Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:
Wednesday was more or less canceled this week in official Washington, D.C. An enormous winter storm bore down on the region, threatening ice, a foot of snow in the city (more in the suburbs), and wind and misery throughout the region.
Most of the federal government was closed. I know, I know. How could they tell? Local governments and schools, too. Flights were canceled, planes diverted, and throngs descended on grocery stores, picking the shelves clean of bread, milk and toilet tissue.
At the same time, there are millions of Americans you can't find in monthly job reports. They've been unemployed so long they're no longer counted, or they're working just a few hours a week in jobs that can't support them. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also said yesterday that what they call the labor force participation rate fell again to 63.5 percent, the lowest number since 1981.
This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. When it comes to job creation, the U.S. economy has been in a rut. Now, in a moment, we'll hear from Americans who have been struggling to find work, but yesterday's jobs report suggests things might be changing a bit. Employers added far more jobs than expected, and the unemployment rate declined to its lowest point in more than four years.
Even so, the news produced more relief than celebration. NPR's Sonari Glinton reports.