropped to 6.9%, down 1/10ths of a percent.

Magdalena Roeseler / Creative Commons

A recent Gallup poll brought a lot of attention to whether residents in Connecticut are happy where they live. About half said they would move to a different state if given the chance, ranking Connecticut second only to Illinois among states with people feeling a bit disenchanted. 

The city of Springfield, Massachusetts is soliciting bids from organizations to do workforce training in poor neighborhoods hit by the tornado three years ago.

Employers May Start Paying You To Buy Health Insurance

May 13, 2014

What if employers started giving workers a chunk of cash to buy health insurance on their own instead of offering them a chance to buy into the company plan? Are workers ready to manage their own health insurance like they do a 401(k)?

The idea that employers might drop their health plans and replace them with a "defined contribution" for employees has been around for years. It's one way for employers to control their expenses in the face of the relentlessly rising costs of health care.

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Sometimes the rulings of the narrowly-divided Supreme Court actually reflect the very divided views of the public and the delicate nature of the law.

But the 2006 decision in Garcetti v. Ceballos made a lot of people scratch their heads. In it, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that work-related statements made by public employees are not protected by the First Amendment.  

Electric Boat

Electric Boat expects to hire more than 500 extra employees as it gets ready to work on the largest contract ever awarded by the U.S. Navy. The workforce can still expect pain in the short term.

The contract for ten Virginia class submarines represents five years of steady work building two submarines a year at the Groton yard, something that's been hard to come by in recent decades.

Steven Depolo / Creative Commons

After decades of stagnant incomes, the inability to save, and disappearing pensions, 75 percent of Americans nearing retirement have less than $30,000 saved, which won’t last long. One third of Connecticut residents are baby boomers -- a big demographic that is headed straight towards retirement. In fact, Connecticut’s population of 65 and up is growing ten times faster than the general population.

Chris Lewis / Creative Commons

About half of Connecticut's residents would move to a different state if given the chance, according to a Gallup poll conducted in all 50 states last year.

Until recently, Mike Smith, 64, of Long Beach, Calif., worked 11 hours a day, Monday through Friday and then half a day on Saturday. He was a district manager for a national auto parts chain.

He dreamed of retiring early, but it wasn't an option for him because he and his wife relied on the health insurance tied to his job.

"At our age, with some pre-existing medical conditions, it would have been very costly to buy insurance on the open market — about $3,000 a month," he says.

David Butler II / Butler Photography, LLC

As World War II came to a close, manufacturing in Connecticut employed close to half the state's working population. Now it accounts for only eleven percent of employment. That dramatic decline over half a century is due to one irresistible force: off-shoring, and the loss of work to cheaper labor markets in Asia. But that force may not be so irresistible after all.

SpaceX will launch an official protest against the Air Force for its no-bid national security launch contracts to Boeing and Lockheed, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said in a televised press conference.

He said his company thought the process was "unfair" and that he wanted to shine a light on the process.

"As I've said, sunlight is the best disinfectant. If everything's fine, then I guess that's great," Musk said. "But that seems unlikely to me."

warriors-bikers-people-places-things.blogspot.com

Connecticut's historic Ovation guitars will no longer be made in the state. The New Hartford factory will close this summer.

Lydia Brown / WNPR

This hour, we kick off our year-long Made in Connecticut series with a conversation about keeping jobs in and bringing jobs back to Connecticut. Last week, Senator Chris Murphy joined us, along with WNPR’s Harriet Jones, and some folks from the local manufacturing industry, to take an in-depth look at the present and future of manufacturing in our state.

Can our state be home to a boom of reshored jobs? How can we keep the skilled manufacturing jobs we already have?

Connecticut lawmakers are again trying to ban discrimination against unemployed job seekers. Advocates say the problem has not gone away even though the jobless rate has fallen from 9.5 percent in November 2010 to 7 percent in February. A similar proposal failed in 2012. The legislation would prohibit employers from mentioning in a job ad that being unemployed disqualifies an applicant.

Harriet Jones / WNPR

A new analysis says large companies that allow their workers to rely on state assistance could be heavily penalized by a law currently being considered by the state legislature.

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Connecticut’s manufacturers have a lot more confidence in the future of their companies, according to a new survey. But they're more cautious about the future of the state.

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State officials are to announce today that Connecticut’s first P-TECH model school will open in September.

P-TECH stands for Pathways in Technology Early College High School, and by the start of the next academic year there will be about 27 of these schools across the country.

The first slice of data about job growth in March offers some hope that the U.S. labor market gained some strength:

President Obama travels to Michigan Wednesday to tout his proposal to boost the minimum wage.

Raising the wage to $10.10 an hour is one of the top agenda items for Obama and his fellow Democrats during this mid-term election year. The White House says the move would put more money in the pockets of some 28 million workers.

One test of that strategy will be in Arkansas, where proponents are trying to put a minimum wage increase on the ballot in November. Arkansas has some of the lowest wages in the country and it's also home to one of the most vulnerable Senate Democrats.

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Three quarters of Americans nearing retirement have saved less than $30,000 for their retirement years, according to data from the New School for Social Research. Decades of stagnant incomes, an inability to save, and disappearing pensions are part of the reason.

One third of Connecticut residents are baby boomers, and state legislators are proposing a program to help them do a better job preparing for retirement.

Steven Depolo / Creative Commons

After decades of stagnant incomes, the inability to save, and disappearing pensions, 75 percent of Americans nearing retirement have less than $30,000 saved, which won’t last long. One third of Connecticut residents are baby boomers -- a big demographic that is headed straight towards retirement. In fact, Connecticut’s population of 65 and up is growing ten times faster than the general population.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

President Obama has congratulated Connecticut for becoming the first state to officially endorse his goal for the minimum wage. The General Assembly on Wednesday night passed a bill that will raise the wage to $10.10 an hour by 2017.

Americans United for Change

The Connecticut General Assembly passed a bill that would raise Connecticut's minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2017. The legislation makes the state the first in the nation to endorse President Barack Obama's goal for the national minimum wage.

Republican senators offered a variety of amendments to the bill, but all were been defeated.  

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