FRISCO, Texas – McNeese’s Kaylee Lopez and Northwestern State’s Mikayla Brown are the Southland Conference Players of the Week, the league announced Monday. Southland Players of the Week are presented by MidSouthBank.com.Lopez capped a perfect week for the Cowgirls (28-28, 19-8 SLC) who concluded their regular-season schedule with a three-game series sweep over Lamar. The freshman outfielder went 6-for-11 from the plate, brought in five RBI and stole two bases over the three-game stretch. Lopez also tabbed a .545 batting average and a .583 on-base percentage.Brown completed the final regular season of her career last week for Northwestern State (28-25, 15-12 SLC), locking up a 2-0 record with wins over Prairie View A&M Tuesday and Central Arkansas on Sunday. The senior tossed a pair of complete-game shutout victories while ringing up 10 batters over 14 innings.Both winners will now look ahead to the 2019 Southland Conference Tournament, beginning Tuesday morning at 11 a.m. CT on Lady Demon Diamond in Natchitoches, La.Softball Hitter of the Week – Kaylee Lopez, McNeese – OF – Fr. – Indian Bayou, La.Lopez came up big in the regular-season finale against Lamar, most notably in Friday’s doubleheader where she hit 5-for-8 with five RBI’s and one double. She ended the series collecting at least one hit in each game for a .545 batting average.Honorable Mention: Ashley Goetz, Sam Houston State; Cayla Jones, Northwestern State; Caitlyn Brockway, Houston Baptist.Softball Pitcher of the Week – Mikayla Brown, Northwestern State – Sr. – Deville, La.Brown threw two shutouts last week, the second of which clinched the series win over Central Arkansas to secure the No. 6 seed in the Southland Conference Tournament for Northwestern State. She allowed just eight hits over the week. Sunday’s win moved Brown into sole possession of sixth place all-time on NSU’s career wins list (46).Honorable Mention: Megan Landry, Nicholls; Alexsandra Flores, McNeese; Lindsey McLeod, Sam Houston State.Southland weekly award winners are nominated and voted upon by each school’s sports information director. Voting for one’s own athlete is not permitted. To earn honorable mention, a student-athlete must appear on at least 25 percent of ballots.
Job gains totaled 223,000 in June as the unemployment rate dipped to 5.3 percent, according to the June 2015 Employment Situation released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on Thursday.With June’s payroll increase, the average monthly job gain for the last 12 months in the United States is 250,000. Job gains in April and May were revised downward to 187,000 and 254,000, respectively, which was a combined 60,000 lower than previously reported. Still, job gains have averaged 221,000 per month for the last three months and 250,000 over the 12-month period prior to June.Wage growth slowed in June, with average hourly earnings for all employees holding steady at $24.95. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 2 percent, according to BLS. For production and non-supervisory employees, average hourly earnings moved up 2 cents in June to $20.99.”Today’s employment situation report for June continues to show strength in the labor market – 223,000 new jobs, averaging 221,000 over the last three months, and a drop in the unemployment rate to 5.3 percent continues to indicate increased aggregate demand in the economy,” said Mark Fleming, Chief Economist with First American. “While average hourly earnings are rising slowly, it’s a good sign that the economy is putting more people to work. The housing market will benefit from strengthening labor market conditions for the average American, but continued good news like this will increase the likelihood of rate increase by the Fed in the fall. American’s may have to pay a little more to finance a home but that may be a small price to pay for a strong and vibrant labor market with choice and opportunity. Raising rates can be good for the housing market.”The number of persons defined as unemployed declined by about 375,000 down to 8.3 million in June, according to BLS. In June, the BLS reported 1.9 million marginally attached workers, which was little changed year-over-year, and 6.5 million were employed part-time for economic reasons (sometimes called involuntary part-time workers), also little changed. There were 653,000 discouraged workers in June (persons not currently looking for work because they believe there are no jobs available), essentially unchanged from a year earlier.The unemployment rate most commonly reported, called the U3 rate, declined by 0.2 percentage points from May to June down to 5.3 percent. The U6 unemployment rate, which counts both people without work seeking full-time employment and those workers “marginally attached to the labor force and those working part-time for economic reasons,” dropped 0.3 percentage points month over month down to 10.5 percent and is down from 12.1 percent in June 2014. The U6 unemployment rate has not been below 10 percent since May 2008, when it was reported at 9.7 percent. It last reached its peak of 17.1 percent in April 2010.The civilian labor force declined by 432,000 in June, which calculated to a drop of 0.3 percentage points down to 62.6 percent. June’s employment-population ratio was 59.3 percent and has shown very little movement in the last year. BLS reported large job gains in professional and business services, health care, food services and drinking places, retail trade, and financial activities for June, but gains in construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, information, and government were little changed over the month.”The 0.2 percentage point decline in the unemployment rate to a seven-year low masks the bleak news that the labor force participation rate fell three-tenths to the lowest reading since October 1977,” said Doug Duncan, SVP and Chief Economist at Fannie Mae. “Particularly disappointing was the unchanged construction payrolls figure, weighed down by the largest drop in residential construction employment in nearly five years. However, as housing demand is heating up amid lean inventories, boosting rents and home prices, we expect home building activity and residential construction employment to pick up. One concern is that builders may find it increasingly difficult to hire skilled workers without substantially raising wages, which are already increasing at a strong clip. We continue to see a bounce-back in second quarter economic growth, building momentum into the second half of the year, with housing acting as a tailwind.” Share in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Government, News July 2, 2015 575 Views Bureau of Labor Statistics Job Gains June 2015 Employment Situation Participation Rate Unemployment Rate 2015-07-02 Seth Welborn Job Gains Reach 223,000 in June, While Wage Growth Slows