[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/29/obama.fair.pay/art.ll.prez.gi.jpg caption="President Obama stands with Lilly Ledbetter shortly before he signed the bill bearing her name."]
The Washington Times
The faces of five young, female bankers stare out resolutely from a recent cover of Forbes magazine. While all were on the Wall Street fast track, they made the cover not for their corporate prowess but because they have sued their former employer for workplace discrimination, claiming that factors such as their sex and even child-rearing issues led to their dismissal.
The women are not alone. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission this week said workplace discrimination charge filings in 2008 had spiked by 15 percent over the previous year with an "unprecedented" 13,000 more cases reported.
Economic woes, increased diversity and demographic changes, and a rising awareness of the law may have contributed to the uptick, the agency said.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/16/wind2.jpg caption="Technicians climb wind turbines in Tehachapi, CA."]
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/16/wind1.jpg caption="Wind Turbines in Tehachapi, CA."]
CNN Senior Producer
Tehachapi, California. It blows here, hard enough it seems to strip feathers from chickens, or stiff enough to straighten out in two minutes some housewife's curly hairdo that took two hours to coif.
As local legend goes, they started wind power up here in the early 1980s, building crude erector sets with propellers and converting all that spinning into energy.
Tehachapi is about a two hour-drive North of Los Angeles and a cultural divide away.
People here don't ride in black Limos. They drive dusty trucks.
They don't take a dip in the Pacific. They dip chewing tobacco.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/16/wind3.jpg caption="Mike Mesier is VP for Operations and Training for Airstreams, a company that trains folks to fix wind turbines."]
Tehachapi and neighboring hamlets are full of McGyvers, men and women who can fix anything and create art with a screwdriver.
They say Mike Goldsworthy can make a cabinet so useful and beautiful, you can admire your image in the reflection on the outside, and on the inside store the china and the plastic cups from concession stand.
But when the economy tanked, cabinetmaking became a luxury. Goldsworthy couldn't find a job so he threw caution to the relentless wind and started climbing.
Now this craftsman who owns mules and horses tends to his wind turbines up in the air, making sure the herds of them that dot these hills are healthy.
"Look out my office window," laughs Goldsworthy, standing on a hill carpeted with grass that's mid-March green and lined with wind turbines that sing when the blowing brings them to life.
"It's fantastic. Who would not want to work out here in the air. You got 360 degree views. Beautiful weather. Sunshine. Occasionally you get snowed on. No biggie."
Well if the recovery needs to officially start somewhere, why not here in the rolling, wind-whipped hills with Goldsworthy.
Some predict in 20 years, 20 percent of America's electricity demands will be provided by wind which means more Mike Goldsworthy-types are needed.
There's more wind turbines to be built.
And for anyone anywhere who ever cursed the wind in their backyard for rattling the windows or snapping the flag, there could be something in there for them - a job.
Editor's Note: Tonight Anderson spoke to Gregory Thomas, co-founder of a local gang prevention group called Kush Reaching Out. With stimulus money, Thomas hopes to create after-school and job training programs, and hire dozens of gang outreach workers.
For more information on Kush Reaching Out, you can call Greg Thomas directly at (323) 312-7948. His email address is email@example.com.
Kush Reaching Out Inc.
1609 E 113th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90059.
Editor's Note: President Obama vowed Monday to ease the financial plight of the nation's small businesses, promising immediate action to revive frozen credit markets. The president called small businesses "one of the biggest drivers of employment that we have" and said his administration is "working diligently to increase liquidity throughout the financial system."
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/03/16/AIG.bonuses/art.obama.pool.jpg caption="The president announced a plan Monday to help small businesses during the credit crisis."]
So what exactly is a small business? Here's a quick fact-sheet from the U.S. Small Business Association.
1. What is a small business?
The Office of Advocacy defines a small business for research purposes as an independent business having fewer than 500 employees. Firms wishing to be designated small businesses for government programs such as contracting must meet size standards speci?ed by the U.S. Small Business Administra- tion (SBA) Office of Size Standards. These standards vary by industry; see http://www.sba.gov/size.
2. How important are small businesses to the U.S. economy?
• Represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms.
• Employ about half of all private sector employees.
