National News

The U.S. Finally Gets Past Pre-Recession Jobs Total

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-06 04:15

With today's monthly jobs report meeting predictions, the U.S. has surpassed the number of jobs before 2008. But the recovery has been slow and long, economists say.

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In San Antonio, Spurs Beat The Heat Twice In One Game

NPR News - Fri, 2014-06-06 03:02

The air conditioning in San Antonio's arena broke down, leaving the host Spurs and the Miami Heat sweating in 90-degree temperatures as the NBA Finals began.

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The strategy behind Hillary Clinton's book release

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-06 02:42

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's new memoir, “Hard Choices,” hits store shelves on Tuesday. It’s the latest in a string of tell-alls by former members of the Obama administration, including Robert Gates’s “Duty” and Timothy Geithner’s “Stress Test.”

You’d think memoirs like these could sell themselves. Well, think again, says Jim Milliot, editorial director at Publisher’s Weekly.

“You could say it is one of the great ironies of book publishing that the bigger the author, the bigger the publicity campaign,” he notes.

This campaign kicked off on Mother’s Day, with an exclusive excerpt in “Vogue” magazine: Hillary Clinton, reflecting on motherhood. The excerpt was share-able, the idea being each retweet or Facebook like will translate into sales.

“Social media is a big component of all this,” Milliot says.

In fact, “Hard Choices” has its own Twitter account, managed by Simon & Schuster. Plus, there are more excerpts on a website, as well as YouTube videos.

According to Josh Baran, who managed the publicity campaign for “An Inconvenient Truth,” former Vice President Al Gore’s bestseller, “You want your message out.”

That kind of message machine can cost millions. We don’t know how much this one is going to cost, because the publisher declined our request for an interview. We do know that the publicity team for a big book starts with what Paul Bogaards calls a “communications blueprint,” which includes “television, radio, newspapers, magazines, blogs, big mouths.”

Bogaards, who manages media relations for Knopf Doubleday, has drawn up blueprints for former Gates’s memoir, and for President Clinton’s autobiography, “My Life.”

Rollouts may be more intricate than ever, but one thing is still true: If a reporter gets ahold of the book early, it can throw all that timing, all that money, and all that planning off track.

Still, Journalists were eager to get their hands on Bill Clinton’s memoir before it was published.

Says Bogaards: “I mean, one had them actually had the gall to call me and say, ‘Hey, can you help me out here?’ I was like, actually no, I cannot help you out.”

Publicists play defense and offense. Leaks aren’t all bad, and sometimes they are done strategically. Politico, for example, got it hands on a chapter from Hillary Clinton’s book early, and yesterday, CBS News, which is one of Simon & Schuster’s corporate siblings, obtained a copy of “Hard Choices.”

So far, these leaks have done what every publisher wants: they ginned up interest, they got people talking, and Simon & Schuster hope, that will lead to buying.

THE ROLLOUT, planned and unplanned

Sunday, May 11

Vogue.com posts “An Exclusive Excerpt from Hillary Clinton's Upcoming Book, ‘Hard Choices’” 

Tuesday, May 27

Simon & Schuster releases Hillary Clinton’s “author’s note

Friday, May 30

A Politico reporter gets her hands on a “much-anticipated chapter” from “Hard Choices” about what transpired in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012

Hillary Clinton meets with booksellers at BookExpo America, in New York City

Wednesday, June 4

“People” publishes Hillary Clinton’s “first at-home interview since the end of husband Bill's presidency in January 2001”

Thursday, June 5

CBS News obtains a copy of the book

Monday, June 9

Diane Sawyer, of ABC News, interviews Hillary Clinton during an hour-long, prime-time special

Tuesday, June 10

“Hard Choices” hits store shelves

Hillary Clinton does her first live interview, with Robin Roberts, of ABC News, on “Good Morning America”

She kicks off her book tour at a Barnes & Noble in New York City

Tuesday, June 17

Hillary Clinton sits down with Bret Baier and Greta Van Susteren of Fox News

The strategy behind Hillary Clinton's book release

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-06 02:42

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's new memoir, “Hard Choices,” hits store shelves on Tuesday. It’s the latest in a string of tell-alls by former members of the Obama administration, including Robert Gates’s “Duty” and Timothy Geithner’s “Stress Test.”

You’d think memoirs like these could sell themselves. Well, think again, says Jim Milliot, editorial director at Publisher’s Weekly.

