By The Numbers - Most Commented
The numbers for August 8, 2013: Time off
J.C. Penney is searching for a new CEO, just four months after former Apple executive Ron Johnson was ousted from the job for making drastic changes to the store's retail model. Interim CEO Mike Ullman will be replaced when that new executive is found. (WSJ)
A judge has ordered animal rights groups to post a half-million dollar bond to continue their legal fight on domestic horse slaughter in New Mexico and Iowa. The Humane Society of the United States, Front Range Equine Rescue and others won a temporary restraining order last week that blocked two slaughterhouse firms from opening their operations. The bond will cover the companies' costs and lost profits for the next 30 days should the animal rights groups lose the case. (AP)
Hopeful jobless claims data reveals dual-track recovery
The slight rise in weekly jobless claims out today is not as important as the underlying trend — in fact, the four-week average for unemployment claims is down to 335,000, that's the lowest point since November 2007.
If that date doesn't ring any bells, it is the month before the Great Recession officially started. And yet, while jobless claims are at the same level as five years ago, the unemployment rate in November 2007 was 4.7 percent.
So we now have a job market that, from one perspective, is back to kind-of normal. At 335,000 people filing unemployment claims every week, economists expect a pretty steady, healthy increase in jobs created by American employers every month. (Economists think anything below, let’s say, 375,000 jobless claims per week indicates a decently healthy job market.) And yet, unemployment’s at 7.4 percent, which is where it was in December 2008, when the economy was really in the tank.
And this is a story of two countries: For those who have jobs, who kept jobs, things are pretty steady now. Few layoffs, decent opportunity to find a new job if you leave voluntarily or even get laid off. For those who fell into unemployment (especially long-term unemployment), or for those who never found it easy to find a job (poorly educated, ex-cons, hunt-and-peck typists), it’s a 14 percent unemployment world (the “Total” unemployment rate, including underemployment), and the economy is still in the dumps.
The numbers for August 7, 2013: Jackpot!
The size of the Powerball jackpot has grown to fourth-largest in U.S. lottery history. Forty-three states participate in the game, but Pennsylvania has had the most winners in Powerball history. Sixteen jackpots have been awarded to residents of the Keystone State. (CBS News)
Kenya's Jomo Kenyatta International is among the busiest airports in East Africa, and it is reopening tomorrow after a fire shut down air traffic. More than five million passengers pass through Nairobi's airport each year, making it one of East Africa’s busiest transit hubs. (Voice of America)
The numbers for June 24, 2013: Percentages
The percentage of people in the highest-income bracket, and the same percentage of people making $30,000 or less, who drive Jeeps. Jeep is one of the few car brands that does equally well in the top- and bottom-income brackets. (Marketplace)
That's the percentage of American families making the median income level who own gerbils. Pet data shows ownership levels of different animals varies by income. (Marketplace)
The Washington Post Co., before selling its flagship newspaper to Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, saw its circulation drop from 832,332 average subscribers, in 1993, to 474,767 last year. That's just one of the disruptive trends that forced that surprise news from the Post. (The New Yorker)
The numbers for August 5, 2013: Crazy high prices
The price of the most expensive hamburger in the world, according to Dutch researchers who "made" the burger using meat grown from stem cells in petri dishes. (The Guardian)
The closing price of the FTSEurofirst 300, its highest close since May 30. European stock markets closed at their highest levels in two months today, despite concerns about U.S. job and economic growth. Strong profits from insurance companies helped fuel the investor optimism in the Old Country. (Insurance Journal)
The expected price for ultra-luxury seats on cross-country flights with JetBlue Airlines. The carrier is unveiling lie-flat seats and a handful of “private suites” for high-end travelers on its most lucrative routes. (Bloomberg)