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34° Good Morning

In like a lion

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Daily Point

Could it snow on Trump’s job numbers parade?

In President Donald Trump’s first full month in office, employers created 235,000 new jobs — a relatively strong number that was likely pushed higher by the economic optimism that has spilled over to the stock market and beyond since Election Day.

But what Friday’s jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics made clear is that it’s not just investors who are benefiting from the latest economic gains. Average hourly wages rose by 2.8 percent from a year ago. And among the industries with big gains were construction and manufacturing. Retail trade, however, an industry Trump the businessman would have cared about, lost 26,000 jobs in February.

But while expectations and optimism have fueled the job increases, Friday’s data can’t be attributed solely to Trump. February’s good weather, economists said, in part spurred the growth, especially in construction, which added 58,000 jobs by itself.

Given the weather in March so far, don’t be surprised if this month’s job growth is more moderate — perhaps more lamb than lion.

Randi F. Marshall

Daily Point

No big surprises in the big ugly

State budget negotiations are about to kick into high gear, and here are the big issues on the table, all gleaned from a briefing Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie gave his caucus this week after a meeting of Albany’s four men in a room.

Hint: There are no surprises.

* billions of dollars for water quality,

* raising the age of criminal responsibility to 18,

* affordable housing and a new version of the 421-a tax break,

* education aid and the foundation formula,

* an extension of the “millionaires tax,” and

* whether to wait or take steps now to deal with a possible reduction in federal funds from Donald Trump’s administration.

One Assembly member said reforms to the Start-Up NY program and to the process of doling out funds through regional economic development councils are on the legislature’s menu only, while Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has his municipal consolidation-shared services plan on his short list.

Both chambers will present their one-house budgets next week.

And let the big ugly begin.

Michael Dobie

Pencil Point

Spring ahead to snow

More cartoons of the week

Bonus Point

Trump haters whelp on Yelp

Donald Trump critics have discovered an additional way to express their displeasure with the new president. They’re logging in to Google and Yelp to leave bad online reviews for Trump hotels, restaurants, golf courses and resorts.

The average rating of the 29 Trump properties in the United States has dropped to 3.7 stars out of 5, down from 4 stars before the election.

That finding comes from Signpost, an online rating technology company that looked at three years of user-review ratings on Google and Yelp. Between October and January, 5-star ratings for Trump accommodations have steadily declined, while 1-star reviews have spiked.

Suspecting these are political, not actual user reviews, Yelp announced an “active cleanup alert.” It will more closely scrutinize reviews of the Mar-a-Lago Club — Trump’s Winter White House — and other Trump properties.

There remains a wide range of opinion on Yelp’s Mar-a-Lago page. Claire H. of Santa Barbara, California, doesn’t like the style: “The décor can only be described as garish, what poor people think rich people live like.” But Melitta B. of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, calls the resort “unbelievably beautiful.”

Is Trump reading his reviews on Yelp? Melitta B. might have a future in Washington.

Anne Michaud


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