“You could say it is one of the great ironies of book publishing that the bigger the author, the bigger the publicity campaign,” he notes.

This campaign kicked off on Mother’s Day, with an exclusive excerpt in “Vogue” magazine: Hillary Clinton, reflecting on motherhood. The excerpt was share-able, the idea being each retweet or Facebook like will translate into sales.

“Social media is a big component of all this,” Milliot says.

In fact, “Hard Choices” has its own Twitter account, managed by Simon & Schuster. Plus, there are more excerpts on a website, as well as YouTube videos.

According to Josh Baran, who managed the publicity campaign for “An Inconvenient Truth,” former Vice President Al Gore’s bestseller, “You want your message out.”

That kind of message machine can cost millions. We don’t know how much this one is going to cost, because the publisher declined our request for an interview. We do know that the publicity team for a big book starts with what Paul Bogaards calls a “communications blueprint,” which includes “television, radio, newspapers, magazines, blogs, big mouths.”

Bogaards, who manages media relations for Knopf Doubleday, has drawn up blueprints for former Gates’s memoir, and for President Clinton’s autobiography, “My Life.”

Rollouts may be more intricate than ever, but one thing is still true: If a reporter gets ahold of the book early, it can throw all that timing, all that money, and all that planning off track.

Still, Journalists were eager to get their hands on Bill Clinton’s memoir before it was published.

Says Bogaards: “I mean, one had them actually had the gall to call me and say, ‘Hey, can you help me out here?’ I was like, actually no, I cannot help you out.”

Publicists play defense and offense. Leaks aren’t all bad, and sometimes they are done strategically. Politico, for example, got it hands on a chapter from Hillary Clinton’s book early, and yesterday, CBS News, which is one of Simon & Schuster’s corporate siblings, obtained a copy of “Hard Choices.”

So far, these leaks have done what every publisher wants: they ginned up interest, they got people talking, and Simon & Schuster hope, that will lead to buying.

THE ROLLOUT, planned and unplanned

Sunday, May 11

Vogue.com posts “An Exclusive Excerpt from Hillary Clinton's Upcoming Book, ‘Hard Choices’” 

Tuesday, May 27

Simon & Schuster releases Hillary Clinton’s “author’s note

Friday, May 30

A Politico reporter gets her hands on a “much-anticipated chapter” from “Hard Choices” about what transpired in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012

Hillary Clinton meets with booksellers at BookExpo America, in New York City

Wednesday, June 4

“People” publishes Hillary Clinton’s “first at-home interview since the end of husband Bill's presidency in January 2001”

Thursday, June 5

CBS News obtains a copy of the book

Monday, June 9

Diane Sawyer, of ABC News, interviews Hillary Clinton during an hour-long, prime-time special

Tuesday, June 10

“Hard Choices” hits store shelves

Hillary Clinton does her first live interview, with Robin Roberts, of ABC News, on “Good Morning America”

She kicks off her book tour at a Barnes & Noble in New York City

Tuesday, June 17

Hillary Clinton sits down with Bret Baier and Greta Van Susteren of Fox News

How much is California Chrome worth?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-06 02:40

California Chrome goes for horse racing's Triple Crown this weekend at the Belmont Stakes. Even if he wins, the horse won't likely sell for the top rates -- as high as $60 million -- that we've seen in the past.

So here's a look at some of the other numbers around the horse:

1978

The last year there was a Triple Crown winner. The horse was named Affirmed.

11

The number of horses that Daily Racing Forum says have been in a similar position to California Chrome since 1978.

$15 million

How much Peter Bradley III, one of the top bloodstock agents in the country for thoroughbred racing, guesses California Chrome is worth today. Others in the horse racing industry say he's worth a few million more, or a few million less.

$30 million

How much California Chrome's trainer, Art Sherman, says the horse is worth.

1

The number of shoe companies sponsoring California Chrome. This week, Skechers announced they were going to sponsor the horse. Though, don't get excited for a horse in sneakers -- California Chrome's trainers will be the ones sporting Skechers' shoes.

May Jobs Report likely to show moderate hiring

Marketplace - American Public Media - Fri, 2014-06-06 02:36

Employers likely added 213,000 new jobs in May, according to the consensus estimate of economists cited by Bloomberg, while April’s job gain was 288,000. The unemployment rate likely increased 0.1 percent in May to 6.4 percent, after sharply declining in April (from 6.7 percent to 6.3 percent).

