U.S. Has Added More Jobs Than Thought

WASHINGTON (UPI) — The U.S. economy added 386,000 more jobs than previously estimated between April 2011 and March 2012, the Labor Department said Thursday.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said it had initially undercounted job growth, and the latest report indicates BLS preliminary job reports during the period were underreported by an average of 32,000 jobs per month, The Hill said.

The development means President Barack Obama may now claim the economy had a net gain of jobs since he took office in January 2009, Forbes reported.

Forbes said the development deprives the campaign of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney of one of its arguments — that the economy has lost jobs under Obama.

Alan Krueger, the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, wrote in a blog post that the revised numbers suggest the recession that began in 2007 was deeper than previously thought and “the jobs recovery over the last 2.5 years has been a bit stronger than initially reported.”

The BLS report was issued the same day the Labor Department reported new claims for unemployment benefits fell by 26,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 359,000, the best showing in two months.

Many economists believe a total of 375,000 first-time claims for unemployment is an indicator the unemployment rate is coming down, Forbes said.

Consumer Spending Flat In Real Terms

WASHINGTON (UPI) — U.S. consumer spending rose 0.5 percent in August but most of that was due to rising prices, the U.S. Commerce Department said Friday.

Spending saw its biggest increase since February, gaining 0.1 percentage points more than July’s month-to-month increase, the department said. But prices rose 0.4 percent, leaving spending up 0.1 percent when the figures are adjusted for inflation.

Incomes rose 0.1 percent — $15 billion — and disposable income gained 0.1 percent or $12.5 billion. But when adjusted for inflation, disposable incomes fell 0.3 percent, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said.

Private wages and salaries rose by 0.1 percent or $4.7 billion in August after rising $9.3 billion in July.

With spending rising faster than incomes, the savings rate declined from 4.1 percent to 3.7 percent.

U.S. Banks Overwhelmed In Cyberattacks

NEW YORK (UPI) — A computer security expert said U.S. banks were besieged   this week with “unprecedented” cyberattacks meant to disrupt business.

Attacks systematically hit Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank and PNC Bank, CNNMoney reported Friday.

“The volume of traffic sent to these sites is frankly unprecedented,” said Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder of CrowdStrike, which is involved in an investigation of the cyberattacks.

The attacks were meant to overwhelm computer systems, with more requests for service than the systems can handle.

The attacks were enormous, Alperovitch said.

“It’s 10 to 20 times the volume that we normally see, and twice the previous record for a denial-of-service attack.”

The attacks are referred to as “denial-of-service” because a bank’s computers are kept so busy denying service to unwanted requests that other parts of the system are slowed or the systems simply crash.

To pull off such an attack, “thousands of high-powered applications servers,” send requests to the banks, CNNMoney reported.

The attacks did not involve theft of personal information, officials said.

Regulator Recommends Libor Overhaul

LONDON (UPI) — Martin Wheatley of Britain’s Financial Services Authority said Friday administration of the London Interbank Offered Rate requires a systematic overhaul.

“The disturbing events we have uncovered in the manipulation of Libor have severely damaged our confidence and our trust — it has torn the very fabric that our financial system is built on,” Wheatley said in remarks accompanying completion of an investigation into bank malfeasance connected to the Libor benchmark, which is supposed to be the average borrowing rate among commercial banks when they loan each other money.

The report recommends a new system for Libor processing, with banks required to provide “relevant trade data” so regulators can double-check the accuracy of the submissions, The Daily Telegraph reported Friday.

The report recommends the British Banking Association be stripped of its Libor administration duties and the task be assigned to the Financial Conduct Authority, which Wheatley will head when it opens next year.

Barclays recently settled charges that it was manipulating the figures it submitted that went into the Libor assessment. The bank agreed to pay $450 million to settle the case.

Other large banks have been frequently mentioned as Libor manipulators, but no others have been fined.

The recommendations include making it a criminal offense to manipulate the Libor, which is used to help set the rate of $300 trillion in financial contracts.

“We can’t allow the unfettered attitude that banks enjoyed previously. Much greater rigor and transparency must be introduced to the process of submission,” Wheatley said.

Bank of England Gov. Mervyn King said the central bank “very much welcomes the Wheatley review’s proposals to improve the functioning, governance and regulation of Libor and would want these to be implemented as soon as possible.”

Barclays had no comment on the report, the newspaper said.

Breast Cancer Survivors Urged To Exercise

SAN DIEGO (UPI) — Officials at the American Council on Exercise encourage breast cancer survivors to incorporate regular physical activity into their everyday routines.

ACE officials said it has been showed physical activity helps prevent recurrence of breast cancer and increase survival rates.

Regularly exercising has been found to provide a multitude of physical and psychological benefits, including improved immune function, improved sleep, reduced fatigue and cancer-related fatigue, enhanced happiness and reduced stress, ACE officials said.

ACE recommends breast cancer survivors interested in beginning an exercise regimen to:

— Always consult a doctor before starting an exercise program.

— Engage in aerobic activities at moderate intensity for a total of 150 minutes per week or vigorous/strenuous intensity for 75 minutes per week. A combination of both is also beneficial.

— Strength training that works the major muscle groups in both the lower and upper body is recommended two or three times per week. This also helps reduce the risk of developing breast cancer-related lymphedema.

