Midwest Memo: U.S. Unemployment Rate Doesn’t Budget, Americans Narrowly Support Unions

Three stories making news across the Midwest today:

1. Labor report: No new jobs. Friday’s monthly report from the U.S. Labor Department showed that the nation’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.1 percent in August. Financial markets feared the report signaled a weakened recovery, and edged lower on the news. Approximately 14 million people were unemployed last month, and nearly 43 percent of them have been without work for six months or longer.

2. Americans narrowly support unions. Fifty-two percent of Americans approve of labor unions, according to a new Gallup poll reported by The New York Times. The rate was unchanged from a previous poll in 2010 and up four percentage points from 2009. The poll showed a sharp divide in how Republicans and Democrats viewed unions. In the poll of 1,008 adults, 78 percent of Democrats approved of unions while 26 percent of Republicans did, the lowest percentage ever for Republicans in an annual poll taken ever year since 1936.

3. Ohio politicians reach agreement. Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State and Cuyahoga County’s Democratic executive have reached a compromise on how the state will handle absentee ballots in two upcoming elections, according to The Columbus Dispatch. Secretary of State Jon Husted will mail applications to all 88 counties for next year’s presidential election, in exchange for Ed FitzGerald’s agreement to not mail them this year. “Through a productive exchange of ideas, we were able to develop a plan and achieve consensus to preserve the uniform standards I have sought statewide,” Husted said in a statement.

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