If these expectations pan out, May’s performance would confirm a return to steady, modest growth in the economy and the labor market. That follows a volatile winter with multiple severe storms that pushed the overall economy into a surprising quarterly decline in GDP. A projected increase in the unemployment rate in May would likely be caused by people returning to the workforce as job-hunters. April’s drop in unemployment was attributed to a steep decline in the size of the workforce.

“We’re back on track right now,” says Bernie Bauhmolh at the Economic Outlook Group in Princeton, New Jersey.

The economy has now been creating an average of 237,000 jobs per month since February. First-time claims for state unemployment benefits are at a seven-year low.

“The economy is looking better,” says Baumohl. “We’ve seen better performances in manufacturing and services and auto sales. Confidence levels are also higher among consumers and business leaders. It’s going to encourage employers to accelerate hiring.”

Paul Osterman at the MIT Sloan School of Management says the next signs of significant progress in the employment recovery would be improvement in workers’ real wages, and an increase in the employment-to-population ratio, which measures how many adults are working compared to the total population of potential workers. That ratio fell sharply in the recession and has not rebounded significantly since.

As jobs get more plentiful at all wage levels, employers can be expected to compete to attract and retain workers. In response, they might begin raising wages.

“Over the last twelve months real wages have gone up by a little bit under 2 percent," says Osterman. "That’s better than zero, but it’s below productivity gains.”

In other words, employees have been producing more for their bosses, driving profits up, without getting much extra in their paychecks in return.

The 'Cool War' With China Is Unseen, But Comes With Consequences

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-05 23:47

Dueling charges of cyberspying between China and the U.S. are escalating in this new conflict, which could have huge stakes for American industry and trade secrets.

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From Coffee Futures To Bulk Buying: A Year Of Adventurous Investing

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-05 23:46

Last year NPR's Uri Berliner took money from a savings account that was losing value to inflation and bought a range of assets that included a painting and a haul from Costco. So how'd his money do?

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Do you still call yourself middle class?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-05 23:31

Do you still call yourself middle class?

I put that question to an online network of people willing to be interviewed on Marketplace. It's a fascinating question to me, because it gets at both where we are five years after the recession, and to our definition of "middle class" itself. Recent research shows that while the economy as a whole is improving, more and more of us aren't using the term "middle class" anymore.

One woman, DeeDee in San Diego, wrote that she now considered her family poor. She said her income has been declining since 2002. Here's what being middle class would look like to DeeDee:

"I could step into the 21st century and get a cell phone; it would mean that I could spring for my children's meal at In-N-Out Burger instead of saying, 'If you pay for it, you may go.'"

Across the six dozen or so responses I received, most people felt that being in the middle class meant the ability to educate children, provide a home for them, and plan for a comfortable retirement. And many said they're not sure they can get there.

Jamie from New Hampshire wrote:

"If I had kids, we'd be poor, but since I don't, I'm somehow able to get by and have an occasional social life and such."

I posed the question and I still want to hear from people in the form below.

A Pew poll that came out in January shows a decline in Americans who call themselves middle class. Personally, I think there's more here than just the hangover from the recession. It's a wariness, perhaps, about what it takes to pay for a life better than the one your parents had. It's tangled up with the cost of college and health care. 

It's something that we're going to be exploring on my new show, Marketplace Weekend, both from an economic and fiscal angle, and from a psychological one. It also touches on the nature of work.

I came back to this idea again Thursday when I saw this great New York Times visualization about the industries that have suffered (and thrived) since the recession. I suspect buried in here are the keys to what a new middle class might look like. Or perhaps whatever our new term is that someday becomes both simultaneously aspirational and everywhere.

 

 

Explaining The Bergdahl Swap Hasn't Been Obama's Finest Hour

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-05 16:26

Some aspects of how Obama and his team told the world about the trade for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl have raised eyebrows, even among congressional allies, prompting questions like: What were they thinking?

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Shooting At Seattle Pacific University; 3 Wounded, 1 Dead

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-05 15:54

Officials say a lone gunman who opened fire with a shotgun at Seattle Pacific University is in custody.

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Beastie Boys Win A Fight For Their Copyright

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-05 15:14

The hip-hop band that reached its zenith in the 1980s won a $1.7 million judgment against Monster Beverage Corp., which used the band's music without permission.

