USDA AMENDS JAPANESE BEETLE REGULATIONS
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is amending its Japanese beetle regulations by adding Colorado and Montana to the list of states protected from this destructive pest.
Due to the adverse climates in Colorado and Montana, these states did not request to be listed in USDA's original list of protected states established in 1970. However, recent review by APHIS' experts and state cooperators has determined that an increasing number of Japanese beetles are being discovered in these states at nurseries and airports in plant and nursery stock from eastern states. This amendment is necessary on an emergency basis to provide protection from the Japanese beetle during the 2003 season of Japanese beetle activity.
Adult Japanese beetles feed on the foliage and fruits of several hundred species of fruit trees, ornamental trees, shrubs, vines, field vegetable crops and turf. Japanese beetles are most active in late spring and early summer during hot, sunny days.
SNOW THROWER SHIPMENTS DOWN FOR 2003
Estimates by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) for Model Year (MY) 2003, which ended in February, indicate that snow thrower shipments slipped by 31.1 percent from the 2002 level. The 2003 Model Year (March 2002 through February 2003) indicated that shipments for snow throwers were 565,397 compared to 820,200 for MY 2002. Optimism for the future abounds, however, because the snow thrower shipment season is short and has always been subject to large swings in retail inventory.
Recent history clearly demonstrates this. 2002 was a great year for shipments but the season was dry and mild so retail inventory accumulated. This in turn dampened snow thrower shipments during the 2003 Model Year. This past winter season was harsh and this greatly reduced the level of product inventory. This all bodes well for shipments in MY 2004.
UNEMPLOYMENT ON THE RISE
The number of unemployed persons increased by 360,000 in June to 9.4 million, and the unemployment rate rose from 6.1 to 6.4 percent. Since March, unemployment has increased by 913,000. The rate for adult men edged up for the third month in a row; at 6.1 percent, the jobless rate for this group was 0.8 percentage point higher than in March. The teenage unemployment rate, at 19.3 percent, has trended up since the beginning of the year. Over the month, the unemployment rate for blacks increased to 11.8 percent. Jobless rates for the other major worker groups — adult women (5.2 percent), whites (5.5 percent), and Hispanics (8.4 percent) — showed little change from May. The unemployment rate for Asians was 7.8 percent, not seasonally adjusted.
In June, there were 2.0 million unemployed persons who had been looking for work for 27 weeks or longer, an increase of 410,000 over the year. They represented 21.4 percent of the total unemployed, up from 18.8 percent a year earlier.
Source: Employment Situation Summary,” U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
JUNE WETTER AND COOLER THAN AVERAGE
The eastern two-thirds of the nation was cooler than average and much of the eastern and southern United States was wetter than average in June, according to scientists at the NOAA Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. Overall, the contiguous United States had its sixth coolest and seventh wettest June since national records began in 1895. The widespread wet conditions in the East were a sharp contrast to continued warmer and generally drier-than-average conditions in large parts of the West. Oregon had its driest June on record and Washington state its fifth driest.
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