Some churches are countering the trend of Black Friday shopping and materialism by promoting "Bless Friday," an observance promoting charity work that seeks to bless the less fortunate.
Eva Kaminski, associate director of Communications at Memorial Drive Presbyterian in Houston, told The Christian Post that Bless Friday is "an encouragement for people to shift their focus from shopping to serving."
"Bless Friday is something that our congregation and staff have embraced. The beauty is in the soul-building that occurs when we focus on others instead of self, and serve in Christ's Name," she said. more >>
A historic number of America's youth – 2.5 million children – are homeless according to a report recently released by the National Center on Family Homelessness. These children, the report shows, are victims of a number of variables that contribute to homelessness including single motherhood, racial disparities and low household incomes.
The report, based on data compiled from the U.S. Department of Education and the Census Bureau, reveals that many of the nation's homeless children are on the verge of losing their housing, don't have a fixed residence, are living in places not designated for human beings, or are living in some kind of temporary housing. Many homeless children's circumstances are tied to problems plaguing their families.
According to the report, "Poverty rates are highest for families headed by single women, particularly if they are Black or Hispanic." more >>
For the 135th year in a row, New York City's Bowery Mission will provide thousands of meals for city's homeless residents on Thanksgiving Day at their Bowery street location and other sites.
"More than 600 volunteers will prepare these meals and serve guests in the mission's century-old chapel, with music and festive decorations for the holiday," James Winans, chief development officer at the Bowery Mission, told The Christian Post.
"Meals will be served at 227 Bowery at 8 a.m., 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m., 5 p.m., and 7 p.m. Additional meals will be added throughout the day, based on the demand," he said. "Each meal will be a traditional Thanksgiving meal, with turkey, potatoes, stuffing, green beans, gravy and all the fixings, and with pie for dessert." more >>
While people celebrate the fact that America's unemployment rate has fallen below six percent for the first time since 2008, some economic experts say not so fast and point out the discrepancy between the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics data released its unemployment summary for the month of September on Friday and found that the country's overall unemployment rate decreased by 0.2 percentage points to 5.9 percent, the lowest the rate has been since July of 2008. Additionally, employers added approximately 248,000 jobs in the month.
American Enterprise Institute resident scholar in economic studies Aparna Mathur told The Christian Post that in order to better judge the progress of the American economy, analysts need to look at the U-6 unemployment rate. Mathur said the U-6 rate provides better measures that takes into account people that have dropped out of the labor force due to discouragement. The U-6 rate finds that the unemployment for the month of September is really double the BLS figure at around 11.8 percent. more >>
The overall poverty rate in the United States dropped for the first time since 2006, with Hispanics being the ethnic group that experienced the most significant change in income.
The U.S. Census Bureau's annual report released Tuesday indicated that the poverty rate among Latinos in 2013 decreased by 2.1 percentage points from the previous year. In addition, income for Hispanic households increased by 3.5 percent between 2012 and 2013 to $40,963.
The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference that represents millions of Hispanic Evangelicals, attributed the rise in income to more Latinos pursuing education. more >>
This week the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the Federal Reserve will meet to consider the next phase of monetary policy. The Fed, through the policy decisions of the FOMC, has been engaged in a policy known as "quantitative easing", or QE. You would not be too far off the mark if you interpret QE as the equivalent of printing money. The Fed has been slowly reducing QE for the past year, and it is expected to finish QE this fall. You may wonder what all the attention on the Fed is about, and how the Fed's actions affect the economy, and possibly your own family?
The Fed controls the money supply; essentially the amount of cash on hand, and in bank accounts. They attempt to maintain the money supply at just the right level; enough to facilitate transactions in the economy, but not so much that prices start to rise out of control. As a rule, the Fed aims to manage the money supply so that prices rise two percent per year. They hope that two percent inflation is just the right level to facilitate necessary price adjustments, but will not distort the economy too much.
Prior to the financial crisis, the Fed controlled the money supply by raising and lowering short-term interest rates. Raising short-term rates would reduce the money supply, while lowering short-term rates would increase the money supply. (It is more intuitive if you think of the causality going in the other direction.) Since 2009, short-term interest rates have been near zero. It is difficult to lower interest rates below zero. (But not impossible-there are negative interest rates afoot in Europe today.) So the Fed has used QE, in the face of zero percent short-term interest rates, as the mechanism to increase the money supply. more >>