National / International News
After two recent high profile accidents: the crash of Virgin Galactic's spaceshiptwo, which killed the pilot and injured the copilot, and the explosion of Orbital Sciences Antares rocket, we wanted to know more about the future of commercial space.
Mike Gold, the chairman of the FAA's Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee also works extensively with Bigelow Aerospace as their Director of DC Operations. Bigelow is a space start-up planning to launch their own space station in the future.
"I don't think anybody sees these failures and says, 'Well, that's a great thing.' I can certainly assure you it wasn't beneficial. But what was extraordinary to us was the success, the amazing consecutive successes that the Falcon 9 and the Antares had up to this point," Gold says. "Not that there was a failure. So if anything the performance, particularly of the pace X systems, have exceeded our expectations."
"We hear far too often that commercial entities will be less safe than government programs when exactly the opposite is the case. You talk about Mercury and Apollo and other programs. They to an extent could suffer failure more easily than a commercial program because if you look at the activities of these purely commercial entities, such as Virgin Galactic, it's their own money, their own investors, and they don't necessarily have the depth of resources," Gold says. "Which is why, quite frankly I think there is at least an equal if not a stronger focus by these commercial and private sector companies on safety and success because if we fail, our jobs go away, the programs go away. And that's not necessarily the cause with government programs."
The Labor Department just released the jobs report for October. It says the economy added 214,000 new jobs last month.
The unemployment rate fell to 5.8 percent, from 5.9 percent.
But there's more to the jobs picture than just those numbers:
There's a missing piece of the puzzle - and it's wage growth. Pay checks aren't going up much.
Today's jobs report showed average hourly earnings up by 3 cents last month. Wages were flat in September.
Part of the reason for that may be that there's still some slack in the job market.
Employers aren't having to raise pay to attract workers. They have plenty to choose from.
"The fact that wages have not really moved suggests that there is a lot of slack and that employers are still holding all the cards," says Elise Gould, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute. "There are still many workers out there for every job opening."
The Federal Reserve is watching these numbers closely, as it tries to decide when to raise interest rates.
It's not going to be in any rush to raise interest rates, as long as there's still that slack in the labor market.
When we start to see the slack going away - when wages start going up more - then the Fed will start thinking it may be time to hike interest rates.
Which, by the way, have hovered near zero for almost six years.
As part of our program's 25th anniversary, we've been tracking the odd ways prices have changed over that period. According to a cellular phone industry group, the average monthly cell phone bill has dropped from an inflation adjusted $151 back in 1989, to $47 today.
A 69 percent drop? How is that possible?
Michael Grubb is an economics professor at Boston College who has studied the cell phone market.
Listen to the full conversation in the audio player above.
As part of our program's 25th anniversary, we've been tracking the odd ways prices have changed over that period. According to a cellular phone industry group, the average monthly cell phone bill has dropped from an inflation adjusted 151 dollars back in 1989 to 47 dollars now. Plus: Chris Low of FTN Financial gives us some perspective on the 214,000 jobs added to payrolls this month.