- The Washington Times - Monday, July 31, 2000

Virginia's working

Despite an influx of students into the summer job market, the state of Virginia posted its lowest June unemployment rate in 47 years, the Virginia Employment Commission reports.

The 2.9 percent jobless rate tied the record low for June established in 1953. The state has been keeping unemployment figures since 1950.

Unemployment always increases in June as students enter the job market after schools close for the summer. Virginia's unemployment rate last month was up from 2.5 percent in May but was well below the state's 3.3 percent rate for June 1999. The national unemployment rate last month was 4.2 percent.

Student job seekers boosted the state's labor force to a record 3,693,300. Nonagricultural employment topped 3.5 million for the first time ever.

Stop that chicken

Chicken catchers at two Perdue Farms plants on the Delmarva Peninsula can now officially join a union.

The National Labor Relations Board has certified votes by catchers at Perdue plants in Salisbury and Georgetown, Del., to unionize.

Officials with the United Food and Commercial Workers union will soon meet with Perdue to start the bargaining process.

The board has not yet certified a decision by catchers in the Accomac, Va., plant not to unionize because the union is contesting that vote.

Perdue is the country's Number Three poultry producer.

Cell phones everywhere

Pretty soon cellular phone companies are going to have to just stop counting and, like McDonald's, start saying "billions and billions served."

To the likely chagrin of orators and opera houses, the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) announced last week that the nation's 100 millionth person just got hooked to a wireless phone.

That's 36 percent of the U.S. population and growing. The CTIA noted that the industry continues to grow at a rate of 67,082 new subscribers every day, or about one subscriber every 1.3 seconds.

Here's some more fun cell phone facts:

• The first cell phone became commercially available in 1983.

• It took land lines 91 years to reach 100 million customers, and it took 54 years for 100 million Americans to get a television.

• The CTIA said cell phones are used for emergency calls 118,000 times a day.

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