• Pay nearly 45 percent of total U.S. private payroll.
• Have generated 60 to 80 percent of net new jobs annually over the last decade.
• Create more than half of nonfarm private gross domestic product (GDP).
• Hire 40 percent of high tech workers (such as scientists, engineers, and computer
• Are 52 percent home-based and 2 percent franchises.
• Made up 97.3 percent of all identified exporters and produced 28.9 percent of the known
export value in FY 2006.
• Produce 13 times more patents per employee than large patenting firms; these patents are twice
as likely as large firm patents to be among the one percent most cited.
3. How many new jobs do small firms create?
Since the mid-1990s, small businesses have created 60 to 80 percent of the net new jobs. In the most recent year with data (2005), employer firms with fewer than 500 employees created 979,102 net new jobs, or 78.9 percent. Meanwhile, large firms with 500 or more employees added 262,326 net new jobs or 21.1 percent.
4. What is small firms’ share of employment?
Small businesses employ about half of U.S. workers. Of 116.3 million nonfarm private sector workers in 2005, small firms with fewer than 500 workers employed 58.6 million and large firms employed 57.7 million. Firms with fewer than 20 employees employed 21.3 million. While small firms create 60 to 80 percent of net new jobs, their share of employment remains steady since some firms grow into large firms as they create new jobs.
Deputy Political Director
A national poll indicates that nearly two out of three Americans approve of the job President Obama's doing, but the survey suggests that people appear to be split on how he's handling some aspects of the economy.
Obama's job approval rating stands at 64 percent in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Monday. That rating is down 3 percentage points from mid-February.
When asked about the economy, 59 percent of respondents approve of how Obama's performing, with 40 percent disapproving.
The bailouts have brought a new list of terms to the conversation about the economy.
The government's economic recovery efforts have brought many new and unfamiliar financial terms into the conversation. Here's a list of some we think are vital to understanding the recession and the government's attempts to fix it:
Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT): The provision was originally intended to prevent high-income taxpayers from using tax breaks to sharply reduce their tax bill. But Congress never adjusted for inflation the amount of income exempt from AMT, putting tens of millions of middle- and upper-middle-income taxpayers at risk of having to pay it. Every year, Congress approves a "patch" that temporarily lifts the income exemption levels.
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: The $787 billion economic stimulus package contains $212 billion of tax relief, $308 billion of appropriations and $267 billion in direct spending. The Obama administration estimates that the plan will create or save 3.5 million jobs by the end of 2010 and boost consumer spending.
Program Note: Tune in tonight for the "Road to Rescue," Anderson is on the road reporting on the economy from around the country. Tonight he'll anchor AC360° live from L.A. at 10 p.m. ET.
CNN Financial News Producer
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, in a rare TV interview, said the recession “probably” will end this year if the government succeeds in bolstering the banking system.
In an interview broadcast Sunday on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” Bernanke seemed to express a bit more optimism that it can be done and that a "depression" can be avoided.
“We're working on it. And I do think that we will get it stabilized, and we'll see the recession coming to an end probably this year. We'll see recovery beginning next year. And it will pick up steam over time,” Bernanke said.
Program Note: Tune in tonight for “Road to Rescue: A CNN Survival Guide.” AC360° is traveling to five cities in five days to see how the economy is impacting people across the country. Tonight AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/TRAVEL/02/20/mardi.gras.tourism/art.mardi.gras.file.gi.jpg caption="A crowd of people try to catch beads on Bourbon Street on Fat Tuesday last year."]
AC360° Editorial Producer
The economy may be bad, but for some reason, it didn’t feel that way flying into New Orleans last night.
The flight was full, mostly of school groups coming to volunteer on their Spring Break. I took a brief stroll down Bourbon Street, which was pretty crowded last night.
I remember a time when you could go to dinner on a Sunday night in New Orleans and not have to wait at all for a table, and that is if the restaurant was even open. It took 20 minutes for me to get seated, and there were full tables and lines out the door at several of Team 360’s favorite places to eat.
Signs of a recovery here in the Big Easy? I’m sure it’s not that simple, but 3 ½ years after Katrina hit, the city is definitely seeing some kind of tourist resurgence. It’s got to mean big dividends in the long run for this area.