Originally published on Fri December 2, 2011 9:37 am
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Our colleague David Greene has done so much distinguished work for NPR that we've decided to send him to Siberia - really. David is wrapping up two years in Russia with a trip on the Trans-Siberian Railroad, which crosses that gigantic country. He's head east from the capital, Moscow. We reached him about 150 miles into the journey in the city of Yaroslavl. Hi, David.
DAVID GREENE, BYLINE: Hey there, Steve.
INSKEEP: Why wrap up your time in Russia with this train ride?
The unemployment rate began the year at 9 percent and may end essentially unchanged. While some sectors add jobs, others lose them. Private employers are modestly adding to their payrolls, but government is cutting back. All that makes for a job market that's stuck in a rut.
A new film called Shame arrives in theaters with several honors, including the best actor award from the Venice Film Festival. It also arrives with a rare NC-17 rating. Michael Fassbender plays Brandon, a New Yorker who's addicted to sex.
Austin Mitchell walks away from an oil derrick outside Williston, N.D. With what many are calling the largest oil boom in recent North American history, temporary camps to house the huge influx of workers now dot the sparse North Dakota landscape.
Credit John McChesney for NPR
The oil industry stages events like this energy festival parade in downtown Williston in an effort to maintain good relations with the community. Industry rigs and trucks of every description roar by as drivers throw candy to the kids.
The tough economy has taken its toll on most states, putting budgets deep in the red and putting people out of work.
But North Dakota has a low 3.5 percent unemployment rate and a state budget with a billion dollar surplus. That's because of a major oil boom in the western part of the state, a discovery of at least 2 billion barrels to be gained by fracking — the controversial process of injecting fluid deep into underground rock formations to force the oil out.