Last Thursday, 26 new officers graduated from the Anchorage Police Department Academy. Anchorage has had a rise in crime this year and APD has been highly understaffed. Mayor Ethan Berkowitz has promised to raise the number of sworn officers to 400. This is the fourth academy to graduate since he took office. The department has been in the process of rebuilding and has been able to resume its downtown foot patrols.
Nationally, there’s good news: In November, the U.S. economy added 178,000 jobs, and unemployment dropped to 4.6 percent, a number not seen since Bush was was in office. This number is slightly misleading — it includes people who are no longer looking for work, who aren’t counted as unemployed, but the statistic is still strong. The number of people who have given up looking for work and part-time workers looking for full-time employment dropped to 9.3 percent, the lowest that statistic has been since 2008. To Democrats, this represented evidence that Obama had returned the economy to a stable form. For President-elect Donald Trump, there are still issues. Although the economy added tens of thousands of jobs in healthcare and business, 4,000 manufacturing jobs were lost in November. Going forward, manufacturing will be a key focus of Trump’s presidency. On Tuesday, the nation learned that the president-elect had cut a deal with air-conditioner manufacturer Carrier to keep factory jobs from going to Mexico.
French President François Hollande announced Thursday he would not be seeking a second term in next year’s presidential election due to his historically low approval ratings. It will be the first time since the founding of France’s fifth republic in 1958 that an incumbent president has not sought re-election. Francois was elected on a socialist platform, but became progressively more business oriented, eventually reforming France’s tough labor laws in favor of employers. Hollande’s presidency has been marked by multiple terrorist attacks, violent protests over his labor reforms, and personal scandal- in 2014, he was caught having an affair with an actress almost 20 years younger than longtime partner Valérie Trierweiler. Manuel Valls, the prime minister, is expected to launch a presidential bid and will likely be a leading contender in the primary.