MIKE ARMSTRONG:  Coming up, on this first Friday of the month, the jobs report has everybody talking and worrying.  We have the gory numbers.  Here’s a twist on “Not in my backyard.”  Some residents of a luxury condo building want to block a company from putting its logo on their building.  And acquisitions never get old for Airgas.  We’ll tell you what the big distributor is buying now.  Philadelphia Business Today starts now. 




Call it a triple whammy.  Oil prices rise the most in New York Mercantile Exchange history on Thursday.  The US dollar resumes its slide against the Euro, and this morning, the Labor Department issues a really bad employment report.  The unemployment rate jumped to 5.5 percent in May, from 5 percent in April.  That’s the biggest rise in the jobless rate since 1986.  And 8 ½ million people are now unemployed, up from 6.9 million last year.  May was also the fifth month in a row that the economy lost jobs.  About the only silver lining in this report is that the 49,000 jobs lost were less than the 60,000 analysts were expecting.  But the trend is what matters.  And with 28,000 jobs lost in April, employers are definitely out of the job creation business.


When Unisys said last year that it would move its corporate headquarters and 225 jobs to Center City from Blue Bell, boosters cheered.  But the computer services company’s plans to put red signs on 2 Liberty Place have upset many of the well-heeled residents of that tower.  Luxury condo owners don’t like the idea of having glowing LED lights hanging below their multi-million dollar units.  And as Dan Rubin writes in today’s Inquirer, Sharon Pinkenson, head of the Greater Philadelphia Film Office, worries that a sign that’s too bright would make the city’s skyline less attractive to Hollywood cameras.  Unisys, which hasn’t moved in yet, has the right to put up a sign under its lease, but the city has nixed that plan.  Now the whole dispute is before the zoning board, and in federal court.


Airgas is buying a Phoenix company to help it expand into a new niche.  Today, the Radnor distributor of medical gases said it will buy Oilind Safety, which provides rental safety equipment.  Terms of the deal were not announced, but Airgas did say that Oilind had revenues of $21 million in 2007, and more than 200 employees.  Airgas has been looking to expand its core distribution business, and has set up a construction and rental business unit.  Oilind will become a part of that.


That’s it for this week.  At The Inquirer, I’m Mike Armstrong for Philadelphia Business Today. 


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