It doesn't have quite the magnitude of this week's earthquake or the gale-force winds of Irene, but another disaster threatening Washington this week is the stark jobs landscape. The political pressure to find a solution to the sluggish employment recovery is beginning to reach crisis levels, even though the most recent unemployment figures may have been inflated by Verizon workers who went back to work  this week. Even the jobs czar may be out of a job before long. President Obama sought advice this week from Warren Buffet and Ford CEO Alan Mulally in advance of the unveiling of his employment plan scheduled to be announced after Labor Day. Obama's plan will involve a job training program for the long-time unemployed. GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney will release a jobs plan of his own on Sept. 6.

Health care reform news this week

McKinsey vindicated? In June, the consulting firm McKinsey & Company released a report stating that up to one-third of employers will drop their health coverage once the state-based insurance exchanges take effect in 2014. McKinsey took a lot of heat for their questionable methodology and the findings were largely discredited. Now, separate findings released by consulting firms Towers Watson and Mercer lend credibility to McKinsey's findings that health reform may encourage firms to drop their employer-sponsored health plans. According to Towers Watson, 1 of every 10 mid or large-size companies plan to drop their health coverage in 2014, and another 1 in 5 companies is unsure of what they will do. Mercer findings also confirm that roughly 10 percent of companies will stop offering their employees health coverage in 2014.

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