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Is Pushing Interest Rates To Less Than Zero A Crazy Idea?

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-05 14:34

If a bank wants to deposit cash with the European Central Bank, it won't earn interest. In fact, the bank will actually have to pay the ECB for parking cash. It's designed to boost Europe's economy.

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Stay-At-Home Dads On The Rise, And Many Of Them Are Poor

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-05 14:26

The number of fathers at home in the U.S. has nearly doubled since 1989. A desire among more men to stay home with the kids has a lot to do with that, but so does the inability to find a job.

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Tracking Road Kill? There's An App For That, Too

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-05 14:13

A team from Utah State University have developed a smartphone application so "citizen scientists" can help them track animal-vehicle collisions.

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Why A Pack Of Peanut Butter M&M's Weighs A Tiny Bit Less Than A Regular Pack

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-05 14:08

One hungry reporter goes on a quest to find out why his package of Peanut Butter M&M's weighs 0.06 ounces less than a package of Milk Chocolate M&M's.

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How One Man's Arrest In London Shut Down Pakistan's Megacity

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-05 13:46

Altaf Hussain has been running his powerful Pakistani political movement from self-imposed exile for 22 years. After he was arrested in London on Tuesday, Karachi came to a grinding halt.

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So, who's picking up the doughnuts?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-05 13:35
Thursday, June 5, 2014 - 14:31 Reg Speller/Fox Photos/Getty Images

Salvation Army canteen workers in Brighton operating a doughnut machine flown in from Canada to satisfy Canadian troops appetites for donuts on January 1, 1941.

From the Marketplace Datebook, here's a look at what's coming up Friday, June 6:

It's the first Friday of the month which means all eyes will be on the May jobs report.

Has word gotten around your office that it's National Doughnut Day? It was established in 1938 as a fundraiser for The Salvation Army in Chicago to help those in need during the Great Depression.

The Federal Reserve is scheduled to issue consumer credit data for April.

On June 6, 1998, HBO's "Sex and the City" premiered. It ran for six seasons and fortunately remains in syndication.

It's also the anniversary of the first federal gasoline tax, enacted in 1932. One penny per gallon. That's where it began. Today we pay 18.4 cents per gallon, and state tax too.

And the Great Wisconsin Cheese Festival gets underway in Little Chute. That's right, people: cheese and doughnuts.

Marketplace for Thursday June 5, 2014by Michelle PhilippePodcast Title Datebook: So, who's picking up the doughnuts?Story Type BlogSyndication SlackerSoundcloudStitcherSwellPMPApp Respond No

Fewer homeowners drowning in mortgage debt

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-05 13:22

The Tampa area has more underwater mortgages than anywhere else in America: roughly 30 percent. But even there, things are getting better fast. That’s down from nearly 41 percent this time last year, according to CoreLogic

“We’re seeing fewer people who are underwater. Prices have come back up,” says Brad Monroe, director of the Greater Tampa Association of Realtors. 

Homeowners are telling his members they’re finally out from under their mortgages and ready to move. “Calling them back and saying, 'It’s time now. Prices are there and we can do it,'” he says. 

Data from CoreLogic show that nationally, about 12 percent of homeowners owe more than their homes are worth. That’s a big drop from the first quarter last year when the number was around 20 percent. 

“Which is really good news for the housing market,” says Mark Fleming, CoreLogic’s chief economist. 

“So many homeowners didn’t have equity or were under equity and didn’t participate in listing their homes for sale. And that’s why house prices increased over the last year or two so dramatically in those markets,” Fleming says.  

This is a virtuous cycle. Rising home values brought back equity to a lot of homeowners. That means more people can move if they want to. And, more homes on the market keeps prices from rising too fast. 

But just because people are no longer underwater in their mortgages doesn’t mean they can move right away. They need enough equity to pay for the expense of selling one home and a down payment on a new one.

“Paying broker’s fees, for example,” says Kostya Gradushy, project manager at Black Knight Financial Services. “And, if you only have 5 percent equity in your house, you’re not going to be able to cover those costs.” 

Black Knight says one in five homeowners today doesn’t have enough equity in their current home to afford a new one.

'New York Times' Editor: Losing Snowden Scoop 'Really Painful'

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-05 13:22

Edward Snowden didn't trust The New York Times with his revelations about the NSA because the paper initially spiked an earlier story about the warrantless wiretapping of Americans.

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