Hello, I'm Mark Pearson. Friday's weaker-than-expected jobs report offered the latest evidence that America's fragile economic recovery is slowing.
According to the Labor Department, U.S employers cut 125,000 workers from their payrolls in June. The loss was driven by the end of 225,000 temporary census jobs. Private employers added a modest 83,000 workers, marking the 6th consecutive month of private-sector gains.
Nevertheless, the nation's unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to 9.5 percent. But analysts say the figure declined because more than 650,000 people quit looking for work last month and, therefore, were no longer eligible for benefits.
Wall Street traded lower all week as a series of reports and developments all indicated slower growth in the months ahead.
President Obama seized the unemployment figures Friday as evidence the economy is moving in the right direction, albeit too slowly. And the president called for additional government stimulus funds to aid the recovery.
While the economy and the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf are the president's top priorities, the administration also is charged with protecting public health. And this week, the FDA questioned the use of antibiotics in livestock feed...
Growing concern over antibiotic use in the American livestock sector received federal backing this week from the Food and Drug Administration, or FDA.
FDA officials issued a 19-page draft guidance that recognizes the importance of anti-microbial drugs in animal agriculture, BUT aims to limit their future use. The FDA draft states:
"…the overall weight of evidence available to date supports the conclusion that using medically important antimicrobial drugs for production or growth-enhancing purposes in food-producing animals is NOT in the interest of protecting and promoting the public health."
FDA's cautionary push for "judicious" use of antimicrobial drugs comes with a call for public remarks. Ag interests responded this week with a flurry of statements.
Calling antibiotics an "essential tool" for America's farmers and ranchers, the chief veterinarian for The National Cattlemen's Beef Association, or NCBA, stated:
"As FDA officials seek stakeholder input, we encourage them to go out and visit farms and ranches to see firsthand how our producers are utilizing antimicrobials and working with their veterinarians to keep cattle healthy and ensure safe and wholesome beef."
The National Pork Producers Council, or NPCC, sounded the alarm as well this week, saying "there appears to be no science on which FDA based the guidance" report. And the NPCC cautioned the FDA draft "could lead to the elimination or costly review of previously approved animal health products."
FDA's draft guidance argues that steps should be taken to limit the use of drugs in food-producing animals to only situations involving the animal's health. In order to limit antibiotic resistance, FDA also recommends that antimicrobial drugs should only be used under the supervision of a veterinarian. The draft guidance recommends phasing-in these steps over an undetermined period of time.