Subscribe to E-Update here.

Teen Police Trainees Help Run Community Festival

More than a dozen Philadelphia Police Explorer Cadets helped stuff backpacks and coordinated the crowds of parents and students lined up to receive them at my annual community festival this week.

I was extremely impressed at the maturity and poise shown by this group of young people and it bodes well for the future of law enforcement in our community. Although I've hosted the community event for eight years, this is the first time that the cadets were on hand to help and I don't know how we did it without them.

Philadelphila Police Explorer Cadets help with crowd control as thousands of people lined up to receive free backpacks.

It was also the first time we were able to get enough donations to stuff the backpacks we handed out with pencils, erasers, glue sticks and notebooks. Some of these donations were still rolling in as the event started and a group of cadets stuffed more than 1,000 backpacks in just over an hour.

My thanks go out to them and everyone involved in the Explorer Cadet program.

In the top photo, from left to right are: D. Makovsky, D. Flanagan, J. Santiago, and N. Fagan.


UC Problems Continue, L&I Dumps IBM

Almost four years behind and more than $60 million over budget, the state Department of Labor and Industry has announced it is terminating a contract with IBM for modernization of the state’s unemployment call-in system.

The project, called the Unemployment Compensation Modernization System, is designed to calculate and provide unemployment compensation benefit payments in Pennsylvania.

The UCMS program development contract was awarded in June 2006 to IBM, during the previous administration, to provide updated technology for the delivery of unemployment compensation benefits.

“Between 2007 and early 2011, a number of program risks and issues were identified; however, the project was already significantly over budget without any measurable solutions,” the department explained.

Of course the department did not wait until the system was fixed before furloughing dozens of employees of the unemployment compensation system.

The computer problems and the furloughs resulted in massive backlogs of calls that had some laid off workers waiting weeks to get through.

Now that the department is terminating IBM’s contract, it will depend on the patched-up current system to serve the public until another course is chosen.

The decision to terminate IBM’s contract came after the department release an independent study of the work and the contract by Carnegie Mellon University.

That study can be found here.

Employment Picture Continues to Improve

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the national unemployment rate for July 2013 declined from the previous month, as well as from the previous year, now standing at 7.4 percent.  Additionally, job creation rose for the month, and the number of unemployed persons dropped during this time period.  All together, these statistics demonstrate continued progress in the nation’s efforts to return to a pre-2007 economy. 

With 162,000 new employment opportunities developing since June 2013, Pennsylvania has created nearly 1.3 million jobs since the end of 2012.  In fact, July 2013 marks the 34th consecutive month of employment growth in the U.S. 

Such growth was apparent in many industry sectors during July 2013, including mining and logging; manufacturing; professional and business services; trade, transportation and utilities; retail trade; information; financial activities; education and health services; leisure and hospitality; and government.  The number of jobs in construction and other services decline for the month. 

On the European front, for the first time in two years, the number of unemployed persons in the eurozone fell, as did the Spanish unemployment rate; yet, the unemployment rate in Spain remains one of the highest among the industrialized nations at more than 25 percent. 

Unemployment across the eurozone is expected to increase by next year from its current 12.1 percent.  Global youth unemployment continues to be a prominent issue which some experts say must be resolved in order to reach true economic recovery. 

Youth unemployment worldwide is expected to increase to 12.8 percent by 2018, negating any economic progress made by that time if it is not addressed seriously in the near future.    

(Seasonally Adjusted)

(National Stats)               Jul. 2012                     Jun. 2013                    Jul. 2013

Civilian Labor Force      154,995,000                  155,835,000                  155,798,000

Employment               133,762,000                  135,876,000                 136,038,000

Unemployment           12,745,000                    11,777,000                    11,514,000

Unemployment Rate        8.2%                            7.6%                            7.4%








Watch Live PA & U.S. UNEMPLOYMENT RATE (6/12 - 2/13)