Posted by Katharine Crnko
For Marketplace Morning Report, Thursday June 2, 2011
Here are today’s top headlines from the Marketplace Morning Report and from around the web.
The Labor Department is out with the latest on unemployment claims, and although fewer applied for benefits last week, applications remain stuck at high levels. It’s downright discouraging. Add to that yesterday’s dismal manufacturing data and disengagement planned by the Fed soon, from its money-printing policies.
Companies squeezed more work out of their staffs in the first three months of the year. But the gain was much slower than in the previous three months, suggesting many employers will need to hire more workers if they want to produce more goods and services.
But let’s try injecting a bit of hopeful news into the mix as Wall Street prepares to start its day: A handful of retailers beat sales expectations for May, led by a better-than-7-percent boost for Macys.
Do you have a Gmail account with Google? Seems Chinese hackers may have been after your password. The online giant says they targeted the log-ins of hundreds of Google email accounts including those of senior U.S. government officials, Chinese human rights activists, and journalists. Cyber security is now a diplomatic priority for the United States with Washington looking to build relationships to tackle information theft and reduce the risk of conflict, a senior official said.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor says Washington must demonstrate that it can “put its fiscal house in order” before the country will see the kind of strong economic growth necessary to create new jobs.
Opening statements are scheduled to begin in the first trial to result from a probe by New York City prosecutors into insider trading carried out by market researchers serving hedge funds.
Sony says it is restoring its PlayStation Network in the U.S., Europe and parts of Asia today after hackers stole customer data and sent services offline in April.
You know what’s up? Ticket prices at Southwest Airlines. They’ve jumped 39 percent in five years — compared with an industry average increase of just 10 percent. Southwest blames the rise on high fuel prices and says it still considers itself the low-fare leader.
Later this morning the U.S. Department of Agriculture will dump the food pyramid in favor of what it’s billing as a new healthy-eating-icon.
File this one under “Your tax dollars at work:” The U.S. government has just coughed up documents under a Freedom of Information Act request from the Smoking Gun website and they show your Transportation Security Administration paid a $2,350 settlement to a Texas woman. She had sued the TSA, claiming she suffered a “humiliating” frisking at the airport in Corpus Christi. The 24-year-old complained she was exposed when her blouse was pulled completely down and that TSA agents then laughed about it — including one who joked that he was disappointed he had missed it, and would “just have to watch the video.”
The results are in and a new survey called the Global Happiness Index says China is the happiest place on earth. But North Korea is a close second scoring 98 out of 100 in the survey. Cuba, Iran and Venezuela round out the top five. The United States? Well, we didn’t do so well coming in dead last out of 203 countries. Ouch. If you want to know more about the survey you’ll have to ask the North Korean “researchers” yourself.
From today’s Wall Street Journal comes a story some might find a wake-up call, of sorts. Seems those 5-Hour Energy shots, which are popular with tired truckers and students amping themselves up to study, are finding a growing market with the over-60 crowd to help them stay alert. Hey, the boomers certainly aren’t babies anymore. But this is not your grandmother’s Geritol.
You can read the rest of today’s stories from the Marketplace Morning Report here.
Here are the songs we played: