7:50am

Fri April 1, 2011
The Two-Way

Coming Up: March Employment Report

Good morning.

We continue to follow the news on the conflict in Libya and the crisis in Japan.

As for the other major stories of the day, the one to watch for in the next hour is the March jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It's due at 8:30 a.m. ET.

A month ago, BLS said the jobless rate was 8.9 percent in February and that the number of jobs on private companies' payrolls had grown by 222,000 from January. In advance of the March figures, Reuters says that economists think the jobless rate held steady last month and that payrolls again expanded by about 200,000 — not fast enough to bring unemployment down.

Other stories making headlines:

-- In Ivory Coast, "Heavy Fighting" Near Gbagbo's Home: "Troops supporting the U.N.-recognized president of Ivory Coast, Alassane Ouattara, appear poised for a final push to oust his rival, Laurent Gbagbo, who refuses to give up the presidency. In the main city, Abidjan, pro-Ouattara forces have launched an assault on the fortified presidential residence." (BBC News)

-- Spring Snow In Northeast: "A no-joke April Fools' snowstorm descended upon parts of the Northeast early Friday, a cruel prank on a region that was finally enjoying a reprieve from its long, white winter. The spring snowstorm was expected to last through Friday morning — April Fools' Day — dropping up to 10 inches of snow in some areas in eastern New York and around New England." (Boston Globe)

-- Traffic Deaths Decline: "Traffic fatalities in the USA fell to an all-time low in 2010 even as Americans drove more miles, according to new projections from the federal government. There were 32,788 road deaths last year, a 3% drop from 2009, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says, citing early projections from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. ... It's too early to explain why deaths keep falling, says Lee Munnich, director of the Center for Excellence in Rural Safety at the University of Minnesota." (USA Today) Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.