But the fact that 339,000 applications were filed — the fewest in a month — is a hopeful sign. Meanwhile, the most-anticipated news about the labor market each month, on the unemployment rate and job growth, won't be released until Jan. 10.
Starting today, people who take the high school equivalency exam will face a test that's supposedly tougher and will only be offered via computer, no more paper and number two pencil. The test was created in 1942 at first to help military veterans get higher education without forcing them to return to high school after the experience of war. Emily Hanford, Education Correspondent for our documentary unit, American Radio Works, joins us to help explain.
The S&P 500 went up 29 percent in the year gone by. The Nasdaq Composite rose nearly 40 percent. But this has prompted an argument that stock prices in 2013 were like cotton candy, lots of size, but not a lot of substance. Marketplace's Economics guy Chris Farrell has been considering this.
The argument comes down to the idea that the gains of 2013 reflected more of the Fed's quantitative easing rather than any real economic improvement, and that prices are bound to come tumbling back down sooner or later. But does the claim that the stock markets' gains have no substance, hold up?
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Parts of the Northeast and New England are expected to be hit the hardest today and Friday. More than a foot of snow may fall on Boston. The wind chill may plunge to 40 degrees below zero in the Adirondacks. Flight delays and cancellations are piling up along with the snow.
Never paid for local TV news? Well, that may be changing. Cincinnati’s WCPO-TV is going to offer local investigative stories behind a paywall. It’s added 30 digital staffers.
“What they’re saying is, don’t think of us as TV, think of us as your best local digital news source,” says Ken Doctor, a media consultant.
The way WCPO-TV sees it, it’s go digital and dominate -- or die. Adam Symson, who is chief digital officer for the station's owner, E.W. Scripps, says Cincinnati’s many TV and radio stations won’t all survive. Symson is hoping a beefed up web presence will ensure market dominance.
“This is not just an investment in growing a digital audience,” he says. “This is an investment in the brand, WCPO, the television ratings and the digital audience.”
The question is, will people pay for something they’re used to getting for free? Other TV stations are watching WCPO’s web experiment closely, to find out.