6at4 Business Report: Jobs report, minimum wage

February 3, 2012 2:15:04 PM PST
Good numbers for the nation's job outlook; not-so-good for minimum wage workers in Pennsylvania.

Fire hits Pa. chocolate factory
Firefighters had to wade through melted chocolate to put out a fire at a landmark candy factory near Pittsburgh. The fire at Sarris Candies broke out around 7 a.m. Friday and was centered in a second floor packaging area. Bill Sarris, the owner, said the damage wasn't as bad as first thought and that the factory will reopen next week. Much of the seasonal candy that had already been made was being stored at an off-site warehouse.

Blockbuster jobs report
It was the talk of the town on Wall Street today and helped the markets rally. A blockbuster jobs report showing the U.S. job market is improving. The unemployment rate now sits at 8.3% - the lowest in three years. The U.S. Labor Department says 243,000 jobs were added last month, almost double what economists expected. The job gains spanned several sectors, including manufacturing, construction and retailers.

Pa. minimum wage stays put
But there was not so good news for hourly workers in Pennsylvania USA Today says at least 17 states recently raised the minimum wage or they're considering doing so this year. New Jersey is considering raising the minimum wage but Pennsylvania is not. Minimum wage is at $7.25 in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. That matches the federal minimum. President Obama wants to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.50.

Jobs for military veterans
President Obama is pushing for more jobs for military veterans. He's expected to renew a request seeking $5 billion in his 2013 budget to encourage local law enforcement agencies and fire departments to hire military veterans who have served since the September 11 attacks. The grant money was originally proposed in Obama's September jobs plan, most of which was rejected by Congress.