— Stretch major muscle groups when aerobic and strength-training activities are performed.

— Allow time for healing after surgery and then evaluate arm/shoulder mobility before performing upper-body exercises.

— Avoid exercising on days of extreme fatigue or pain.

— Set short-term goals, especially if undergoing chemotherapy, to prevent loss of interest or motivation. Chemotherapy can cause nausea, which may lead to lack of appetite and then to low energy. Account for these times when you may feel weak in your goal-setting.

Split-Second Eye Injury Impacts A Lifetime

CHICAGO (UPI) — Accidental eye injury is one of the leading causes of U.S. visual impairment, but only 35 percent wear protective eyewear when doing home projects.

Officials at the American Academy of Ophthalmology said more than half of the 2.5 million eye injuries that occur every year in the United States happen within or around the home when working with power tools, yard debris, cleaning fluids and chemicals.

“Eye injuries can happen in a split second but can have an impact on vision for the rest of our lives,” Hugh R. Parry, president of Prevent Blindness America, said in a statement.

When performing household chores, Prevent Blindness America urges everyone to wear eyewear approved by the American National Standards Institute, which has a “Z-87″ logo stamped on the frames.

It also recommends to help prevent eye injuries at home:

— Wear eye protection when doing automotive work, including changing the oil, jump-starting a dead battery, or even when using bungee cords to secure items to the roof.

— Secure rugs, remove tripping hazards and provide effective lighting and handrails to improve safety on stairs and walkways to reduce the risk of falls.

— Never mix cleaning agents. Read manufacturer instructions and warning labels, and always use these products in well-ventilated areas.

— Wear safety glasses with side protection or dust goggles to protect against flying particles and chemical goggles to guard against exposure to fertilizers and pesticides.

Higher Rank, More Power = Less Stress

STANFORD, Calif. (UPI) — Conventional wisdom says government and corporate leaders have high levels of stress, but U.S. researchers say more authority means less stress.

Professor James Gross of Stanford University and Jennifer Lerner, a professor of public policy and management at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, suggested leadership positions were associated with lower levels of stress.

In other words, the feeling of being in charge of one’s own life more than makes up for the greater amount of responsibility that accompanies higher rungs on the leadership ladder, the researchers said.

“We live as social beings in a stratified society,” Gross said in a statement. “It’s our relative status in a group that disproportionately influences our happiness and well-being.”

The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, also found the connection between power and tranquility was dependent on the total number of subordinates a leader had and on the degree of authority or autonomy a job conferred, the researchers said.

The researchers said they were unable to say whether leadership leads to low stress levels, or whether people who are predisposed to feel little stress are more likely to be leaders.

Red Wine May Help In Weight Loss

TEMPE, Ariz. (UPI) — Bees decreased their food intake when given resveratrol — a compound in red wine — and lived up to 38 percent longer, U.S. and Norwegian researchers say.

Brenda Rascon, a doctoral student with Gro Amdam, an associate professor in Arizona State University’s School of Life Sciences and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, and colleagues tested the effects of resveratrol on the lifespan, learning ability, and food perception in honey bees.

The findings, published in the journal Aging, confirmed not only does this compound extend the lifespan of honey bees by 33 percent to 38 percent, it also changes the decisions that bees make about food by triggering a “moderation effect” when they eat.

The research team discovered bees given resveratrol were less sensitive to sugar. They used different sugar solutions — some very diluted and some with stronger concentrations — and found the bees receiving resveratrol were not as interested in eating the sugar solutions unless the sugar was highly concentrated.

In a final experiment, the team measured how much food the bees would consume if given the opportunity to eat as much sugar water as they wanted.

“The bees were allowed to eat as much as they pleased and were certainly not starving — they simply would not gorge on the food that we know they like. It’s possible resveratrol may be working by some mechanism that is related to caloric restriction — a dietary regimen long-known to extend lifespan in diverse organisms,” Rascon said in a statement.

Hurricanes Can Impact Water Quality

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (UPI) — The water quality of U.S. lakes and coastal systems could be degraded if hurricanes intensify in a warming world, researchers at Yale University say.

During last summer’s Hurricane Irene, the worst storm to hit the New York area in 200 years, record amounts of dissolved organic matter were found in Catskill waters and in the Ashokan Reservoir that supplies New York City with drinking water, they said.

The Catskill Mountains watershed is a primary source of drinking water for New York City, and over a two-day period in late August Irene dropped over 11 inches of rain, 17 percent of the average annual rainfall, on one of the creeks that feeds the Ashokan.

“This is the biggest rain event ever sampled for the region,” Yale doctoral student Bryan Yoon said, noting the volume of water discharged by Esopus Creek increased 330-fold, sending an unprecedented amount of dissolved organic matter to the Ashokan.

Excessive amounts of dissolved organic matter could lead to numerous environmental problems, Yoon said.

Dissolved organic matter binds with metal pollutants and transports them, interferes with ultraviolet processes that reduce pathogens in water, affects aquatic metabolism and leads to the formation of carcinogenic disinfection byproducts, he said.

“All of those problems become more serious as larger quantities of dissolved organic matter are transported to lakes and coastal systems,” Yoon said. “Hurricane Irene was a prime example that there is no limit to the amount of dissolved organic matter that can be exported by extreme rain events.”